Kansas AD Travis Goff talks Memorial Stadium renovations, Allen Fieldhouse and more

Gary Bedore/gbedore@kcstar.com

Kansas athletic director Travis Goff has heard the concerns about Wi-Fi issues at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

He’s committed to fixing that issue — among others concerning the stadium and adjacent Anderson Family Football Complex. That much was clear as Goff spoke with The Star in a Twitter Spaces Q&A Wednesday evening.

That stadium commitment goes hand-in-hand with KU football coach Lance Leipold, who signed a new contract extension last November that will keep him in Lawrence through the 2029 season.

One of the provisions in Leipold’s contract? KU must make “meaningful and substantial progress toward renovating” the stadium and/or football complex by Dec. 15, 2023, or Leipold could get out of his contract while the buyout is waived.

For Goff, who sees himself as being aligned with Leipold, that means beginning meaningful renovations that can benefit the team both now and in the future.

“We really had a commitment to making sure there was something tangible to demonstrate (to) our current program, our current team,” Goff told The Star, “what can we do in the Spring and Summer of ‘23 so our guys have the chance to feel that investment and feel that commitment when they get here for July or August (to) report for camp.”

Goff says KU is committed to renovating the Anderson Family Football Complex to help facilitate the team’s development off the field.

“It’s been a great facility since it was built and open, but certainly there needs to be modernization; there need to be upgrades and the total evaluation of the efficiency of Anderson,” Goff said.

Due to its location, Goff hopes to integrate the complex into the stadium’s renovations.

According to Goff, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the 11th and Mississippi gateway have made great progress. Goff plans to share a more precise visual representation of improvements with both facilities at a later time this year.

One thing he has committed to: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium will still serve as the site for KU’s seven home games in 2023 ... and continue to do so moving forward.

“You have to navigate whole aspects with procurement of material, of the construction process,” Goff said. “In our case, … I’m not interested in picking up and moving this football team and football program to a different site to play a season or seasons, so to speak.

“I think it’s really disruptive to the guys and it gets really disruptive to the building of Kansas football. So for us, that means where we are going to have to sequence the construction. We are going to have to find a way to play through it.”

Goff also shared a recent conversation with Leipold and the project team for the Anderson Family Football Complex renovations.

“What I was starting to see take shape is an operations building and complex that can rival just about anything out there,” Goff said. “The facility aspects will be world-class and the location in combination (with) that means this will be something ... that will rival anything in the country.”

Allen Fieldhouse renovations

David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium isn’t the only major KU athletics venue perhaps in need of an upgrade. The historic Allen Fieldhouse is also due to receive some improvements.

Goff’s main concern is finding the balance between modernization and preserving what makes the historic venue special.

“We made sure we are looking at it from ... a 2030, 2040 kind of lens, if you will — what should be the future of Allen Fieldhouse if you fast-forward 20, 25, 30 years down the road,” Goff said. “I think that’s exciting to think about.

“The challenge and the opportunity, of course, is how do we retain the incredible character, history and tradition of Allen Fieldhouse while making it a better fan experience? I am confident we are going to find the right balance there.”

KU doesn’t plan on waiting around for renovations at Allen Fieldhouse.

“To us right now, with the energy and the momentum, the answer is you’ve got to do both,” Goff said, referencing renovations for Allen Fieldhouse and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. “You can’t wait for one to have the deck cleared to go into a second.

“We are trying to go through the complexities of what’s a really significant investment in our two really premier capital projects. We’re not cutting corners. We’re making sure we do it right.”

Goff is constantly evaluating what can be done to add to Allen Fieldhouse.

“It’s an amazing building; there’s no more history-rich venue in the country,” Goff said. “We’ve got to be honest about it, too. What makes Allen Fieldhouse special? It’s the teams that have come through here and performed at the level they’ve performed.

“The coaches that have built the most tradition-rich basketball team in the country and, of course, its 16,000-plus people night in and night out. That’s a pretty good formula for the best sports venue in the country. If you allow yourself, you can get comfortable with those ‘knowns.’ ... You can kind of gloss over, ‘Well, do we need to invest in the actual facility? Do we need to think about what the future looks like?’”