Bill Goldring guided Ashland University's athletic department into the 21st century – and an unprecedented period of success.
Goldring, who was AU's Director of Athletics from 1998-2014, will be inducted into Ashland's Hall of Fame on Oct. 12. Given all of the accomplishments of the Eagle athletic department during more than a decade and a half of Goldring's guidance, it's no surprise:
- Seven straight top-10 NCAA Division II Directors' Cup finishes from 2008-14.
- The first D-II team national championship (women's basketball, 2012-13) in Ashland athletics history.
- 68 NCAA postseason appearances and 14 regional championships.
- Played host to NCAA Championships in softball, wrestling, swimming and diving, and men's and women's cross country.
- Added women's tennis and women's golf, built the Dwight Schar Athletic Complex and renovated Kates Gymnasium.
"I think the first thing was that we had some talented and dedicated people, but they weren't all going in the same direction," Goldring said about the beginning of his Ashland tenure. "And so once we got that going, that we were all on the same team and pulling for everybody, I think that made a big difference for the opportunity for success across the board. Our facilities went from worst to first. Our facilities were substandard compared to our competition. A lot of the talented coaches and staff were in place before we got the quality facilities.
"All that stuff has to go in the same direction and work the same way, and it worked."
"Bill was a leader not just at Ashland University but within the GLIAC, the region and on the national level," said Ashland Director of Athletics Al King, who worked under Goldring as Assistant Athletic Director of Media Relations. "Bill's personality was unbelievable, he had a knack for connecting with people from all levels and getting them to laugh, smile and feel good about themselves. Bill was blessed with the ability to think differently, to look at things differently and he believed that he could help lift Ashland to a different level. The record shows that he did that.
"Take whatever area of the job you choose, Bill made a major impact at Ashland. He added sports and he hired terrific coaches. He found ways to increase resources which in turn helped our sports be more successful. A number of sports flourished under Bill, we weren't a one-trick pony. Sports that at times were wandering in the wilderness grew up and thrived under Bill's guidance. During Bill's tenure our facilities got better, our name was spread across the nation and the feeling began that we could compete with anyone, anywhere."
Those two sports Ashland added under Goldring, women's golf and women's tennis, became NCAA postseason-caliber programs. Eagle women's golf made the regional tournament 10 years in a row (2009-18) and has earned three NCAA D-II Championship appearances as a team (2011, 2013 and 2015), while AU women's tennis went to the NCAA D-II Championships every year from 2008-10.
"I always believed that if you were going to have a sport," Goldring said, "the only way you do that is you have an opportunity to be successful in that sport."
For his efforts, Goldring twice was named D-II Northeast Region athletic director of the year, and in the classroom, 27 Eagles earned Academic All-American honors while he was athletic director.
"In every single meeting to our coaches and staff, is the core of what we are about is the student-athlete, and we had expectations of them, and they had expectations of us," Goldring said. "There was no reason why we couldn't be successful. A young student is supposed to grow academically, physically and socially. I think there's a lot of accountability on all those things in what makes an athletic department successful.
"The interesting thing about that, and the coaches would tell you this, is I never talked about winning. I hired winners, people who could win the right way. The other thing is to have a culture of success. And if you build all those things the right way, the winning would take care of itself. Of course, we all wanted to win, but I thought there was a way we could do it at our institution."
King, who took over for Goldring following his retirement, has kept the Ashland athletics success going, including two top-10 Directors' Cup placements and three D-II team national championships.
"On a personal level, I've taken a great deal from Bill," King said. "The talks we had still resonate with me today – we discussed a lot of ideas, challenges within the industry and ways to make life better for student-athletes. I was fortunate to spend a long time in the office next to him. That's something I will always treasure."
Goldring said he doesn't miss the day-to-day aspects of the job, but he misses a lot of people – many of which he will get a chance to see at the Hall of Fame induction in the Faculty Room at the John C. Myers Convocation Center.
"Getting the opportunity to see people and have my whole family there, that's important to me at this stage of my life," said Goldring. "I try to be in a position to see them or talk to them from time to time. That will be fun.
"I always thought Homecoming and the Hall of Fame was one of the highlights of the year, and I was fortunate to oversee that for 16 years. To be on the other end of it, it's really humbling and gratifying."