Athletics Director Karlgaard to leave Rice this summer

Joe Karlgaard

President Reginald DesRoches sent the following message to the Rice community in an email June 20:

Joe Karlgaard
Joe Karlgaard, director of athletics, recreation and lifetime fitness, will be leaving Rice Aug. 1 to become CEO of GSV Summit LLC.

Dear Rice community,

I hope everyone had a good Juneteenth holiday.

Athletics is a cornerstone of the student and alumni experience at Rice and enriches our campus in wonderful and vital ways.

As director of athletics, recreation and lifetime fitness since the fall of 2013, Joe Karlgaard has led and benefited our athletics programs across several periods of exceptional growth and challenge, including, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Joe is also a thoughtful, inspiring, empathetic and incredibly decent person. Because of those qualities, he has served as a trusted adviser to our former president, David Leebron, and me.

With gratitude for his many contributions to Rice, I share with you today that Joe will be leaving Rice Aug. 1 to become CEO of GSV Summit LLC, whose mission is to ensure everyone across the globe has an equal opportunity to participate in the future through scaled innovation in learning and skills. This is a remarkable opportunity, and I ask you to join me in congratulating Joe on this new endeavor and celebrating his service to the Rice community and our extraordinary athletes, coaches and staff.

Since his arrival on South Main, Joe has overseen a dramatic reshaping of Rice Athletics, providing upgrades to all facets of the student-athlete experience focused on dynamic initiatives in business operations, branding, marketing and fundraising.

During his tenure, the Owls have captured 30 Conference USA titles, the most in the league over that span. Rice student-athletes continue to lead the way in the classroom as well, capturing their 14th C-USA Institutional Excellence Award with a combined 3.4 GPA.

Joe has also facilitated the addition of new facilities at Rice Stadium, Reckling Park and Tudor Fieldhouse, as well as a new human performance center and three head coaching endowments.

These initiatives helped position Rice to be one of six schools invited to join the American Athletic Conference beginning with the 2023-24 season, opening up opportunities to improve the visibility and competitiveness of Owl sports programs for years to come.

We will soon be launching a national search for our new athletics director and will provide an update on that and the interim leadership of the department in the next month.

Again, our sincere thanks to Joe from the entire Rice Owls community, and our best wishes to him for the many successes his new opportunities will bring him.

Best regards,

Reginald DesRoches