From soccer player at Clemson to the chief operating officer at UConn’s Division of Athletics
“CHARACTER IS WHAT YOU HAVE when you think no one is watching. You have got to live and breathe it every day.”
Beth Goetz’s definition of character has served her well so far. From her time as a Clemson soccer player to her current position as chief operating officer of the University of Connecticut’s Division of Athletics, Goetz has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of intercollegiate athletics.
Goetz began her experience with college athletics as a soccer player, transferring from Brevard College to Clemson her junior year. Team captain for the women’s soccer team, she went on to earn her degree in psychology in 1996.
Grad school and coaching came next. While studying counseling at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she coached the women’s soccer team to eight winning seasons. It wasn’t long before she became an assistant athletic director and the senior woman administrator for UMSL, setting aside her original plan to be a therapist. However, Goetz explains that her education in counseling and psychology has contributed to her success in athletics.
“I was calling my coaches at 23 saying, ‘What am I doing here?’” she says. “But once I got into it, I felt like I was making an impact on the athletes, which is what I would have been doing through counseling as well.”
After 12 years at UMSL, she moved on to positions at Butler University and the University of Minnesota, where her responsibilities and leadership gradually increased.
Her current role at UConn has her overseeing day-to-day operations as the sport administrator for football, softball and men’s soccer, Goetz focuses on building a team culture. “Athletics can teach and foster so many important things like commitment and time management, but it’s also about believing you can accomplish more as a team than you can as an individual,” she says.
While Goetz’s career has taken her around the country and to different colleges, she wants one thing clear: “I will always be a Tiger.” During her time at Butler, Goetz fondly remembers one game in 2009 when the Tigers and the Bulldogs went head to head in men’s basketball: “I went into the game thinking, ‘I can’t really lose here.’”
UPDATE: Since we wrote this story, Goetz has moved on to become the director of athletics at Ball State University earlier this year.