University News

Athletics director will retire at end of year

City & State Editor
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger will retire at the end of the academic year after 38 years with the University. 

His decision, announced in an email to the Brown community by President Ruth Simmons Dec. 13, surprised many athletes. “I had no idea that this was coming,” said Andrew Pintea ’12, captain of the men’s fencing team.

“I had no idea this was even a possibility,” said Kyle Newhall-Caballero ‘11.5, co-captain of the football team. “Especially after President Simmons is stepping down, now the athletics director is stepping down. … It’s kind of strange for the University.”

Goldberger said he had planned to step down a year ago, but Simmons convinced him to stay on for one more year to address issues facing the department.

“We have a roadmap set up for where we want to go in the next six months,” Goldberger said. The plan involves enlarging the athletics department’s endowment, increasing its budget and developing facilities to stabilize the program.

The new athletics facility is slated for completion this spring, which Goldberger said should make life easier for student-athletes. “Kids are working out in the weight room at six in the morning because we just don’t have the facilities,” he said.

Due to the recent construction of new facilities, the new athletics director will be “walking into a really great situation here,” Newhall-Caballero said.

Goldberger has “done a lot of really great things for Brown athletics,” Newhall-Caballero said. “He’s done a great job of getting alums to associate with the athletic department here,” which has boosted the department’s fundraising push, he said.

Though Goldberger said he recognized fundraising as an important part of his position, he said he particularly enjoyed building personal relationships with students.

“Any new director would have an incredibly hard job getting to know the individual teams on the level that Goldie did,” Pintea said.

Goldberger noted athletes at Brown face a unique challenge not shared by those at other Division I schools.

Athletic achievement “takes a lot of time, and you have to devote an incredible amount of energy to that success,” he said. “That makes it hard when you have to compete against some of the best students in the country academically.”

He added that his successor must recognize that challenge. “What’s most important in an athletics director is understanding the academic requirements at a place like Brown, understanding what students have to do in the classroom.”

The new director will also have to take charge of efforts to increase the department’s endowment over the next five years, he said. “Whoever comes in is going to have a really full plate,” he said.

The University will launch a national search for a new director in upcoming months, according to Simmons’ email.  

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