Athletic Director Bothof Reviews NKU’s Climb to Division 1

by Pam Goetting on October 6, 2017

Ken Bothof, Athletic Director at Northern Kentucky University

Ken Bothof, Athletic Director at Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University, a significant community asset since 1976, recently completed the move to Division 1 membership and acceptance into the Horizon League.    The move more closely aligns NKU with other regional institutions that value athletics and academics. 

“This allows us to recruit not just athletes, but all students to an outstanding regional university like Northern,” said Ken Bothof, Athletic Director at Northern Kentucky University since 2013, during a recent presentation to the Florence Rotary Club.  “It was the institution’s decision to go D-1, not the athletic department.”

The Men’s soccer team is doing well, and the women’s soccer team tied for first place.  They won the Horizon League championship last year.  With FC Cincinnati creating excitement in the soccer community, the soccer teams at NKU are poised to really grow and develop a strong fan base in Northern Kentucky.

The Women’s volleyball team and Cross Country teams are also off to a good start.

Men’s and Women’s basketball had their first day of practice on October 2.  The Women’s team is a young team with a good recruiting class.

The Men’s team completed an NCAA run last year – the first time since 1972 that a brand new Division 1 team competed in the tournament.  “The value of the game against the University of Kentucky, when you count the times our team was featured on CBS, ESPN and all the bracket shows, was $25 million worth of TV coverage, “ marveled Bothof. 

The excitement of the NCAA tournament run continues with this season.  “Two years ago we had 400 season ticket holders.  Last year we had 675.  So far this season, we have 1100 season ticket holders,” said Bothof.  With this kind of growth, the best years for the athletic program are still ahead, he said.

“A servant leadership style leads to a successful organization in today’s college sports environment,” concluded Bothof.  “The NCAA is very clear about the responsibilities of the head coach.  Maybe every program should take a step back and evaluate their program, so we can make a better landscape for all of college sports.”