Mike Alden addresses community in resignation press conference
COLUMBIA - Mike Alden addressed the University of Missouri community Friday regarding his resignation as the university's athletic director, effective Aug. 31.
Alden, along with MU Chancellor Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, and Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton all discussed Alden's 17-year tenure as athletic director, the second longest in the history of the school.
"This is one of the best athletic departments in the country, one of the best athletic director jobs in America," Alden said.
He said the decision to step down was strictly his, based on his faith and passion for teaching.
"There's nothing about my health, there's nothing about my family, nothing about our finances, there's nothing about anything out there," Alden said. "So the timing couldn't be better, to be able to take that baton, pass that to somebody else, and take our leader, Dr. Loftin and all the great things he's doing, all the tools in his toolbelt to be able to go out and recruit our next leader."
Loftin and Middleton praised the job Alden has done as athletic director.
"I was most impressed by Mike's integrity," Middleton said. "Mike had a real commitment to doing the right thing the right way."
Loftin said, "There are very, very few Division I AD's with his length of tenure at one institution. His long-term service here at Mizzou is exceptional and has been impactful. This man has transformed athletics at the University of Missouri by any measure."
Alden became emotional when discussing his family history, holding back tears as he described how his brother never left him after the two were split up in a custody case, and called him his hero.
"I had the opportunity to grow up with a lot of different people," Alden said. "But my brother, John, never left me, ever."
Alden then discussed the different successes and mistakes during his run as athletic director.
"We had a lot of challenges within our athletic program," Alden said. "Our finances really were not in real good shape, guys. We were kind of close to the bottom of the Big 12 at that time. We had a lot of work to do and we needed to really improve in a lot of other areas, in particular competitiveness. We needed to make sure we were across the board a more competitive program."
He said, "Have we made some mistakes along the way? Absolutely we have. Have we stumbled along the way? Absolutely we have. And have we had challenges? There's no doubt about that. But I believe, and I think we believe that each and every one of those challenges, each and every one of those stumbles, or each and every one of those mistakes, that we learned from that. We learned from that and we grew from that."
Alden referenced Missouri's success in academics and top status as an academic football program in the Southeastern Conference. He said the future is bright for the athletic program.
"I think that the future really holds opportunities ahead of us to give us a chance to not only compete for SEC championships in all of our sports, but to compete for national championships," Alden said.
Alden said he had been thinking about stepping down for a while.
"It's probably been going on for a couple of years," Alden said. "I think I zeroed in a little bit more on it back in probably late spring, maybe early summer."
Alden still has seven months to go, but said Loftin gave him the option of his resignation being effective at any time, if ever. He said the time frame was impacted by the recruiting process for a replacement.
"The ideal time to do that for athletic directors in our profession generally is February, March, April, maybe May of the year," Alden said.
As far as replacing Alden goes, Loftin said he will conduct the search, but also is considering hiring a search firm.
"We will do the search right," Loftin said. "It will be a careful process, but not terribly lengthy."
Loftin outlined what he is looking for in hiring another athletic director.
"My goal is to make sure we have stability and we continue our upper trajectory," Loftin said. "This place is doing very well. We don't want to lose the momentum we have right now."
After Alden's resignation goes into effect on Aug. 31, he will be a part of the College of Education as an instructor in the Positive Coaching Program.