Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk will be leaving the program soon, the University of Missouri announced Monday.
Sterk will step down as AD once a replacement is found.
“We are grateful for the dedicated leadership Jim has provided over the last five years to position Mizzou for even greater success,” University of Missouri President Mun Choi said in a press release Monday.
Sterk took over as AD in August of 2016, in the wake of on-campus protests surrounding racial injustice which some Missouri athletes were a part of. Sterk was responsible for the hiring of men’s basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin, football head coach Eliah Drinkwitz and softball head coach Larissa Anderson.
During Sterk’s time as AD, Missouri opened a new softball complex, a new South Endzone at Faurot Field, and have gained approval for a new indoor practice facility for the Tiger football team.
Sterk’s tenure was not without its rough spots, including sanctions put in place on multiple programs stemming from an academic cheating scandal, as well as the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-marred 2020-2021 season may have been the height of Sterk’s tenure at Missouri however, with 18 of the school’s 20 teams being represented in postseason play, including a softball Regional and Super Regional that Missouri hosted.
Sterk’s legacy at Missouri will largely depend on how the program fares under his successor. He took over during a dark period for both the men’s basketball and football teams, a dark period that those teams are only now emerging from.
Hindsight could prove that Sterk was the right man, at the right time, for Missouri. Regardless of how history will look at Sterk, his exit feels very sudden and quite unexpected.
It will now be up to Mun Choi and the Board of Curators to pick a suitable successor. Let’s hope they choose right.
“I believe that Mizzou Athletics is well positioned for future success,” Sterk said in a statement Monday. “And I wish our coaches and student-athletes well in their continued quest for academic and athletic excellence. MIZ.”