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Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard leaving Rice in July

Carrie Jiang / Thresher

By Riya Misra     6/20/23 3:25pm

Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard will be leaving Rice at the end of July, according to an email sent by President Reggie DesRoches on June 20. Karlgaard will assume a new position as CEO of GSV Summit LLC, a privately-owned investment company.

“Joe Karlgaard has led and benefited our athletics programs across several periods of exceptional growth and challenge, including, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic,” DesRoches wrote.

Karlgaard previously worked in athletics both at Oberlin College and his alma mater, Stanford University. He joined Rice in October 2013, citing Rice as a happy medium between his previous two employers. 

Less than a year into his tenure, Karlgaard released a four-point "Vision for Rice Athletics" strategy, according to a December 2014 article in the Thresher. His approach highlighted athletic competition, academic prowess, post-graduate achievement, increased fundraising and improved facilities

DesRoches said that Karlgaard has accomplished many of these goals in his nearly decade-long tenure, overseeing Rice Athletics’ adaptations in the face of COVID-19 and facilitating its shift to the American Athletic Conference in 2023.

"Since his arrival on South Main, Joe has overseen a dramatic reshaping of Rice Athletics, providing upgrades to all facets of the student-athlete experience focused on dynamic initiatives in business operations, branding, marketing and fundraising," DesRoches said.

Karlgaard has also overseen a number of coaching changes over the years. He hired football coach Mike Bloomgreen in 2017, and a year later he refused to renew baseball coach Wayne Graham’s contract after a 27-year long tenure.

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