LAWRENCE — In a wide-ranging interview this week during a podcast appearance on "From the Chair with Mike Hamilton," Kansas athletic director Travis Goff touched on topics concerning both himself and aspects of his department.
Goff highlighted what it meant to him to assume the position he has at his alma mater, and how he has been influenced by those in the industry who have meant a lot to him and his career. He spoke about some key moments that have occurred so far in his young tenure, including the hire of head football coach Lance Leipold and the national championship won by coach Bill Self's men's basketball team. Goff also provided a snapshot on the current state of key topics that fans are following intently.
Here are a few of the main takeaways from the podcast episode:
Every day, two topics are always discussed
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) September 23, 2022
There’s a lot going on in college athletics. In recent months, during the second year of Goff’s tenure as athletic director, conference realignment and athletes being able to benefit monetarily from their name, image and likeness (NIL) have remained high-profile issues. But two things specific to Kansas are discussed every day, Goff revealed.
The first is how the department is able to uphold and elevate the tradition-rich men’s basketball program. Goff doesn’t want anyone to think it’s destined to stay that way without hard work on their part. He said it will take a robust and daily commitment to ensure it happens.
The second is how the school determines what a different level of commitment and investment in the football program looks like. On the field, Leipold is off to a fast start in his second season in charge. Off the field, it appears a major construction project in the future will speak volumes.
“If you’re tending to those things and really elevating those things, then what the trickle-down effect — it’s remarkable,” Goff said. “It has an impact on every other program, every other sport, and the opposite of that is the drain and the negative implications across an entire athletic department if you’re not both maintaining and growing in those spaces. It’s really significant and there’s a lot of risk that comes with that.”
Goff on the project concerning the football stadium, greater community
Hello this is Kansas Football and we‘d like to make an announcement…
🚨 DAVID BOOTH KANSAS MEMORIAL STADIUM IS OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT ON SATURDAY 🚨 pic.twitter.com/0vpwm5Hez0
— Kansas Football (@KU_Football) September 22, 2022
Goff made a point to say Kansas hasn’t really announced anything itself with much depth, and noted that what’s been discussed publicly have been aspects related to the process. But he did acknowledge that school officials are looking to study both the football stadium and general site there more broadly. They are looking for it to serve as a gateway to the rest of campus.
Goff estimates they will have an architect locked down in the next month or so, and from there will begin to define what they are looking to do. He said there is a “major transformation” in store that’s focused on the football stadium and facility. And on top of that, they want what’s done to create something that has multi-use capabilities for the campus community, city of Lawrence and greater region.
“This isn’t just a study, this is an exercise to outcome, right?” Goff said. “That’s something that really is going to drive movement and action early on. And so we’re excited about where that could lead us when we think about having real movement over there on that site in 2023.”
There are significant plans for Allen Fieldhouse
Love the process 💯 pic.twitter.com/cRO9iZO4Ov
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) September 21, 2022
This is a great opportunity and a challenge, in Goff’s mind. He doesn’t want to take away from the tradition and character Allen Fieldhouse has. However, he feels fan expectations have changed, and that's to be expected.
While Goff doesn’t expect Kansas to stop having sellout crowds for men’s basketball games, he wants to meet the new needs and expectations of those crowds. He thinks there’s more pressure to do so after the pandemic. He added they are about to finalize a plan for a “major renovation” of Allen Fieldhouse with construction slated to hopefully begin in the upcoming offseason.
“It’s that delicate dance, right?” said Goff, who thinks there could be a multi-use angle to this renovation as well. “Don’t take away from that character and that history and that tradition, but how do you change experience in concourse, concessions, restrooms? In our pregame and halftime premium spaces, there’s a great opportunity there.”
Goff also highlighted that the retail offerings have to improve. He’ll look to find the balance between technology and video boards while not taking away from what makes the venue special. And there will likely be more chair-backed seats, too.
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas AD Travis Goff plans for 'major renovation' to Allen Fieldhouse