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Alden and company visited towns all throughout southern-central Missouri.
Homecoming Parade. October 24. 2009. Columbia, Mo.
|Mizzou Athletic Director History|
|1911-18||Chester L. Brewer|
|1919-20||Dr. Walter E. Meanwell|
|1921-23||Zora G. Clevenger|
|1924-34||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, including three more league titles in 2013-14, few were as impactful as Missouri's transition into the Southeastern Conference in July 2012.
A former student-athlete, coach and 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 2014-15 Missouri begins its third season in the SEC and comes after 16-of-20 sport programs advanced to postseason play.
While Mizzou has maintained its competitive excellence since the move into the SEC, 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 17-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, volleyball, soccer, softball, baseball and wrestling, including three league titles last season alone.
In 2013-14, the Tigers added to their on-field success, earning an SEC East Division title in football and an unprecedented undefeated regular season and SEC championship in volleyball. The Tigers also won their second consecutive Mid-American Conference title in wrestling and crowned yet another national champion on the mat when true freshman J'den Cox, a Columbia native, became just the 14th wrestler to win a national title as a true freshman in the 84-year history of the sport.
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 and in fall 2014, Mizzou's Memorial Stadium will unveil a new east side tower that will redefine the city of Columbia's skyline.
|Longest Mizzou A.D. Tenures|
|Chester L. Brewer||17|
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 17 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), and that longevity is no small accomplishment considering the university 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 $85 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.
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 17 years with the program, Missouri is averaging 5.2 Top 25 finishes 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 Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, True North, the United Way, Salvation Army, Nora Stewart Early Learning Center, the Office of Cultural Affairs (arts in the community) 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, who attends Purdue University.
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