Director of Athletics Cary Groth
In her seventh year at the helm of the Wolf Pack program, Director of Athletics Cary Groth has firmly established her philosophy for the path of Nevada athletics, and that philosophy is paying off in terms of unprecedented success on and off the field of competition.
The crown jewel in Groth's Wolf Pack tenure came at the end of the 2006-07 season when Nevada won the WAC’s Commissioner's Cup as the best overall athletics department in the conference for the first time in school history. Nevada has also finished second in the Commissioner’s Cup standings twice under Groth’s watch, including in 2008-09 when the Wolf Pack missed winning the title by less than one point.
Groth's athletics department also has been recognized for its accomplishments off the playing field. Nevada was listed as one of the top 10 athletics department in the nation in providing opportunities for women in sports in each of the four years of the national Gender Equity Scorecard study, including two years as the country’s best in 2006 and 2007. Nevada also was one of only 10 universities in the country to win a Diversity in Athletics Award from the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University in 2005-06 and was honored by that organization the following year.
Nevada’s Graduation Success Rate has been at its all-time high for each of the last two years, climbing to a school-record 73 percent this year, and the Wolf Pack has seen 297 of its student-athletes graduate in the past four years, including 79 in the 2009-10 academic year.
Groth also paved the way for the E.L. Cord Academic and Athletics Performance Complex, a 46,000-plus-square-foot facility which provides Nevada's student-athletes with top-notch resources. That project included renovations to Cashell Fieldhouse, including new locker rooms, as well as completion of the state-of-the art Roger B. Primm Sports Medicine and Strength Center and Marguerite Wattis Petersen Academic Center, which opened in the spring of 2008.
During her first months at Nevada in the spring of 2004, Groth made her first hire when men's basketball coach Trent Johnson took the vacant head job at Stanford. Groth stepped up and hired Johnson's top assistant, Mark Fox, who led the team to four WAC championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances in his five years at the helm. She was instrumental in initiating the first comprehensive University of Nevada Sports Network inclusive of television, radio and internet rights and helped craft an all-sports footwear and apparel contract for the university, now with Nike.
In addition to strengthening the department from the inside, Groth has worked to connect with the rest of the university as well as the Reno community. She is working diligently to bring the athletics department and the university together to achieve common goals.
Prior to her arrival on the Nevada campus in March of 2004, Groth's professional career was marked by decades of excellence. As the director of athletics at her alma mater, Northern Illinois University, Groth initiated and coordinated a complete renovation of the athletic department during her tenure from 1994-2004. Before earning that opportunity, Groth earned her stripes as an athletic administrator at the same institution for another full 10-year cycle. By the time of her departure, Groth's department had captured national recognition in several sports. Her own professional profile has risen nationally in the same fashion through dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to doing things the right way.
That tenacious persistence allowed Groth to take a Northern Illinois football program in disarray and establish a nationally ranked contender. During those building years, the program suffered through a 23-game losing streak. Ultimately, Groth's belief in NIU head coach Joe Novak resulted in a No. 12 national ranking in 2003. Additionally, football ticket sales quadrupled, and the school was recognized by the NCAA for its astonishing attendance growth.
Groth has been recognized and honored extensively throughout her career. She was named to the "Super 50: Women's Sports Executives" in Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal in 1998. National accolades have been awarded to her from several organizations, including recognition in 2003 as the National Association of Collegiate Women's Athletic Administrators Division I Administrator of the Year and the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association Administrator of the Year. Groth was selected and served on the Department of Education's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics in 2002-03. She has also been honored by her alma mater and is being inducted into the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.
Honors aside, Groth's daily commitment to her profession can be summed up in her own words.
"My goal is for student-athletes to have a quality experience in every way during their college careers and to leave the University of Nevada with a degree. My responsibility is to ensure that we give our student-athletes all of the resources they need to fulfill that commitment."