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'I’ve literally put in half of my life here': Gonzaga AD Mike Roth ready for retirement

Roth will officially step down after nearly 35 years at Gonzaga on Aug. 31.

SPOKANE, Wash. — There were a lot of emotions for Mike Roth on Tuesday at his retirement press conference, but there was one prevailing one: Happiness.

"It feels great. I’ll be really honest with you," said Roth of retiring. "Our future is great and that makes me feel so good when I’ve literally put in half of my life here."

Gonzaga announced on Tuesday that deputy AD, Gonzaga alum, and Spokane native Chris Standiford will take over as Athletic Director once Roth steps down. 

Originally, if Roth had his way, he would’ve retired sooner as he went to Thayne McCulloh in January of 2020—before the pandemic started—and said he was ready to move on.

"I’m really happy that Dr. McCulloh had that crystal ball and talked me into staying. Now I’m happy to be able to step away and just go and be Mike Roth, instead of being Mike Roth, the athletic director," he said.

Roth is going out on a high note, in arguably Gonzaga’s most successful athletic year to date. 

When asked if this was Gonzaga’s best year athletically, Roth said every year is the best year.

"It’s rarely just about the wins. It’s about the young people that we get to see succeed and be ready to move on to what that next phase is," Roth reflected.

He will stick around for a few years with Gonzaga Athletics in a new role supporting programs and growing the program as a whole. He still though was reflective on Tuesday on his last nearly 35 years within GU.

"I am so thankful to so many people. I can’t thank ‘em all. Well, I can thank them all, but we might be here for a couple hours. That’s the message. It’s just gratitude. If what I did as athletic director had a positive impact on even just one person, I was successful, and hopefully it’s more than just one. It wasn’t because I was trying to make an impact as much as I was just trying to do the right thing," said Roth.