Athletics is still part of the dinnertime conversation at the Gould household, even if Teresa Gould is the UC Davis interim athletic director and husband Ron is the Aggies’ third-year football coach.
“Ron has been doing this 30 years, and I’ve been doing it for 25 years, so college athletics has been our whole life,” Teresa Gould said. “This is what we talk about all the time. But I think we are more sensitive than ever about setting confidentiality boundaries. There are times when Ron may want to talk about something, and I’ll say, ‘I’m not going to have that conversation.’”
Teresa Gould agreed to become UCD’s acting athletic director when chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced April 7 the immediate resignation of three-year AD Terry Tumey.
But Teresa Gould’s hiring came with a restriction. She would not oversee the football program.
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Instead, associate athletic director Josh Flushman is in charge of football and reports directly to Katehi. Teresa Gould said she insisted on that move to avoid any appearances of a conflict of interest.
“I think that we have a model that will work on an interim basis,” Teresa Gould said. “It would not be an ideal model long term, and I say that because any athletic director has to have a prominent role in setting the strategic direction for the football program.”
It’s a little different than the arrangement they had during their tenures at Cal, where Teresa Gould was the second in command to then-AD Sandy Barbour and Ron was the associate head coach.
“We’ve been down this road before,” Teresa Gould said. “I had a ton of influence over football and was involved in all the day-to-day decision making outside of personnel related to him. So we’ve juggled this before.”
Teresa Gould said she still will be involved in discussions involving UCD football because of equity, philosophical, fundraising and budgeting issues.
“I can’t have Josh over here in a silo making those decisions and having those discussions that I’m not a part of,” she said. “That actually undermines what we are trying to accomplish. I’ll certainly be involved in those conversations but won’t be a decision maker. I’ll give my 2 cents worth, then leave it up to Josh and the chancellor to make decisions on anything substantial.”
Gould said that while she is not a candidate to be the permanent AD, she will stay in the position as long as it takes for Katehi to find a replacement.
Katehi has indicated she would like to have someone in the position by early fall, but Gould noted Cal searched for an AD for 10 months since Barbour, now the Penn State AD, left Berkeley.
Despite her interim status, Gould hopes to put her imprint on the department.
Among her biggest priorities are to re-organize the athletic department “to work a little smarter, be a bit more efficient.” She also hopes to fill the dozen or so openings in the department, including the key senior woman administrator and athletics development officer positions.
“I want to hire the most talented, mission-driven management team I can find,” she said. “I want to make sure whatever athletic director comes in here inherits a senior leadership team that is up to the challenge of continuing to take this department to the next level.”
She said that while UCD has had athletic success in several sports, “we haven’t arrived yet” as far as the transition from Division II to Division I.
“It’s a constantly changing and morphing industry, and we have to continue to evaluate where it is that we’re falling short, whether it’s resources, whether it’s infrastructure, so we can provide the optimal conditions for our athletes to succeed,” she said.
She added that on her watch there will be “no wavering on academic standards” for athletes because “that’s what makes us special.”
“We’re doing it the right way,” she said. “I don’t think academics are constraints (to winning). They are positives.”
Gould said “she cried and cried and cried” when she stepped down after a 13-year career at Cal. She and Ron moved from Pleasant Hill to Davis last summer and decided not to commute to Berkeley.
“At the end of the day, we knew he had to live in Davis,” she said. “We knew with Ron’s profile, it was important for him to be entrenched in this community and be visible and be accessible to his student-athletes.”
She became the associate executive director and chief revenue officer of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association last July. She stepped down from that position Friday.
“College athletics is my passion,” she said. “I am a junkie. I love it. I believe in it. My first three to six months away from it, I had a hard time. I just missed the energy of the student-athletes.”
But being on the UCD campus daily gave her a chance to network and observe.
“I’ve been watching it from afar,” she said. “This place is a gem. There is a real opportunity for this to be something really special.”
Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.