Topics: Administrative, Athletics, President

September 9, 2022

Ken Bothof

Ball State University announced today that President Geoffrey S. Mearns has appointed Ken Bothof to be the interim director of athletics. Mr. Bothof succeeds Beth Goetz, who has accepted a position as deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer at the University of Iowa Athletics Department. 

Mr. Bothof has 35 years of administrative experience in college athletics, including nine years at Northern Kentucky University, where he retired as vice president and director of athletics in June. From 2013-17, Mr. Bothof served in that role under President Mearns, formerly the president at Northern Kentucky. 

“I had the good fortune of working alongside Ken at Northern Kentucky. I know that, in addition to his extensive professional experience, he has great judgment and shares our University’s commitment to excellence, integrity, and inclusiveness,” President Mearns said. “I am grateful that Ken is willing to postpone his retirement plans for a few months to assist us with this temporary assignment while we conduct a search for our next outstanding athletics director.” 

“I’m appreciative of this opportunity and excited to return to a campus setting and assist President Mearns and Ball State University during this time of transition for the athletic department,” Mr. Bothof said. “I’m also excited to be reunited with President Mearns, and will spend my time at Ball State supporting the great work he, Beth Goetz, and their entire team have accomplished over the past four years. I look forward to meeting and supporting the talented coaches, staff, and student-athletes at Ball State.” 

Mr. Bothof started his career in collegiate athletics in 1987 at San Jose State University, where he served as assistant athletic director. He has also held positions at Idaho State University (senior associate athletic director; 1990-95) and Saint Louis University (associate athletic director for external operations; 1995-2002). 

From 2002-13, Mr. Bothof served as director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he was instrumental in raising $11 million in private funds to complete a $33 million renovation and expansion of the Phoenix Sports Center. He also developed an outdoor facilities plan that included new soccer and softball facilities, as well as expanded recreational and intramural opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. 

At Northern Kentucky, Mr. Bothof successfully guided the university’s transition from NCAA Division II to Division I, a process it completed in 2016. As a result of the transition, annual athletics fundraising increased more than five-fold under Mr. Bothof’s leadership, leading to numerous facility and departmental improvements. Norse student-athletes also excelled in the classroom during Mr. Bothof’s tenure, leading to at least 14 consecutive semesters with a cumulative department-wide GPA of 3.2 or better, including a streak of at least eight consecutive semesters above a 3.37 GPA. 

Mr. Bothof earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Buena Vista University, where he competed in baseball and basketball. 

President Mearns has started the process of forming a screening committee to help him select the next full-time director of athletics. He thanked Ms. Goetz for guiding the University’s Athletics Department to new heights both competitively and in the classroom. 

Over the last four years, Ball State’s teams have won 12 Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season and conference tournament championships, and its student-athletes have won 15 individual MAC championships. And, in 2020, the Ball State football team won its first postseason bowl game in program history. 

Last academic year, across all sport programs, Ball State student-athletes earned a collective GPA of 3.35. As a result, the University received the 2022 MAC Institutional Academic Achievement Award, which is presented each year to the institution with the highest GPA in the MAC. 

“I am grateful to Beth for being an exemplary member of our University’s leadership team,” President Mearns said. “During her time at Ball State, Beth retained and recruited an excellent team of coaches and administrators—women and men who will inspire our student-athletes to even greater success in the future. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Beth and wish her great success in the future.”