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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Northern Kentucky University Vice President and Director of Athletics to Retire

NKU Vice President and Director of Athletics Ken Bothof has announced his retirement in June 2022.

Ken Bothof, vice president and director of athletics at Northern Kentucky University, has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2022, concluding a nine-year period leading Norse Athletics.

"I’m very grateful that my 35-year career in college athletics provided me the opportunity to interact with so many outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff. I’m thankful for the numerous achievements we’ve collectively attained," Bothof said. 

"I’m proud of our accomplishments at NKU over the past eight-plus years, developing Norse Athletics into a strong DI program. NKU has tremendous potential and the necessary alignment with the university, athletics administration and the Northern Kentucky community to continue future improvements and success!" 
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Bothof was hired by Northern Kentucky in 2013 and assumed his role as AD that August. He inherited an athletic department transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I status and successfully guided the program into active DI membership in August 2016.

Throughout the transition, Bothof reorganized marketing, communications, development and academic services areas within the department, and it paid immediate dividends. Annual fundraising has risen more than five-fold, and a recent gift pushed Norse Athletics beyond its $8.5 million campaign goal.

Men’s basketball season-ticket sales nearly tripled during Bothof’s tenure. Facility improvements included new turf installations for soccer, baseball and softball, as well as rebranding in BB&T Arena, NKU Soccer Stadium, Regents Hall and Albright Health Center. Bothof also negotiated partnerships with Adidas as Northern Kentucky Athletics’ apparel provider and St. Elizabeth Healthcare to increase the sports medicine services provided to Norse student-athletes.

Following the overhaul of the academics area, Norse student-athletes have excelled in the classroom with 14 consecutive semesters of a cumulative, department-wide GPA of 3.20 or better, which also includes a current streak of eight consecutive semesters above a 3.37 GPA.

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 

Following the NCAA granting active DI status to NKU, Horizon League championships and NCAA Tournaments immediately ensued. The Norse women’s soccer team staked claim to the 2016 Horizon League Championship and earned the department’s first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament appearance. Men’s basketball soon followed with league tournament titles and NCAA tournament qualifications in 2017, 2019 and 2020, with a regular-season title and NIT appearance in 2018 sandwiched in between as well. Women’s volleyball also won a league championship and appeared in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Men’s golfer Jacob Poore became the first Norse individual to qualify for an NCAA appearance in 2018.

Prior to NKU, Bothof led the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay Athletic Department for 11 years. One of his biggest accomplishments was the completion of a $10 million fundraising campaign and construction of the Kress Events Center on campus, which houses a 4,000-seat arena and basketball practice facility. UW-Green Bay also experienced significant success in men’s basketball, men’s soccer, volleyball, softball and men’s tennis, while the women’s basketball program became a perennial top-25 program and made a Sweet 16 run in 2011.

Northern Kentucky University will conduct a national search for its next athletic director.

By the numbers

In 20 seasons as a director of athletics, Bothof’s teams have amassed the following:
  • 15 team Regular-Season League Championships
  • 17 team League Tournament Championships
  • 18 team NCAA Tournament Participants

Bothof’s Career Timeline
  • 2013-Present: Northern Kentucky University Director of Athletics
  • 2002-13: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Director of Athletics
  • 1995-2002: Saint Louis University Associate Athletic Director for External Operations
  • 1990-95: Idaho State University Senior Associate Athletic Director
  • 1987-90: San Jose State University Assistant Athletic Director

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