Inside the First 24 Hours With Travis Goff as Director of Athletics
When Travis Goff walked across the stage at the Lied Center just past 10 a.m., Wednesday morning, it marked the final hour of a 24-hour experience he will remember for the rest of his life.
Twenty-four hours, 24 years after he stepped foot on the campus on a hill as a student for the first time.
A Dodge City native and a Jayhawk graduate, Goff, the new director of athletics, was seemingly made to lead the Kansas athletic department.
And on Wednesday, one day after he re-touched down in Lawrence to start the next act of his professional career, Goff made it clear.
You hear about dream jobs, destination jobs,” Goff said. “This is my destination job. This is where I received an incredible education, where I started my career, and where I fell in love with college athletics. It is the absolute honor of my professional lifetime to come back and serve my alma mater; a place that has done so much for me.”
“It’s taken more than two decades, so many selfless mentors and supporters and some divine intervention to find my way back to Lawrence, but I can assure you it has been worth every second of that wait.”
The dad of Ellie, Carly and Graham, and the husband of Nancy, Goff landed at Lawrence Memorial Airport on Tuesday with his family happily by his side. The Goffs were greeted by Kurt Watson, who served as interim athletics director prior to Goff’s hire, and other members of the Kansas family for a jovial welcome.
Goff then made his way over to campus to begin meeting his newest co-workers and get right to work.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to, but I really enjoyed every moment of (Tuesday),” Goff said. “From the second we left Evanston with this crew and landed in Lawrence to an amazing welcoming…I got over to the athletics department and met with the head coaches, the senior staff, and then had a chance to visit with the full staff.
“To be in person, to be in front of people with what everyone has gone through in this past year was really special.”
Following Goff’s introductory meeting with the Kansas staff, he made his way over to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium to watch the football team practice in person. The Jayhawks were making their way through their third spring practice this year, and Goff, who hadn’t been in town for six hours yet, wanted to see the squad in action.
He took in a large part of the practice from the sideline, before meeting with interim head coach Emmett Jones and members of the staff following practice.
“I had a great opportunity yesterday; I really wanted to prioritize this to get out to practice to observe Coach Jones and his staff,” Goff said. “The energy was incredible. It’s been well documented for me coming in, and then I was able to witness it with my own eyes what a great job Coach Jones and his staff have done keeping this group together; Keeping them united and having the type of energy you need to have in spring football. So that was really neat.”
After maybe a few hours of shuteye, Goff arrived back on campus at the Lied Center to meet with members of the local media and community to begin to lay out his vision for the future of Kansas athletics.
One thing he made for sure. He’s ready to get to work, and isn’t going to waste anytime beginning to leave his impact on this athletic department and what’s ahead.
“There are immediate priorities; those are real, and really critical,” Goff said. “They are on the immediate horizon. We are going to address those, tackle those as really important building blocks, because the most important days aren’t today tomorrow, the next week or the week after, it’s going to be, what can we do with the momentum we can create, what do we do with those initial building blocks.
“Because this is going to have to be something that has to be built for sustained success, and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.”
And with that, the 24-hour welcome period officially expired.