Ball State taps Southern Miss deputy as next athletic director

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Jeff Mitchell

Ball State University has named Jeff Mitchell director of athletics, succeeding Beth Goetz, who stepped down in September to take a position at the University of Iowa.

Mitchell joins Ball State after serving as deputy director of athletics at the University of Southern Mississippi, a position he has held since 2018. He will be formally introduced Monday during a news conference at the Ball State Alumni Center in Muncie.

“After conducting a thorough national search, what impressed me about Jeff, in addition to his extensive professional executive experience in intercollegiate athletics, is his character—a values-based approach to leadership that embodies our enduring values,” said Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns. “I am confident that Jeff will help our university extend a legacy of excellence in Ball State Athletics—a tradition that instills pride and passion among our students, our graduates, and our fans.”

Ball State said Mitchell has more than two decades of experience in higher education and athletics administration. At Southern Miss, he has managed the daily operations of the athletics department.

He also served as interim director of athletics at Southern Mississippi during the 2018-19 academic year.

“Ball State’s reputation as a world-class institution devoted to immersive learning and comprehensive student success is reinforced through its athletics department,” said Mitchell. “I am impressed by the outstanding coaches, staff, and student-athletes who are consistently competing for conference championships and qualifying for NCAA tournaments while setting records both in competition and in the classroom.”

Prior to his time at Southern Miss, Mitchell worked for 12 years at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., where he was the senior associate athletic director for external operations.

Mearns also thanked Ken Bothof, who served as interim director of athletics since Goetz’ departure last fall. Goetz now serves as deputy director of athletes and chief operating officer for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

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