On the day University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler officially announced the launch of the search for the school’s next athletic director, interim AD Beth Goetz said she will seek the permanent job.

Goetz, who took over for former AD Norwood Teague after he abruptly resigned in August amid allegations of sexual harassment, made her long-term interest in the job clear for the first time in a university statement Friday, minutes after the news of the search was released.

“It has been an honor to lead the University of Minnesota athletic department during this time of transition, and I am more passionate than ever about the opportunity for the Gophers to achieve excellence athletically, academically, and in the development of our future leaders,” Goetz’s prepared statement read. “I hope to be an integral part of making that vision a reality and will pursue the Director of Athletics position. I interact daily with truly outstanding student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and supporters and I would be fortunate to be able to continue to work alongside them.”

Kaler previously said he was leaning against using a search firm but committed to taking that traditional course Thursday after a recommendation from Vice President for Human Resources Kathryn Brown, who met with members of the board the same day.

A university release Friday said that the firm and a search committee of about 10 members are expected to be identified by early March, with the finalists for the AD job coming in late spring. Members of the university community and the general public may nominate committee candidates on the Gophers athletic director search page on the university’s website.

“We need a committee that is small enough to be nimble and discreet with confidential information throughout the process, but also big enough to represent our many constituencies,” Kaler said in a prepared statement. “Committee members must also embrace the University’s commitment to both academic and competitive success in Gopher athletics.”

Goetz, who joined Teague’s staff as deputy AD in 2013, is expected to be considered along with what Kaler hopes will be a “strong and diverse” pool of candidates identified by a search firm.

Since taking the reins six months ago, Goetz has overseen the department during an internal audit and external investigation concerning Teague’s behavior, the unexpected retirement of head football coach Jerry Kill, the hiring of Kill’s former defensive coordinator, Tracy Claeys, and the groundbreaking of a $166 million facilities project.

Goetz also worked as an administrator at Butler and Missouri-St. Louis before joining the Gophers.
If chosen for the job, Goetz, 41, would be the youngest athletic director in the conference and its second female, joining Penn State’s Sandy Barbour.

The university declined to make Goetz available Friday for further comment.