Homecoming Parade. October 24. 2009.
Mizzou Athletic Director History
Chester L. Brewer
Dr. Walter E. Meanwell
Zora G. Clevenger
Chester L. Brewer
Mike Alden has been at the helm of Missouri athletics since 1998 and it's no shock his tenure has produced the most comprehensive run of athletic and academic success in school history.
History-making landmarks have occurred each year under Alden's watch and while each event has been significant, few were as impactful as Missouri's transition into the Southeastern Conference in July 2012.
A former student-athlete, coach and current President of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics with family roots in Central Missouri, Alden has always understood the importance of Mizzou to the entire state of Missouri and helped usher in a new era with that move to the SEC, which has resulted in record-breaking facility growth, ticket sales and fan/alumni interest.
In 2013-14 Missouri begins its second season in the SEC and comes after 14-of-20 sport programs advanced to NCAA postseason play. While Mizzou maintained its competitive excellence in its first season in the Southeastern Conference, Tiger student-athletes continued to soar in the classroom ranking among Southeastern Conference leaders in both Graduation Success Rates and Academic Progress Rates.
That surge is a stark contrast from how Missouri looked prior to Alden's arrival in 1998. When the West Chicago, Ill., native took charge Mizzou ranked near the bottom of the league in on-field success, facility development and fund-raising. Since beginning his 16-year stint in Columbia however, Alden has seen several programs rise to the level of national championship contenders, highlighted by conference championships in football, men's basketball, soccer, softball, baseball and wrestling, including three league titles in 2011-12.
Last season the Tiger Wrestling squad won its first Mid-American Conference crown and the Tiger Softball team battled to the championship game of the SEC Tournament and advanced to NCAA Super Regional action for the sixth consecutive year. In addition, Mizzou's Women's Basketball program advanced to postseason play for the first time since 2007 and Mizzou Basketball, one of college basketball's winningest programs over the past five seasons, now owns the longest active NCAA Tournament streak in the SEC.
Longest Mizzou A.D. Tenures
Chester L. Brewer
While conference affiliation fueled uncertainty for many institutions, Alden and his staff helped secure the second largest donation in the history of the University of Missouri, a $30 million gift in 2012 courtesy of the Kansas City Sports Trust, kick-starting an incredible $200 million facility improvement plan. The support and growth didn't stop there. In 2013 Alden and his team also cultivated singular donations of $6.4M and
$8.3M to continue moving Missouri Athletics into the next phase of its facility-growth plan and the aggressive recruitment of supporters has the plan impacting nearly all of Missouri's 20 varsity sports teams, including a renovation to Memorial Stadium, which will make the home of Tiger Football one of the finest in America. Through capital campaign efforts, Alden has overseen over $265 million in private gifts for Tiger Athletics.
Competitive excellence and facility growth just begins to tell the story of Alden's impact at Mizzou. Named the NACDA Athletics Director of the Year in 2008, Alden has developed into one of the nation's most revered administrators during his time in Columbia. His 16 consecutive years at the helm of Mizzou Athletics is the second-longest run in school history, behind only the 20 consecutive served by Don Faurot (1946-66). While Alden is third overall in career tenure as athletics director at MU, his longevity is no small accomplishment for a university that had five athletics directors in an eight year stretch.
Alden has incorporated three core values into the mission of intercollegiate athletics at Missouri. The mission statement of "Preparing Champions for Life through Academic Integrity, Social Responsibility and Competitive Excellence" has guided Missouri in becoming one of America's most well-regarded and visible athletics programs.
Last season Missouri ranked No. 2 in the SEC in Graduation and Academic Progress Rates, while the overall health of MU's athletics programs is at an all-time high. Each year Missouri is able to tout the impressive classroom performances of its student-athletes and annually receives academic recognition from the NCAA.
Socially, Missouri student-athletes have seen tremendous growth, from coach and student-athlete involvement with Big Brothers-Big Sisters and The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, to local children's hospitals and Habitat for Humanity. Missouri Athletics not only makes an impact on the playing fields, but in the lives of the community it serves. In addition, Mizzou Athletics is heavily involved in the United Way and prides itself on having 100% involvement from its department each fall.
Alden's legacy will transcend his program's consistent success in the classroom, socially and in competition. Upon his appointment as Director of Athletics in 1998, Missouri faced an uncertain future as it entered the Big 12 Conference era. Competing with an annual budget of just $13.7 million at the time of his arrival, Alden has grown Missouri's operating fortunes to a record $74 million and has added state-of-the art facilities and amenities at nearly every venue in the Sports Park at Mizzou. Overall, Alden has helped lead a record $233.2 million facility resurgence for MU athletics since his arrival and Mizzou is currently in the midst of a new $200 million facility project following the 2012 move into the SEC.
It's that consistency under Alden's watch which has changed the profile of the department nationally. Prior to his arrival, the single-season school record for Top 25 team finishes at NCAA Championship competition was just three. Now, through his 15 years with the program, Missouri is averaging 5.2 Top 25 finishes (78 total) and has relined the trophy cases with league championships, NCAA postseason success and All-America award winners.
Highly regarded by his peers, Alden's success at Missouri has earned him national notoriety amongst the NCAA hierarchy. He has helped to drive policy that has not only shaped the current landscape of intercollegiate athletics, but has paved the way for the future growth of college sports as a whole.
A few of Alden's NCAA leadership committees include:
NCAA Leadership Council (Past Chair)
National Association of College Directors of Athletics (President)
Division I Athletic Directors Association Board of Directors (Past President)
NCAA Management Council
NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet
NCAA Oversight and Monitoring Group
Alden and his family have also been heavily involved in the Columbia community, working with local figures to help improve the lives of area residents through their involvement with the Alzheimer's Association, The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri , True North, the United Way, Salvation Army, Nora Stewart Early Learning Center and the Commerce Bank Board of Directors. Alden has also personally raised more than $100,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Alden holds strong ties to central Missouri. His family tree has been rooted on his family farm in Williamsburg, Mo., some 35 miles east of Columbia. His mother lives in Williamsburg, while his brother (John) is a physician in Lamar, Mo. (Barton County). Several relatives reside in and around Columbia and Kansas City. His uncle, Jack, was a pipefitter in the building of the Hearnes Center and his cousin, Todd, was a pipefitter in the construction of both Mizzou Arena and the Devine Pavilion.
Alden and his wife, Roxanne (Rockie), have a son, Jake (18) who is a freshman at Purdue University.