With rumors swirling about movement on the athletic director front for Baylor, several names came into focus. The first was Virginia Tech's Whit Babcock, but that was shot down later in the day.
The second real name would be the one though as Baylor is reportedly hiring Missouri's Mack Rhoades as their new athletic director. Rhoades has spent the last year in Missouri, taking over a reeling program. Before that, Rhoades was instrumental in the rebuild at University of Houston, where he was charged with upgrading facilities and improving the football team.
Rhoades did both, with the construction of TDECU Stadium, a $128 million on campus facility that seats 40,000. Rhoades also was a key figure in the hiring of current Cougar head coach Tom Herman who went 13-1 last year and took Houston to the Peach Bowl where they defeated Florida State.
During Rhoades tenure at Houston, he oversaw 17 athletic programs and brought the Cougars to the new American Athletic Conference in 2013-14. Rhoades also was the athletic director for Akron from 2006-2009.
Rhoads takes over for Ian McCaw, who resigned from Baylor in May. His first big responsibility will come later in 2016 as the Bears will be looking for a new football coach. An official announcement is expected later Wednesday.
EDIT - It is now official. Baylor University has announced Mack Rhoades as their new Athletic Director. From the Release:
July 13, 2016
WACO, Texas (July 13, 2016) -- Following a national search, Baylor University Interim President David E. Garland today announced the appointment of Mack Rhoades as Vice President and Director of Athletics. Rhoades comes to Baylor after serving since April 2015 as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for the University of Missouri where he oversaw the university's 20 intercollegiate athletics programs, 300 employees, 550 student-athletes and an annual operating budget of $92 million. The University of Missouri is a part of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
"Baylor University is very pleased to welcome Mack Rhoades as Baylor University's Vice President and Director of Athletics," said interim president David Garland. "He is a charismatic leader who pays careful attention to details and cultivates solidarity among the coaches and staff. He intends to build champions on the field and on the court and to mold student-athletes into champions in their lives after sports. Most importantly, he is committed to and excited by Baylor's Christian mission and vision."
Rhoades' tenure at the University of Missouri is marked with a focus on preparing student-athletes to be men and women of character who are successful inside the classroom as well as in their areas of athletic competition. In addition to managing key coaching hires such as head football coach Barry Odom, actively engaging donors in the vision for the programs, and leading efforts to reignite the excitement of Mizzou alumni and fans, Rhoades' success at Missouri includes student-athletes posting the highest cumulative grade-point average in school history and the recognition of Missouri football as one of 15 programs honored by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) for graduating at least 90 percent of student-athletes since 2008. Only three SEC programs were recognized by the organization this year.
"The past year has taught me a great deal about who I am as a person and as a leader. I am very grateful to the people I've worked with and come to know throughout the state of Missouri. The experience has helped galvanize a commitment to my core values and to the values I want to infuse into an athletics program," said Rhoades. "I look forward to the opportunity to join Baylor University at this important time in its history. I am excited to support and develop programs of the highest caliber, in facilities that are second to none, alongside coaches who are among the best in the industry, all grounded in a Christian tradition and committed to academic excellence."
Prior to joining the University of Missouri, Rhoades served as vice president for athletics at the University of Houston where he led the resurgence of the Houston program for almost six years. While at the helm in Houston from August 2009 to March 2015, Houston's football team appeared in four bowl games and enjoyed a historic 2011 campaign which saw the Cougars climb to No. 6 in the BCS standings en route to a 13-1 record and its first season-ending finish in The Associated Press Top 25 since 1990. Rhoades led the university's efforts to raise nearly $100 million for athletics and build numerous facilities including a new on-campus football stadium and a men's and women's basketball development center. In addition, Rhoades made student-athlete education and success a priority during his tenure in Houston.
From 2005-2009 Rhoades served as athletic director for the University of Akron, a member of the Mid-American Conference. During his tenure, Akron achieved unprecedented success on and off the field. Akron student-athletes earned: 765 total Dean's List honors, 213 All-Conference honors, 83 Academic All-Conference awards, 20 team championships, 14 Conference Player of the Year awards and 12 All-America honors. Akron men's basketball won its first Division I Post-season game in the NIT, after posting the best winning record in a season in school history. The football team won its first MAC championship and first berth in a Division I bowl game; women's cross-country and men's soccer also won MAC championships.
Rhoades has also served in athletics department roles at University of Texas El Paso, Marquette and Yale University.
A native of Tucson, Arizona, Rhoades is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in health sciences. He earned a masters degree in athletics administration/sports management from Indiana University. He and his wife Amy have three daughters: Nicolette, Natalie and Noelle.
Mack Rhoades will be introduced to the media at a press conference on Monday, July 18. Details to follow.
1996: Yale (marketing assistant)
1997-1998: Marquette (advancement)
1998-2006: UTEP (exec. sr. accoc. AD)
2006-2009: Akron (Athletic Director)
2009-2014: Houston (Athletic Director)
2015-2016: Missouri (Athletic Director)