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 recent transition into the Southeastern Conference in July 2012.
A former student-athlete, coach and current 1st Vice President of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) with family roots in Central Missouri, Alden has always understood the importance of Mizzou to the entire State of Missouri.
On May 22, 2011, when a deadly tornado rocked Southwest Missouri, Alden and University leaders helped spearhead an effort from the Mizzou campus to assist those afflicted by one the deadliest natural disasters our country had ever seen. From supply and manpower assistance to financial and emotional support, Mizzou, in cooperation with the United Way and Red Cross, was quick to respond showing the nation what it meant to be One Mizzou.
That unified front built by Alden and Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton was once again put on display later that year when the school made its historic move to the Southeastern Conference. A longtime member of Midwestern-based conferences, the MU administration was not quick to dismiss more than a century's worth of rivalries and traditions, but was however charged with the responsibility to take the appropriate action to guarantee the University and its athletics programs remain visibly relevant and financially viable for a century more.
When Alden took charge, Mizzou ranked near the bottom of the league in on-field success, facility development and fund-raising. Since beginning his 15-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 Big 12 titles won in 2011-12 as the Tigers departed the league.
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 courtesy of the Kansas City Sports Trust, kick-starting an incredible $200 million facility improvement plan. That plan will impact nearly all of Missouri's 20 varsity sports programs, 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 $250 million in private gifts for Tiger Athletics.
The 2012 academic year saw Missouri once again remain prominent on the national landscape. In addition to league titles in men's basketball, baseball and wrestling, Missouri enjoyed its school-record seventh consecutive trip to a bowl game and saw 16-of-20 sports enjoy representation in the postseason. His newest hires also grabbed national headlines as well, including first year head coach Frank Haith, who won National Coach of the Year honors and led his program to a Big 12 title and 30 victories.
Competitive excellence 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. He is currently the third-longest tenured Athletics Director in Mizzou history behind only Don Faurot and Chester Brewer, 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.
Missouri routinely ranked among league leaders 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.
Athletically, it's hard to argue Mizzou's advancement on the national scene. The Tigers saw 16-of-20 sports have representation in postseason competition during 2011-12, highlighted by league championships, NCAA postseason success and All-America award winners. While Missouri set a school record with eight teams finishing among the Top 25 of their respective sports in 2009, Mizzou has enjoyed 74 Top 25 team finishes at NCAA Championships under Alden's watch (an average of 5.3 per year). Prior to his arrival, the most Top 25 finishes for Missouri in a single season was just three.
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 $ 70 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 $165.2 million facility resurgence for MU athletics since his arrival just 12 years ago.
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)
Division I Athletic Directors Association Board of Directors ( Past President)
National Association of College Directors of Athletics (Vice 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, including his nephew (Michael) who will be a senior at Missouri Southern this fall. 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 (17) who is a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia.