COLUMBIA, Mo. — It didn’t take long for Jim Sterk to make a decision.
After being offered the position as the next athletic director at the University of Missouri, by interim Missouri chancellor Hank Foley, Sterk said Thursday that it only took a few minutes to decide.
“It wasn’t a long decision,” Sterk said at his introductory press conference on Thursday morning at Memorial Stadium. “He said don’t take long. And I think I maybe took 15 minutes, so Deb and I talked about it and we were ready to accept.”
Sterk, 60, takes the place of Mack Rhoades, who left a month earlier to become the athletic director at Baylor. Sterk has previously been the athletic director at Portland State, Washington State and most recently San Diego State.
“I’m very honored to be at Mizzou and become a Tiger,” Sterk said. “The University of Missouri is a destination for me and my family. The character of people and the passion that I felt the first time I met Chancellor Foley and then the advisory committee and then everyone as we’ve been here just the last couple days, it really sold me on this opportunity, that this was a very, very special place and for me people mean everything.”
The University announced on Tuesday that Sterk would become the school’s next athletic director and officially introduced him on Thursday before a crowd of supporters that included former AD Mike Alden, football coach Barry Odom, new baseball coach Steve Bieser, former football coach Gary Pinkel and many more members of the athletic department.
“As Chancellor Foley said, it’s a new day, it’s a new year of Mizzou athletics but in my time I will bring new ideas and new energy but I won’t forget what’s gone on in the past,” Sterk said. “This has been and continues to be a great institution both academically and athletically. I have a passion for that student-athlete experience and my focus and my staff’s focus will be in creating one of the best experiences in the country.”
Foley said the search to find the next athletic director started the day Rhoades informed the school he was leaving for Baylor.
It took a few weeks but the interim chancellor was pleased with the end result of the search with the hiring of Sterk, who was honored as the National Athletic Director of the Year for 2015-16 by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
“Finding just the right person was imperative at this juncture,” Foley said. “We used the time and talents of our advisory committee to help ensure this objective was realized. … I’m proud, really proud, to see that the quality of the candidate pool was impressive.”
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