“I am fortunate to have had a career in athletics for the past 31 years that has included almost two decades as an athletics director at the NCAA’s highest level. I have spent the past several months thinking about the next chapter of my life and have decided that the timing of this decision is right for the University, for Wolf Pack Athletics and for me personally,” said Groth, who is in her ninth year with the University of Nevada, Reno.
“We are entering a quality conference, we have a balanced budget, we have quality coaches with recent multi-year contracts in our revenue sports, our academic performance and graduation rates are at record-high levels and our fundraising efforts continue to help us move to the next level and sustain our long-term competitiveness,” said Groth. “It has been rewarding to be part of bringing the program to this point, along with our coaches, staff, student-athletes and fans.”
“I greatly appreciate Cary’s leadership, and I respect her decision,” said University President Marc Johnson. “Wolf Pack Athletics has moved forward and, while Cary is quick to credit the coaches, staff and students-athletes, she set the tone and direction for this growth. During Cary’s tenure as athletics director, Wolf Pack fans have seen progress in both the competitive success of our teams and the academic success of our student-athletes. Through these and other advancements, Cary has been instrumental in further establishing Wolf Pack Athletics as a highly regarded program, and putting the program in a position to join the Mountain West Conference this year.”
During Groth’s time as director of athletics, the Wolf Pack has enjoyed an era of program-wide success with all of Nevada’s teams participating in postseason play. The Wolf Pack captured 16 WAC Championships, including five men's basketball crowns (2005-08 and 2012), three women's swimming and diving titles (2007-09), three softball championships (2006, 2008-09), two football titles (2005 and 2010), and conference titles by women's soccer (2006), men's golf (2007) and baseball (2012).
The Wolf Pack athletics program also has been recognized for its accomplishments off the playing field. The program’s Graduation Success Rate for student-athletes has increased in each of the last seven years and is at its all-time high of 78 percent, while Wolf Pack teams have turned in eight consecutive years of penalty-free academic performance in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rates (APR) report. A total of 469 student-athletes graduated over the past seven years, including 103 in the 2011-12 academic year.
Nevada was listed as one of the top athletics departments in the nation in providing opportunities for women in sports for four consecutive years in the national Gender Equity Scorecard study, including two years as the country's best in 2006 and 2007. Nevada has also been recognized by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University for its accomplishments in the areas of diversity and was one of only 10 universities in the country to win the group's Diversity in Athletics Award in 2005-06.
Groth has been instrumental in working with donors who have generously contributed to the success of student athletes on and off the field. Gifts totaling more than $40 million have allowed for the completion of the state-of-the-art E.L. Cord Academic and Athletics Performance Complex, Roger B. Primm Sports Medicine and Strength Center, Marguerite Wattis Petersen Academic Center and Christina M. Hixson Softball Park, as well as renovations to the Nancy and Robert Cashell Football Center and men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms at Lawlor Events Center.
During Groth’s tenure, program revenues have increased in nearly every category, including season ticket revenue, sponsorships, royalties and licensing, and concessions. Groth initiated a successful, comprehensive sponsorship, television, radio and internet-rights partnership with Learfield Sports in the form of Wolf Pack Sports Properties, as well as an all-sports footwear and apparel contract for the University with Nike.
Prior to joining the University in March 2004, Groth spent more than 20 years at her alma mater, Northern Illinois University, including 10 years as director of athletics from 1994-2004. She was inducted into the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. She was recognized 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, and she served on the U.S. Department of Education's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics in 2002-03. She has been recognized locally for her leadership by the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada in 2008 and the Nevada Women's Fund in 2009.
“I know the community will join me in thanking Cary for her many significant contributions to our University and our region,” said Johnson. “She has been generous in her willingness to continue to support the program and provide continuity of leadership through this transition.”
“I look forward to leading the Wolf Pack in its first year in the Mountain West Conference and helping in any way I can to continue the legacy of Wolf Pack Athletics,” Groth said, who intends to stay involved in intercollegiate athletics on a national level following her retirement.
“I plan to stay in northern Nevada which will enable me to continue to support the Wolf Pack, a program for which I have great respect,” Groth said. “I also look forward to the opportunities I will have to work with my colleagues around the country.