On Monday, the school announced the appointment of Northwestern Principal Travis Goff as its new Kansas Athletic Director.
Goff, a native of Sunflower State who graduated from KU, described it as exciting to return to Lawrence, Kansas, in what he described as “one of the most modest responsibilities and opportunities in college athletics”.
“Our goal will remain focused on promoting the academic, social and sports development of our student-athletes; supporting our talented coaches and staff; networking with alumni and donors; and most importantly, building a culture that allows 16 proud programs to compete in the Big 12 National Conferences and Championships while representing our administration, our institution, and our community.”
Gove has been with Northwestern since 2012, most recently as Deputy Director of Sports and Associate Vice President, Development. He played a fundraising role that led to massive upgrades to facilities in Northwestern and oversaw football, baseball, and volleyball programs.
Kansas has been looking for a sports director since Geoff Long quit nearly a month ago.
Long was responsible for hiring Les Miles, who the school broke up with amid allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to the time of LSU’s soccer coach. Long initially said he would lead the search for a replacement Miles, but criticism about the due diligence he undertook in hiring his old friend, along with a massive public outcry, led to his decision to resign.
“Travis stood out among the candidates because of his experience, his reputation as an honest man, and his demonstrated ability to communicate with faculty, staff, alumni and donors,” Douglas Giraud, president of Kuwait University, said in a statement. “I particularly like Travis’s vision for Kuwait University. Travis is aware of the challenges we face and the changing landscape of team athletics. Meanwhile, he is well positioned to help us build on our recent successes in student-athlete health care, diversity and inclusion, and the academic achievement of student athletes. Jayhawk is an added bonus and he’s undoubtedly used it well because he’s pushing the Kansas Athletics forward. “
Goof’s first big job will be to determine what to do with the soccer program already undergoing spring training under coach Emmett Jones, who was named to temporary coach last month.
The downtrodden Jayhawks lost all nine of their matches last season. They haven’t had a winning season since Mark Mangino was on the sidelines in 2008.
Gove is returning to Lawrence after working under former Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips, who left school in the Evanston suburb of Chicago earlier this year to become a commissioner for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Gove grew up in Dodge City in the southwestern part of Kansas. He graduated in 2002 with a degree in Journalism and Sociology, then obtained an MBA from Tulane University, where he worked as Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs.
He is the sixth sports director of the Jayhawks since Bob Frederick retired in 2001.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.