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|Michael F. Alden|
With a championship vision and a "roll up the sleeves" work ethic, University of Missouri Director of Athletics Michael Alden has already made an indelible mark on Tiger Athletics in just two short years on the job. Since taking over in 1998, Alden set out to position Mizzou as a leader at both the conference and national levels, and the Tigers' recent accomplishments reflect that on and off the field, MU's program is on the rise.
Athletically, Missouri's achievements are well documented. For the 1999-2000 school year, the Kansas City Star rated MU's program fifth in the Big 12 Conference all-sport standings, marking the second straight year under Alden that the Tigers have ranked among the powerhouse league's upper tier.
On the national scope, the 1999-2000 season was quite possibly MU's finest ever. Six different Tiger teams qualified for NCAA post-season competition, including men's basketball, under first-year coach Quin Snyder. Other postseason teams included soccer, men's and women's cross country, gymnastics, and women's golf. Individually, Tiger athletes qualified for NCAA competition in men's and women's track and field, women's swimming and wrestling. Additionally, the women's basketball program made its first-ever appearance in the Women's NIT.
Such national success translated into a 52nd-place finish in the Sears' Directors Cup, which ranks all NCAA Division I programs on their overall strength. The showing represented MU's best-ever finish in the rankings. But Alden's drive to make Mizzou one of the nation's most comprehensive programs isn't limited to the playing field. Tiger student-athletes have achieved new academic heights under Alden's direction, as evidenced by the 1999 NCAA Graduation Report, which confirmed that MU's graduation rates were the highest in the Big 12 Conference.
Additionally, each of the last two semesters has seen Tiger student athletes record the highest overall grade point averages in MU history, including a program-best 2.846 GPA in the Winter 2000 semester. At the heart of every successful program lie sound resources for its lifeblood - its student-athletes. Alden has made it a priority to provide the resources needed to create an environment in which Mizzou student-athletes can achieve at the highest level academically, socially and athletically.
Prior to Alden's arrival, Missouri found itself mired near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference in operating budget. But thanks to proactive fundraising efforts and sound management principles, MU now ranks in the league's top five in that category. Mizzou went to battle for the 2000-01 season with a record $25 million budget, which is a near 100 percent increase from a working ledger of $13 million just three years ago.
Alden has kept alive and even accelerated the University's commitment to excellence in its athletic facilities. In the past year, projects included the construction of a $13 million state-of-the-art pressbox facility at Memorial Stadium, a 3,000-square foot addition to the Yeckel Weight Room, the construction of the Ralph and Debbie Taylor Phi Delta Theta Baseball Stadium, improvements to the Hearnes Center, and an improvement of football practice fields, among others.
Other successful areas of emphases in which Alden has implemented include:
- Student-Athlete Development - Missouri continues to be on the cutting edge in the total development of its student-athletes. The Life Skills program has been created to foster growth in community involvement, career development and other "life" skills.
- Outreach Program - The goal of the Outreach Program is to make a constant effort to aggressively network the State of Missouri to spread the word about Tiger Athletics. Alden has been a pioneer of sorts in this area, as he has already visited 123 different communities throughout the state in his short time on board at MU.
- Development and Fundraising - Development efforts have seen unprecedented growth in the areas of annual giving and major gifts in the past two years. Membership in the Tiger Scholarship Fund is at an all-time high, and the record amounts of funds raised continue to provide Tiger Athletics the financial impetus to succeed.
- Exposure - Missouri Athletics continues to maintain a strong presence on national and regional media outlets. With the ever-expanding Mizzou Sports Network, MU's program is constantly in the public eye. The Tiger Radio Network also continues to be one of the most comprehensive collegiate sports radio networks in the country.
- Program Interest - Interest in Tiger Athletics is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the record number of season tickets sold for the 1999 football season (35,000). Additionally, the Hearnes Center single-game attendance record was broken twice in the 1999-2000 season, as a record 14,098 supported the Tigers against Kansas.
On July 16, 1998, MU Chancellor Richard Wallace introduced Alden as MU's new athletic director. Previous to his Missouri appointment, Alden served as director of athletics at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas from 1996-98.
Alden has worked in athletic administration at the Division I level since 1985. He served as assistant athletic director for administration at Arizona State University from 1985-92, and as associate athletic director for development at the University of New Mexico from 1992-96.
In the early 1980s, Alden was offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator (1982-84) at the University of Evansville. He moved on to the University of Pennsylvania (1984-85) and was offensive line coach and strength coach for Penn's 1984 Ivy League championship team.
Alden earned a master's degree in educational administration/supervision from Arizona State University. He holds two degrees from Evansville, where he was a starting member of the football team - a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education.
A native of Chicago, Alden chairs the NCAA committee that directs the National Youth Sports Program, an outreach program directed at economically disadvantaged youth, and was recently appointed to the NCAA Championships Cabinet where he will be serving a four year term.
He and his wife, the former Roxanne (Rockie) Falk, have a son, Jake (5).
B.S. & B.A., Evansville, 1980
M.S., Arizona State, 1992
Assistant Athletic Director, Arizona State, 1985-92
Associate Athletic Director, New Mexico, 1992-96
Athletic Director, Southwest Texas State, 1996-98
Athletic Director, Missouri, 1998-Present
Son, Jake (5)
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