UMass Amherst names Robert Goodhue interim athletic director, appoints search committee for permanent post

Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2015

AMHERST — UMass announced Thursday an interim athletic director and the appointment of a search committee to find a permanent replacement for John McCutcheon, who will leave in two weeks for the same job at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Robert M. Goodhue, the chief operating officer and general counsel for the University of Massachusetts Foundation, will be the interim athletic director. Goodhue, a UMass alumnus, has long been an active supporter of university athletics and a visible face at sporting events. His son Reed graduated from UMass last year after serving as the backup goalie on the men’s lacrosse team.

Goodhue and football coach Mark Whipple founded Friends of UMass Football in 2002. Goodhue currently serves on the UMass Athletic Council and Hall of Fame committee.

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Goodhue both issued statements through the university.

“We are most fortunate to have Bob Goodhue, a skilled and caring champion of UMass Amherst, ready to guide the department through this transition. A double alumnus, Bob has a lifelong commitment to the university and a most impressive record of service,” Subbaswamy said. “I am delighted that he has agreed to take on yet another role for the good of the athletic department and the university.”

In his statement, Goodhue said, “I am humbled to have the honor even for a short time to lead this department filled with great student-athletes, coaches and staff. I am a lifelong Minuteman and will devote all my energies to ensuring that the department is running smoothly when the new permanent director comes aboard.

“I thank Chancellor Subbaswamy for his confidence in me and wish John and Sue McCutcheon and their family nothing but the best as they head to the Golden West,” he added. “Go UMass!”

UCSB announced Jan. 29 that it had hired McCutcheon, 61, who will leave UMass Feb. 20 after 11 years as athletic director.

It is unclear whether Goodhue, who lives in Topsfield, will be based in Amherst during the search for a permanent athletic director. He will be aided by associate chancellor Susan Pearson, who will serve as the interim deputy athletic director, a temporary position created during for this transition. Pearson was the co-chairwoman of the search committees that hired McCutcheon and former athletic director Ian McCaw.

Two John Kennedys will be heavily involved on the latest 13-member search committee. Vice chancellor John Kennedy is the chairman while prominent donor John Francis Kennedy, for whom the new basketball practice facility is named, is also on the committee.

The committee includes one coach – Carla Tagliente who leads the field hockey team – and two athletes, football quarterback Blake Frohnapfel and tennis player Chanel Glasper.

Joan Hopkins, the associate athletic director for academic support services and senior women’s administrator, and Rebecca Spencer, the faculty athletic representative to the NCAA and a member of the Faculty Senate’s athletic council, are the only members currently working in athletic administration.

They will be joined by James Julian, executive vice president of the UMass system; Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life; Chris Crooker, assistant vice chancellor for development; Christine McCormick, dean of the college of education. In addition to John Francis Kennedy, Jim Hunt and Rodney Byrd are active boosters on the committee.

Subbaswamy said Saturday, during an interview at halftime of the UMass men’s basketball game at Saint Louis, that the committee will be aided by a yet-to-be-hired search firm. The committee will screen candidates and make recommendations to Subbaswamy. He said he hopes the process would last no more than four to six weeks.

Subbaswamy, Goodhue and vice chancellor John Kennedy were not available for comment Thursday.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at


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