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Beth Goetz’s path — from college athlete to coach to administrator — led her to Tuesday’s official introduction as Iowa’s new athletics director.

Iowa City, it seemed to Goetz, was the perfect destination.

“The days of people being in positions for 20 years may have passed us by, but there is no place else I would be better suited for and be more passionate about than to continue to lead here at the University of Iowa,” said Goetz, who has been Iowa’s interim AD since Gary Barta retired last August. “As you all already know, I'm a Midwest kid. I'm from this community. It's felt like home from the moment that I came.”

Goetz, whose hiring was announced last week, was the choice after university president Barbara Wilson conducted a national search.

The search, Wilson said, had its purpose.

“Many people asked me, why would you do a national search if you have a crown jewel sitting right here,” Wilson said, gesturing toward Goetz during Tuesday’s press conference. “And my answer was a search substantiates she’s the right person. And that’s what happened. She went through a very vigorous and competitive search process.”

Wilson read from a statement from one of Goetz’s references, who said she would bring a “high-humility, low-ego approach to the job.”

Goetz, currently the lone female AD in the Big Ten — Jennifer Cohen will be the second when USC joins the conference this summer — said she understands the responsibility that comes with the position.

Goetz talked about Dr. Christine Grant, who was the director of women’s athletics at Iowa from 1973 to 2000.

“I stand on the shoulders of so many, and literally in the place where those who came before fought to be sure that these opportunities existed,” Goetz said. “I understand the responsibility, of course, to have and be the individual that someone might look at it and say, ‘Hey, I can take that same path one day.’”

Athletes from several women’s programs attended the press conference.

“I'm thinking, ‘I was you,’” Goetz said, acknowledging the athletes. “I know what that experience is like. Believe me, even a few decades later when you're my age, you're going to remember every single moment.

“It's certainly not about the wins and losses. It's about the experience that you get to have each and every day. The challenges that are going to make you better, whether you know that right now or not, and it's just such an impactful moment. It was in my life, it is in yours, and you just don't know how this is going to transform the opportunities that you have long after you take off your uniform.”

Goetz, who was the AD at Ball State for four years before coming to Iowa to be the deputy athletics director and chief operating officer in 2022, made an impact soon after becoming interim AD, when in October she fired football offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, effective at the end of the season.

“I think every decision we make is certainly an impactful one, and some are more visible than others,” she said when asked about the decision on Tuesday. “And any time you make a decision about someone who has meant so much to an institution and to a program, it’s going to be difficult. But I think at the end of the day, leadership is about building trust. You take the information you have, you make the best decision you can in the short (term) and the long term, and you do that with your values in mind, making sure you’re taking into consideration all of those impacted. And you go from there.

“Over time, you continue to develop that trust and that respect that, even in the moments when some disagree and some don’t, that they understand how you got to those decisions.”

Kirk Ferentz has yet to hire Brian’s replacement.

“I feel really good about where the process is,” Goetz said. “I know there are a lot of people anxious, certainly, to hear what the final decision is and who is going to be joining that team. I think all those puzzle pieces are going to come together here in short order.

“I've worked very closely with Coach. Certainly, we have a financial blueprint that we work through, and then from there we're evaluating each and every current staff member and also those that we may be considering for that role.”

Goetz takes over at a time when college athletics are undergoing a major transition, with conference expansion, name-image-likeness collectives, and expanding television rights packages.

“We're seeing a lot of issues nationally, across the country, across the state even in Iowa, and we need a leader who's going to take us forward into the next era and a leader who is super focused on student-athletes, and that's what I'm excited about, and the coaches and the staff here,” Wilson said.

Asked what changes now that the interim tag has been lifted, Goetz said, “When President Wilson offered me the opportunity to serve in the interim role, she said, ‘Please go do the job.’ We did that and continued to make sure we were making the decisions that were important to move the department forward. Some of the items that we didn't tackle were those that we thought might be disruptive until we had a permanent leader in place. So there are some things that we are now looking to do.

“Obviously we'll have some staff openings and really move forward that way, and really this next six months to a year from a national standpoint is going to be incredibly important. Being able to truly identify what we want to do, identify who we are, what our bold vision is and how that connects to that moving landscape is going to be critical. So we're excited to move forward.”

The long term focus of Goetz was clear.

“I don't know what else you would look for that's beyond these walls,” she said.