Former UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard may have stated it best in May of 2008 when he said, "My best move was to hire Ken Bothof, and in the first year, he had the program running in the black again. Every year, he's been able to increase investments in the athletic program because of the community support."
Bothof is in his 10th year as the Director of Athletics at Green Bay, and one of the department's crowning achievements under his leadership is the opening of the Kress Events Center. Bothof was instrumental in making this magnificent facility a reality, serving on the University's Capital Campaign Committee, which raised over $11 million towards the nearly $33 million renovation and expansion of the Phoenix Sports Center. The facility, which opened in the fall of 2007, provides the athletics department with a new on-campus arena for its volleyball and women's basketball programs, a practice facility for men's basketball, new team rooms and locker rooms for five sport programs, and provides students with a new recreation and fitness center. The building is also home to new offices for administrative staff and coaches.
During the 2009-10 academic year, Bothof spearheaded the development of an outdoor facilities plan that includes new soccer and softball facilities for athletics as well as new recreational opportunities for intramurals and recreation. With the plan now complete, he is developing the fundraising plan to complete the new soccer facility as the first step in the overall plan.
The levels of Phoenix athletic have soared under Bothof's watch. Women's Basketball has won 11-straight women's basketball Horizon League titles and five first round NCAA Tournament games. The team made an unprecedented Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2011. Men's basketball had a nationally noteworthy turnaround with two straight 20 win seasons and consecutive post season appearances in 2009, 2010 and 2013. The list continues with first-time NCAA Division I tournament appearances for men's soccer, volleyball, and softball.
Bothof's tenure at Green Bay has included the successful hires of multiple head coaches. Bothof's hiring of Tod Kowalcyck to take over the men's basketball program in the Spring of 2002 led to back-to-back 20 win seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10, and consecutive back-to-back postseason berths for the first time since 1996. With the departure of Kowalczyk, his hiring of Brian Wardle as the head coach received national attention and has Green Bay focused on making it back to the NCAA Tournament.
Bothof's hiring of Matt Bollant as the women's basketball head coach in 2007 has led to unprecedented success. Bollant took over after the highly successful Kevin Borseth left to lead the Michigan Wolverines and the program has soared to new heights. The run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2011, along with three previous NCAA Division I first round victories, has Green Bay positioned as one of the top programs in the country. Bothof rehired Borseth prior to the 2012-13 season, and the program again won the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Men's soccer has also made a resurgence under Bothof's leadership. The hiring of Tom Poitras in 2004 led to Horizon League Championship game appearances in three of the last four seasons. The program also made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
Volleyball, softball and men's tennis have made their first appearances in the NCAA Tournament under Bothof's watch. Women's swimming won seven-straight Horizon League Championships (2005-11) and Nordic ski has enjoyed multiple successful NCAA appearances from skiers in the program.
Academic success has been the staple of the Phoenix program since Bothof's arrival. The department has achieved a 3.0 GPA, or better, in each of the last 28 semesters. UW-Green Bay is one of two schools in the Horizon League to be ranked in the top 100 in the NCSA Athletic Recruiting Collegiate Power Rankings, a ranking that accounts for academic and athletics success and student-athlete graduation rates. In 2012-13, 153 student-athletes were members of the Horizon League Honor Roll.
During his tenure, focus on scholarship and operational budgets has intensified. Under Bothof's watch, Phoenix Fund membership has grown from 150 members to over 800 and fundraising has increased dramatically. Ticket revenues and corporate sponsorships have both increased dramatically. Bothof also negotiated a five-year contract with Nelligan Sports Marketing for the further development of radio rights and corporate sponsorships.
Always one to look for new fundraising opportunities, Bothof has worked closely with alumni and community leaders to develop unique fundraising activities, including the Phoenix-Packers Steak Fry, the Phoenix Home Build Project, An Evening with Mike McCarthy, A Day with Sergio Garcia, the Taylor Made Pro-Am and the Phoenix Fund Annual Drive.
The athletics department is healthy and poised to lead the Horizon League. The success of Phoenix Athletics in recent years has secured greater prominence for UW-Green Bay nationwide in both athletics and academic circles.
Bothof maintains a clear presence in administration of the Horizon League and is very active in the Green Bay community. Bothof has served as the chair of the Horizon League Finance Committee, served as chair of the Horizon League Executive Committee for two years and also serves as the Horizon League representative to the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Executive Committee. Bothof is on the YMCA Board of Directors, is a member of the Downtown Green Bay Rotary Club, and is involved in various church activities. He is a frequent speaker on issues concerning sports administration and leadership, student-athlete welfare and gender equity.
Bothof has more than two decades of Division I athletics administration experience, having started his career in 1987 at San Jose State University while pursuing a master's degree in athletics administration. Bothof served as an Assistant Athletic Director at San Jose State for four years before moving on to Idaho State University, where he eventually became the Senior Associate Athletic Director. He then became the Associate Athletic Director for External Operations at Saint Louis University before taking over leadership of UW-Green Bay's athletics department.
Prior to his involvement in college athletics administration, Bothof obtained a bachelor's degree in education from Buena Vista University, where he was a member of both the baseball and basketball teams. The Slayton, Minn., native is married to Carrie and has two children, Tyson and Kendra.