"I'm certainly very honored to receive this award," said Alden. "We're working very hard at the University to run a first-class athletic program, and I feel this is an affirmation of the direction we're heading," he said.
Mizzou has excelled in all areas under Alden, who became the school's 15th athletic director in July of 1998. Since coming to MU, he has overseen a department that increased its operating budget from $13.7 million to its current record level of $40 million. Just a few of his achievements while at Mizzou include:
· Mizzou student-athletes have excelled in the classroom, as MU has led the Big 12 Conference in graduation rates twice in recent years – in 1999 (66%) and again in 2002 (72%)…
· Mizzou's competitive success as a broad-based program has reached new heights. Under Alden's direction, MU has achieved its two highest finishes in the annual NACDA Directors' Cup Standings in the last two years – 37th in 2002-03 and 46th in 2003-04. In the last five years of the standings, Mizzou has averaged a yearly finish of 47th – a stark improvement from the five years prior to Alden's arrival at MU (1993-94 through 1997-98), when MU's average yearly finish was 98th. In 2003-04, 16 of MU's 20 teams qualified for post-season competition.
· Mizzou has become a leader in athletic facility development on Alden's watch. The Sports Park at MU has grown significantly over the past several years, giving Tiger student-athletes first-class facilities in which to excel. He was a driving force behind the coming together of funding for the $75 million Paige Sports Arena – Mizzou's new basketball arena that will open next month and will be the finest on-campus basketball arena in the nation when finished.
· The visibility of Mizzou Athletics has improved dramatically under Alden's direction. Whether it is record numbers of games being telecast, or all 20 sports programs giving back to the community with various charitable events, or an outreach program that has seen Alden personally visit over 250 Missouri communities, people are aware of what is taking place at Mizzou like never before.
"I've followed Mike's career for quite awhile now and have a great amount of admiration for the job he does," said Dutch Baughman, Executive Director of the Division I Athletic Directors Association. "Mike is very highly respected in the industry, for his integrity in how he makes important decisions to how he manages the business side of things. I'm involved in virtually every AD job opening in the country, and it is no overstatement to say that almost every time a top-line opening comes about, Mike Alden's name is on the short list of those considered worthy of the job," Baughman said.
"Mike is very deserving of this recognition," said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Kevin Weiberg. "He is an outstanding athletic director who understands the difficult challenge of the athletic director role — balancing the critical business and financial needs of a major athletic department, while making sure that the enterprise fits within the educational mission of the university. Mike has provided great leadership at Missouri and we are glad that he is part of our Conference," said Weiberg.