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Insights From A First Time AD With Gardner-Webb’s Andrew Goodrich

Guest Andrew Goodrich, Gardner-Webb University
32:17 min watch


Gardner-Webb University Vice President and Director of Athletics Andrew Goodrich joins ADU’s Bryan Fischer to reflect on his first year in the Big Chair, offering insight into intricacies of the role including establishing relationships with key stakeholders, aligning with a president and other campus leaders and creating consensus and buy-in from a new staff. Goodrich shares the core beliefs he’s developed for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, emphasizing that among all else, having a healthy culture is the key to long-term success.

Goodrich and Fischer also discuss the impact of NIL, how to support head coaches, fundraising differences between the Power 5 and mid-major levels and how to find balance in an ever-changing athletics landscape.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - What has it been like for you, taking over a department as the new AD?
  • - What's been the biggest surprise?
  • - You're coming from Syracuse; does that allow you to develop a greater cross-section of relationships across campus and within your department?
  • - How much do you talk with your president and provost about your job and your goals for the department?
  • - Did you take some time for yourself, to think and reflect, during your first days in the chair?
  • - How do you navigate taking over a department and getting on the same page with your new staff?
  • - How do you navigate the fact that in this industry, job security isn't always a given?
  • - What do you look for in your first conversation with your new head coaches?
  • - What about navigating coaches in different phase of their careers?
  • - You might have served as a sport administrator but how is managing coaches different when the ultimate decision rests on you?
  • - How do you navigate coaching searches outside the Power 5 level, when candidates might not be as known?
  • - As an AD, you might not be able to make every event; how do you make time for every athlete so that you can reinforce the culture you're trying to establish?
  • - How do you encourage your staff to be present but also maintain balance?
  • - How do you manage having coaches and staff that might have other opportunities and job offers?
  • - How different is fundraising at this level versus your stops at the Power 5 level?
  • - Was that part of your criteria when you were considering opportunities for your own advancement?
  • - How do you define success when it can't always mean a conference title or championship run?
  • - Does that go back to your own student-athlete days?
  • - Do you ever feel more critical of the baseball program due to your experience as a baseball student-athlete?
  • - How do you take advantage of momentum?
  • - How involved are you in recruiting?
  • - Is it more difficult to do that, given that the athletes environment you're operating in is changing so quickly?
  • - Do you look at the changing landscape in terms of opportunities you can take advantage of?
  • - How much do you see your community as an asset (NIL-wise) for student-athletes?
  • - Being in the AD chair... what's "hi-definition" for you?
  • - What was the biggest on-field win for Gardner-Webb this year?
  • - What were your big wins off the field?