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Missouri selects Rhoades to replace Alden

March 10, 2015 at 12:02 a.m. | Updated March 10, 2015 at 12:02 a.m.
Mack Rhoades, shown speaking during a press conference in Houston while serving as Houston's athletic director in this Dec. 19, 2014, file photo, will be taking the same job at the University of Missouri.

In the last decade or so, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars, overseen the construction of several new athletic facilities and helped the school with a transition to a new conference.

His replacement's resume is eerily similar.

The university announced Monday that Mack Rhoades IV will replace Alden, as Rhoades has served in a similar position at the University of Houston since 2009.

"Mack Rhoades brings a wealth of experience as a Division I athletic director to Mizzou, and he has demonstrated a commitment to our core values of academic integrity, social responsibility and competitive excellence," Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said in a press release. "I am delighted to welcome a leader with a track record of enhancing the student-athlete experience and a proven record in fundraising and facility development.

"We found the right fit at the right time to take Mizzou athletics to even greater heights."

Alden announced Jan. 29 he would step down after 17 years at the head of Missouri's athletics department. It took Missouri roughly five weeks to settle on his replacement.

"The University of Missouri is a world-class institution, and I am honored to serve as its next director of athletics," Rhoades said. "Success begins with great people, and I look forward to working with our talented student-athletes, coaches and staff to keep the athletics program among the nation's elite.

"(Wife) Amy and the girls and I are extremely excited to become members of the Mizzou family, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with chancellor Loftin and president Wolfe. I look forward to traveling the state to meet the fans who are the heartbeat of the Tigers."

Though Alden had said he would hold his position until August, it was announced Monday that Rhoades, 49, would assume the position in late April.

When Loftin was hiring a director of athletics as the chancellor at Texas A&M in 2012, Rhoades was a candidate. At Houston, Rhoades helped raise nearly $100 million and oversaw construction of $160 million worth of new facilities, including the football team's on-campus TDECU Stadium, which opened in 2014 following the demolition of Robertson Stadium in 2012.

Before coming to Houston, Rhoades was the director of athletics at Akron from 2006-09. From 1998-2006, he was a senior associate athletics director at Texas-El Paso. Former Missouri football coach Bob Stull has served as UTEP's director of athletics since 1998.

Rhoades graduated from Arizona with a bachelor's degree in health sciences and holds a master's degree in athletics administration and sports management from Indiana. He made $537,600 in 2013, according to USA Today. Alden was paid $651,917 that year by Missouri.

Like Alden at Missouri, Rhoades oversaw a major conference transition at Houston. In 2013, a year after Missouri left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, Houston ended its 18-year stint with Conference USA to join the new American Athletic Conference.

In the 2013-14 academic year, 10-of-17 programs at Houston competed in NCAA postseason competition.

When Rhoades took over at Houston, the Cougars' head football coach was Kevin Sumlin, who left to join Loftin at Texas A&M after going 12-1 in 2011. Rhoades replaced Sumlin with Tony Levine, who was fired after three seasons, despite winning eight games twice - something the Cougars had only done twice in the 17 seasons before Sumlin.

In December, Rhoades hired Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman to replace Levine. Herman edged out former Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel and three other finalists to win the 2014 Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach. One month later, his Buckeyes won the national championship in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

In Rhoades' first year at Houston, basketball coach Tom Penders retired despite taking the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years. James Dickey, Penders' replacement, resigned after his teams went 64-62 in four seasons, citing "private family matters."

This most recent season marked the first for Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson, who had been fired at Indiana in 2008 after making inadmissable phone calls and received a five-year, show-cause penalty from the NCAA. Missouri also dealt with basketball sanctions during Alden's tenure. Sampson's first team at Houston went 12-18 in the regular season.

Rhoades will become the 16th director of athletics in Missouri's history. An introductory press conference will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Missouri Student Center.


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