Monday, April 5, 2021

KU names Northwestern Deputy AD Travis Goff new athletic director

Newly named University of Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff, is shown at his former school, Northwestern, where he served as the Wildcats' Deputy AD since 2012. Goff graduated from KU in 2002 and was hired by KU Chancellor Douglas Girod on April 5, 2021.

Newly named University of Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff, is shown at his former school, Northwestern, where he served as the Wildcats' Deputy AD since 2012. Goff graduated from KU in 2002 and was hired by KU Chancellor Douglas Girod on April 5, 2021.


Travis Goff, a 2002 graduate of the University of Kansas and native of Dodge City, has been named the school’s new athletic director, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod announced on Monday afternoon.

Goff becomes the fifth AD hired by Kansas since the late Bob Frederick retired in 2001.

“It truly is an honor and a privilege to steward the next chapter of Kansas Athletics, and I am extremely grateful to Chancellor Girod for his belief in me and our shared vision for the future,” Goff said in a news release announcing the hire. "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. I cannot wait to get started.”

Goff will be formally introduced at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Lied Center on KU's west campus and will begin his new job immediately. Goff’s contract will pay him $700,000 annually for at least the first 3 years of a 5-year deal. The contract was signed by both Goff & Chancellor Girod, and attorneys for both, on Monday.

Goff graduated from KU with degrees in journalism and sociology and Girod called his KU ties "an added bonus" that "will undoubtedly serve him well as he moves Kansas Athletics forward."

The hire comes just 26 days after KU and former AD Jeff Long agreed to part ways on March 10 after sexual harassment allegations at LSU involving Long’s football hire, Les Miles, led to the ouster of both men.

For reference, KU’s search to identify Long as the replacement to Sheahon Zenger in 2018 lasted seven weeks. News of the hire also comes just three days after KU announced that men's basketball coach Bill Self had signed a "lifetime contract" with the university.

Girod was advised in the search by KU alumni Linda Ellis Sims, Wayne Simien, Ray Evans and John Ballard, with powerhouse search firm TurnkeyZRG also assisting the process.

Goff, 41, takes over at his alma mater after nine years as the Deputy AD at Northwestern, where he oversaw football, volleyball and baseball and played a big role in the Wildcats’ fundraising efforts which yielded $440 million since the time of his arrival.

Goff worked under former Northwestern AD Jim Phillips, who recently left the school to become the next commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference. After Phillips’ departure, Goff played an important role in helping Northwestern find its next AD. That job has yet to be filled.

Goff arrived at Northwestern after a stint as an Associate AD for External Affairs at Tulane, where he received his master’s in business administration in 2007.

“Travis stood out among the candidates 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 in the release. "I am especially impressed with Travis’ vision for KU. Travis understands the challenges we face and the changing landscape of collegiate athletics. 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."

He comes to KU with experience in nine different coaching searches to his name and also as a recently named up-and-comer in college athletics administration by both the Sports Business Journal and College AD publications.

Phillips, who called Goff both "an incredibly strong leader" and "a rising star" in the 2018 College AD write-up, said in KU's news release that Kansas "made an exceptional hire."

“Travis is an extraordinary leader that was involved as a decision maker in all areas at Northwestern," Phillips said. "He is a servant leader who will work tirelessly for all Jayhawk student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans. His vision, work ethic and high intellect will serve Kansas well."

Goff inherits an athletic department with several needs that will command his full attention right out of the gate.

In addition to hiring a full-time football coach to replace Miles, the KU men's basketball program is still working through the NCAA infractions case against the program, which includes five Level 1 violations, including a lack of institutional control tag and a charge of head coach responsibility.

In addition to those endeavors, Goff will be asked to lead the department through several post-pandemic financial challenges that will come with Kansas Athletics operating with an annual budget that is 20-30% lower than it is used to.

Also looming in the not-too-distant future are the renegotiation of the Big 12's television contracts, — not to mention KU's third-party deals — which some in the industry are predicting could spark another round of conference realignment.

Described by those who know him as "a really good guy," Goff's familiarity with all things Kansas, from his beginnings in Dodge City to his time as a student at KU and, later, a short stint working in the athletic department before heading to Tulane, made him a name to watch from the outset of KU's search.

Goff called his new job "one of the most humbling responsibilities and opportunities in college athletics," and said the department, under his leadership, would focus 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."

— Stay in touch with for much more on this developing story.


William Daniels 1 year, 3 months ago

Interesting to read local media reaction. My question like many others is why didn’t Northwestern offer him the job...his bio makes him sound like a shoo-in. My guess is that Northwestern wants to fill the position with a woman.

Tim Orel 1 year, 3 months ago

And your choice would have been who? Or at least, what qualifications would you have wanted that aren't present with Goff?

Brett McCabe 1 year, 3 months ago

Hard to argue with this hire in any way, shape or form. While having some diversity at this position would have been ideal, getting someone with KU ties is really important at this time - for all the reasons listed in the article.

Having an AD who has worked inside a big time conference adds real value. And introducing some new, young energy will be fantastic.

The guy has some heavy lifting in front of him. All of us could help by sending a check to the Williams Fund tomorrow. He is now our guy. Let’s help him win.

Really, really glad we got a Jayhawk. Our last Jayhawk AD hired Glen Mason and Roy Williams. Maybe there is something about being passionate about the work that you do?

Michael Maris 1 year, 3 months ago


Be careful (from now on), please see your comments from 2018. Your admiration in 2021, may not be the same in 2024....... Just saying....... You seem to flow in the direction that the wind blows (on any given day).

David Davison 1 year, 3 months ago

Why is diversity ideal? Sure it can be, and I understand it looks great to the masses.. Maybe that is why, because its easier to get a broader range of athletes to commit. But does it produce results? Turner Gill was the answer to everything bad Mangino was, and that created 12+ years of disaster in FB.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 3 months ago

What's the mistake Rodney? I only see one bad possibility.

At first glance this is great. KU chooses a KU Grad, someone with immediate loyalty to the school that wants the school to do well, and hopefully won't offer the job to a millionaire buddy whose time has passed them by. Digging deeper, Goff has 3 degrees, Journalism, Sociology, and a Master's in Business Administration. The previous AD's decisions on the hiring of Weiss, the hiring of Beatty - contract & lawsuit, the "boosters" NCAA trap, on and on ... all while KU really should have been having better athletic success, and focused on raking in $ off football and other athletic events. Finding an experienced qualified Jayhawk with MBA to me is AWESOME,! I hope it's an indication that the administration has changed it's philosphy .... and from the praises about Goff from others in the article says it's true. The one bad possibility I don't want to consider is that KU just found someone new that will easily bend the knee and do everything they are told. Only time will tell. KU doesn't really have any time to waste....expeditious, solid choice.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Rodney must be referring to the timing right between UNC hiring Davis and the NC game. That must be it. Doubt that he’s referring to his own lack of punctuation.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 3 months ago

Michael, as I’ve said repeatedly, once you have the job I support the decision. I supported Weiss, I supported Zenger,I supported Gill, I supported Beaty and I supported Long and Miles. Sorry that you find that disappointing. That I supported our new leaders.

More concerning, of course, is that I’m this much in your head. That, of course, is something that you’ll red to work out yourself.

Michael Maris 1 year, 2 months ago


I supported each and everyone of your aforementioned AD's and HC's as well.

But, your support doesn't last long.

While, I guess I am a glutton for punishment (in your eyes) since I stay supportive through the end.

Layne Pierce 1 year, 3 months ago

Brett I agree with you. For once, and the point is we all have to give him our support and patience on carrying out a very difficult mission.


Buck Bukaty 1 year, 2 months ago

Rid us of ESPN+ pay-per-view in local markets and I'll fully support him.

Charlie Gaughn 1 year, 2 months ago

We'll have a good idea if he's going to work out very soon. If he does like most AD's and races out to hire "his football coach" and we lose half of the last two recruiting classes it will not bode well. If he stays the course this season, evaluates where we're at, then make the decision on whether or not to replace the current staff, there'll be hope.

it is nice to see a younger AD with Kansas ties.

Bob Strawn 1 year, 2 months ago

Ku does lifetime-with-Self contract before announcing this hire thus protecting him from blowback. Nice.

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