Beth Goetz came to the University of Minnesota from Butler University in 2013 to be the deputy athletic director under Gophers AD Norwood Teague. With Teague resigning Aug. 7 amid multiple charges of sexual harassment, Goetz, 41, moved into the interim AD role during a time in the university’s history that figures to be both fragile and important. On Thursday, as she neared the end of her first full week in her new role, Goetz chatted with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q: The person that brought you in is no longer here. Does that piece of it make the transition any more difficult?
A: What makes it difficult is that I’m profoundly disappointed and surprised and hurt and frankly angry, the whole realm of emotions, for his individual actions — and the impact this has had certainly on individuals involved but also on the institution. That part is certainly a challenge. But when you are in our business, you choose doing this because of the student-athletes and the institution. In that sense, I don’t know that the transition will be more challenging.
Q: Do you feel like you can relate to current athletes pretty well, having been a college soccer player yourself?
A: You know, the older I get the less that may be true. [laughs] But in my mind, I still feel like I can remember what it’s like to go through preseason. But that’s the best part. Everyone’s experience is different, but I know what being a student-athlete meant to me. I know how it helped me develop as an individual and what opportunities it gave me after I graduated.
Q: What do you do when you actually have free time and get to have fun?
A: When I do have time, I like to run. I tell everyone now, being as clear as I can, that it may not be called running. My pace right now is more at the jogging level. But that’s my time. I run during the week. The trails around here, the Chain of Lakes, are really great. I enjoy getting out. I’m still learning a lot about the city. I’m a little bit of a foodie. … There are so many places. Brasa is down the street, and I love Brasa. I’ve been to the new place — Spoon and Stable. Bar La Grassa. 112 Eatery. I enjoy getting out and living in the city a little.
Q: Do you have a sense of how the major ongoing athletics fundraising project will progress through this?
A: I’ve had a chance to talk with several of our donors, and the feedback that we’ve received is, again, that they’re certainly disappointed in the situation but their commitment has always been to us. So we feel like we’re going to be able to move forward.
Q: There’s a perception of what a person who is a fundraiser is. How would you define your role in that capacity?
A: From a personality standpoint, you may really have a picture of what it is, but at the end of the day I really do think it’s about relationships. It’s partly about the relationship between the person cultivating the gift and the donor, but it’s also facilitating the relationship between the donor and what they’re passionate about. So what avenues you use to get there might be different, but I think you keep the focus on the right things — what’s important to them, how do their values align with the mission in a certain project. Helping facilitate that is really fun and rewarding.