Ball State AD Beth Goetz Zeroing in on a Strategic Plan Heavy on Fan Engagement

January 29th, 2019 | by CollegeAD
Ball State AD Beth Goetz Zeroing in on a Strategic Plan Heavy on Fan Engagement

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Beth Goetz, Ball State’s athletic director has hit the ground running since taking over in late June.

Hired in the summer of 2018, Goetz has brought a wealth of experience with her to Muncie. Just before joining the Ball State family Goetz was the chief operating officer for athletics at the University of Connecticut and has extensive leadership experience at Butler University and the University of Minnesota, where she spent nearly a year serving as the Gophers interim athletic director.

“It’s really just about getting to learn the culture. Every institution is similar but drastically different,” explains Goetz. “You are investing a lot of time learning policy and procedures and getting to know people.”

She’s already gone forward with renovations to the basketball locker rooms that had not been touched in decades. She’s also started getting a handle on the fiscal situation within the department and is working towards larger goals. Goals like building an indoor practice facility for student-athletes and developing a strategic plan for the athletic department that lines up with the overall plan for the university.

“How people consume sports is significantly different than it used to be,” she told CollegeAD. “Fan engagement will play a large part in our strategic plan from a revenue and marketing standpoint and in shaping our brand.”

Goetz said, besides the obvious change in the way fans consume media now, athletic departments also face major cultural shifts.

“People in my generation would have grown up seeing people with tickets to events and would have gone to the games with our parents regularly. Now the entertainment options are so vast that, that’s not necessarily a piece of their personal history.”

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She knows Ball State will have to be innovative when tackling the ever-changing environment of fan engagement.

“How are you engaging with the fans and allowing them to engage with each other? It’s not just about sitting in the stands and having a great seat. It’s what interaction opportunity do I have with the folks that I came with,” she says.

Goetz also recognized the unique challenges of a department climate that has seen many leadership changes in the past five years.

“When an institution goes through a lot of leadership transitions, you forget how impactful that is on the staff. I’m the third AD they’ve had in five years,” Goetz says. “That’s a lot of new leadership styles and focus. They are really welcoming but I think it’s important to have an awareness of what that feels like.”

However, she knows making the time for relationship building will help her get to know the people of Ball State.

“I feel like I’ve already been able to establish good relationships and understand what people are passionate about, what some of our challenges are, and what’s really going well here at Ball State.”

Goetz is hoping to make the well-being of the student-athlete and long-term top-priority for the department. She says it’s something the community and her staff view as a necessity. Focusing on the whole athlete, from mental health and wellness to conditioning and preparing them for the future will set the students up for success and impact Ball State Athletics as a whole.

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