KU Athletic Director Travis Goff agrees to contract extension; salary rises to $1.3M

photo by: Chance Parker/Journal-World photo

Athletic Director Travis Goff speaks at the press conference following KU's release of new plans to renovate David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Aug. 15, 2023.

Updated 4:21 p.m. Wednesday:

Kansas athletic director Travis Goff has received a raise to a starting base salary of $1.3 million and a contract extension through 2031, KU announced Wednesday afternoon.

“I am thankful to Chancellor Girod for his continued trust in our team and I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to continue leading Kansas Athletics through a pivotal time,” Goff said in a press release. “Rest assured, our best days are ahead.”

The new terms, backdated to Jan. 1, serve as the first significant extension for Goff, a KU alumnus and Dodge City native who was initially hired to a five-year deal in April 2021 and at the time was the lowest-paid athletic director in the Big 12 Conference at $700,000 per year.

“Travis has proven to be among the most respected athletic directors in the country and terrific fit for KU at this moment in our history,” Chancellor Douglas Girod said in the release. “He has established a culture of excellence and integrity within Kansas Athletics — and done so while navigating unprecedented changes to the collegiate athletics landscape and positioning KU for long-term success. We are thrilled he’s a Jayhawk, and we look forward to his leadership for years to come.”

The contract’s base salary escalates annually all the way to $1.57 million by the final year of the deal, 2030-31, and Goff is also eligible to receive six-figure retention payments and annual bonuses each year.

The deal includes a payment to Goff of $5 million (decreasing year over year) if KU wishes to terminate him without cause, or a buyout payment by Goff or on Goff’s behalf of $5 million (also gradually decreasing) if he were to leave for another university or a sports organization.

He has also been elevated to the title of Director of Athletics/Vice Chancellor for Athletics.

Goff’s tenure has been characterized by key coaching hires that have spurred improvement in many of the Jayhawks’ athletic programs.

Those hires include football coach Lance Leipold, who took over a previously winless program and reached two bowl games within four seasons; women’s golf coach Lindsay Kuhle, whose 2024 team was the first at KU to go to back-to-back NCAA regionals; and baseball coach Dan Fitzgerald, whose Jayhawks just won their highest quantity of Big 12 games in a decade. Most recently, he hired Nate Lie from Xavier to serve as the new soccer coach; Lie will coach his first season at KU in the fall.

Goff has given contract extensions to coaches like Ray Bechard (volleyball), Jamie Bermel (men’s golf), Todd Chapman (tennis), Carrie Cook-Callen (rowing), Jennifer McFalls (softball), Stanley Redwine (track and field) and Brandon Schneider (women’s basketball).

Goff oversaw an eventful few years in KU men’s basketball that featured a national title and the conclusion of the long-running Independent Accountability Resolution Process case, and then gave head coach Bill Self an amended lifetime contract at the start of the 2023-24 season.

“Everybody in the department is happy for Travis,” Self said in a statement on social media. “He’s done a great job galvanizing the department with a vision that certainly puts Kansas Athletics amongst the elite. I’m personally looking forward to working with Travis and watching the vision be completed.”

Goff has also presided over this summer’s enhancements to Allen Fieldhouse, as well as most notably KU’s Gateway District project, including the ongoing renovations to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

“The impact Travis has had speaks for itself,” Leipold wrote in a post on X. “He has moved the entire department forward since his arrival. This is a well-deserved extension! Excited to continue building (Kansas football) side by side with Travis.”