The ongoing search for NKU’s new athletic director has come to a close today after President Geoffrey Mearns announced that Ken Bothof will step into the position. Bothof, former director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay since 2002, will begin his new role at NKU on Aug. 19.
“During my visits here, I was truly inspired by the passion and the pride that was displayed at NKU,” Bothof said. “And by Northern Kentucky University’s commitment to the complete student-athlete experience.”
The search began in April with around 70 to 80 candidates, according to Chris Cole, director of marketing and communications at NKU.
“The high quality of this candidate pool demonstrates the quality of our athletics program,” Mearns said. “But it also reflects the excellent reputation our university has, not just in this region, but across the country.”
It was narrowed down to three candidates, Jean Berger, senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at the University of Northern Iowa, Karlton Creech, senior associate athletic director and chief of staff at the University of North Carolina, as well as Bothof.
“The future of NKU athletics rests in Atlantic Sun Conference,” Bothof said. “We need to grow from an athletic standpoint to become a leader in the A-Sun. Our future will be developed in the next few weeks, we can look ahead now and recognize Division I standing with a strategic plan for the future.”
NKU women’s basketball head coach, Dawn Plitzuweit, was also once employed at the University of Washington-Green Bay. Bothof said it was after Plitzuweit moved to NKU that he began to follow the university more and has, over the years, gotten to learn much more about it, another reason why he pursued the job.
“I believe a person in that position will come in and give us a vision of where we head from here,” Plitzuweit said.”I’m very excited and I certainly believe our university put together three strong finalists. Ken, has been there and done that and has had great experience and great success, and from our standpoint we couldn’t be happier about this announcement.”
Parker Executive Search was hired by the university to help find the right candidates. The consultants from the team spent two days on campus in May to meet with the search committee.
Former athletic director Scott Eaton was terminated by Mearns for ethical misconduct and moral violation of the university on March 18. Since then, two interim athletic directors have held the spot while waiting for a new one to be named, Gerry St. Amand, former vice president of University Advancement and Michael Cusack, former Wright State University athletic director.
Overall, Mearns seemed thoroughly satisfied with his choice of Bothof for the athletic director position.
“I chose Ken because I believe he has the experience to lead in the three areas of his job,” Mearns said. “One is working with the coaches and athletic performance of our teams, he has great experience in hiring, mentoring and evaluating coaches. The second thing is all of that administrative stuff, the budget and compliance, and he’s done very well with that. Third is generating additional resources, he’s a great facet in corporate partnerships and donations. He’s really the perfect, well-rounded candidate.”