The Ball State University Board of Trustees on Thursday recognized one of the University’s most successful periods of Athletic Department achievement, both on and off the field.
In the classroom, Ball State student-athletes set departmental academic records for three consecutive semesters, including a cumulative 3.37 GPA for the 2021 Spring term.
Competitively this past year, Ball State had its best showing in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Reese Trophy (men’s sports) standings in eight years, and its best Jacoby Trophy (women’s sports) finish in more than a decade. These standings are determined by collective competitive success for all men’s and women’s sports programs.
On the field, the Cardinals won their first MAC championship in football in 22 years and won their first postseason bowl game in school history. The women’s tennis team also captured its third MAC title in the last five conference seasons, and the Ball State women’s soccer team was crowned MAC West Division champions.
As a result of this success, the Board on Friday approved contract extensions for Director of Athletics Beth Goetz and four head coaches, and the Board also approved the contract for new men’s volleyball head coach Donan Cruz.
“Our student-athletes, coaches, and Athletic Department employees have brought us great pride and positive attention—both on and off the field,” Ball State Board of Trustees Chair Renae Conley said. “We would like to thank Beth Goetz for her leadership, and look forward to building upon our athletic success in the years to come.”
Ms. Goetz, who just completed her third year leading the Cardinals’ Athletic Department, received a contract extension through 2027.
“Beth has inspired our teams to excel on the field and in the classroom, and she is a valuable member of the leadership team at our University,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “I am confident in Beth’s ability to lead our Athletics Department on its continued upward trajectory.”
“I am grateful to President Mearns and the Board of Trustees for their guidance, support, and confidence in my leadership,” Ms. Goetz said. “The opportunity to work alongside such an outstanding team of coaches and administrators is truly a privilege. Collectively, we have seen great momentum as we provide our student-athletes with excellent competitive, academic, and leadership experiences. I am excited to continue serving the Cardinal community as we reach for even greater heights.”
The Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a new five-year contract for reigning MAC champion head football coach Mike Neu; four-year contract extensions for head baseball coach Rich Maloney and head women’s basketball coach Brady Sallee; and a two-year contract extension for head men’s basketball coach James Whitford.
The approved contract extensions are made possible by additional revenue streams, including private philanthropy.
“I am so proud of the effort of our department over the past year,” Ms. Goetz said. “Our head coaches set a championship tone on the field and in the classroom. I can’t wait to see this momentum lead us to even greater success in seasons to come.”
On Thursday, the Board also decided to award a one-time supplemental payment to Athletic Department employees who voluntarily agreed to a pay reduction in the 2020-21 fiscal year due to the projected financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The onset of the pandemic created significant financial uncertainty within athletics departments across the country. At Ball State, a vast majority of Athletics employees agreed to a voluntary one-time pay reduction, work schedule reduction, or furlough. As the academic year unfolded, however, the actual impact on revenue was not as severe as originally anticipated.
Accordingly, the Board directed Ms. Goetz to award one-time payments to affected Athletics employees no greater than the reduction to their salary and wages in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“Our employees in Athletics support our student-athletes in many ways, both for competition and in life,” President Mearns said. “They displayed that dedication when they voluntarily agreed to pay reductions while continuing their support. I am grateful for their sacrifices, and I know our student-athletes are, too.”
Thursday’s actions come after the Board of Trustees approved the University’s general fund budget earlier this month, which included University funding for Athletics at the same level as the previous academic year.