KU picks Travis Goff, a Jayhawk alum, as athletic director

Matt Galloway
Topeka Capital-Journal
Travis Goff, who had been with Northwestern since 2012, signed a five-year contract Monday that made him Kansas' new athletic director. A Dodge City native, Goff is also a KU alum.

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas has selected a former Jayhawk as its next athletic director.

Travis Goff, who graduated from the university in 2002 with degrees in journalism and sociology, has reached an agreement with KU and chancellor Douglas Girod to take over as the new head of the athletic department, the school announced in a news release Monday. A Dodge City native, Goff had been with Northwestern since 2012 , where he most recently served as deputy athletics director and assistant vice president of development.

Goff, who will make $700,000 annually for at least the first three years of the five-year agreement, called it "an honor and a privilege to steward the next chapter" of KU athletics.

“With a long history of success, unwavering partnership with campus leaders, and the unparalleled passion of the Jayhawk fanbase, this is one of the most humbling responsibilities and opportunities in college athletics," Goff said in the news release. "Our purpose will remain focused on fostering our student-athletes’ academic, social and athletic development; supporting our talented coaches and staff; connecting with alumni and donors; and, most importantly, building a culture that allows 16 proud programs to compete for Big 12 Conference and national championships while representing our department, our institution and our community.

"As a native Kansan and Jayhawk alumnus, I’m thrilled to return to Lawrence with my family and to continue to make this department a point of pride for our entire university."

Described by Northwestern as “an integral part of the (athletic) department’s transformation in facilities and resource development,” Goff has overseen the completion of more than $400 million of facility work during his tenure with the Wildcats. Under former Northwestern AD-turned-ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, Goff was part of a team responsible “for all high-level strategic decisions” and also served as a sports administrator for the Wildcat football, volleyball and baseball programs.

Ahead of his 2012 arrival at Northwestern, Goff served as associate athletic director for external affairs at Tulane and, before that, held a position at KU on the athletic department's development team.

Goff replaces Jeff Long, whose departure from the program on March 10 came just two days after former Jayhawk football head coach Les Miles also agreed to a buyout of the remainder of his contract. Miles faced newfound criticism amid resurfaced allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from his tenure at LSU.

"Our search for an athletics director during the past several weeks resulted in conversations with a number of outstanding candidates, which speaks well of KU’s reputation on the national stage," Girod wrote. "Travis stood out due to his experience, his reputation as a man of integrity, and his demonstrated ability to connect with faculty, staff, alumni and donors."

Girod said he is "especially impressed" with Goff's vision for KU.

"Travis understands the challenges we face and the changing landscape of collegiate athletics," Girod said. "At the same time, he is well-positioned to help us build on our recent successes in student-athlete healthcare, diversity and inclusion, and student-athlete academic achievement. The fact that he is a Jayhawk himself is an added bonus and will undoubtedly serve him well as he moves Kansas Athletics forward."

Emmett Jones is currently KU’s interim football head coach. It’s not immediately clear whether Goff intends to hire a full-time replacement for Miles this spring or if he would prefer to wait until the end of the upcoming season, when more candidates would likely be available.

KU basketball coach Bill Self said that, after speaking with Goff, it is "clear he is exactly what" the athletic department needs.

"He will be a tremendous partner to all of our head coaches and sports programs and will ensure that our student-athletes have a world-class experience during their time at KU," Self said. "I am thrilled to have Travis and his family rejoin our Jayhawk family.”  

Goff is scheduled to address the media at a 10 a.m. Wednesday news conference.

Travis Goff