Kansas has hired Northwestern administrator Travis Goff as its new athletic director, the school announced Monday.

Goff, a Sunflower State native who graduated from KU, called it a thrill to return to Lawrence, Kansas, in what he labeled “one of the most humbling responsibilities and opportunities in college athletics.”

“Our purpose will remain focused on fostering our student-athletes’ academic, social and athletic development; supporting our talented coaches and staff; connecting with alumni and donors; and, most importantly, building a culture that allows 16 proud programs to compete for Big 12 Conference and national championships while representing our department, our institution and our community,” he said in a statement.

Goff has been at Northwestern since 2012, most recently as deputy athletic director and assistant vice president for development. He played a role in fundraising that led to massive facilities upgrades at Northwestern and oversaw the football, baseball and volleyball programs.

Kansas has been searching for an athletic director since Jeff Long resigned almost a month ago.

Long was responsible for hiring Les Miles, with whom the school parted ways amid sexual misconduct allegations dating to the football coach’s time at LSU. Long initially said he would lead the search for Miles’ replacement, but criticism about the due diligence he did in hiring his longtime friend, coupled with massive public outcry, led to his decision to resign.

“Travis stood out among the candidates due to his experience, his reputation as a man of integrity, and his demonstrated ability to connect with faculty, staff, alumni and donors,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a statement. “I am especially impressed with Travis’ vision for KU. Travis understands the challenges we face and the changing landscape of collegiate athletics. At the same time, he is well-positioned to help us build on our recent successes in student-athlete healthcare, diversity and inclusion, and student-athlete academic achievement. The fact that he is a Jayhawk is an added bonus and will undoubtedly serve him well as he moves Kansas Athletics forward.”

Goff’s first big task will be to determine what to do with a football program already going through spring practice under wide receivers coach Emmett Jones, picked to serve as the interim coach last month.

The downtrodden Jayhawks lost all nine of their games last season. They have not had a winning season since Mark Mangino was on the sideline in 2008.

Goff returns to Lawrence having worked under former Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, who left the school in the Chicago suburb of Evanston earlier this year to become Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner.

Goff grew up in Dodge City in the southwestern part of Kansas. He graduated in 2002 with degrees in journalism and sociology, then earned an MBA from Tulane, where he worked as associate athletic director for external affairs.

He is the sixth athletic director for the Jayhawks since Bob Frederick retired in 2001.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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