COLUMBIA, Mo. – Jim Sterk will become Mizzou’s new Athletic Director, University of Missouri Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced today.
Sterk, who joined San Diego State University in 2010, has overseen the most successful five seasons in SDSU’s athletic history with 32 team conference championships for the Aztecs since the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year and the fourth-highest combined winning percentage in the country in football and men’s basketball. In addition, SDSU is one of only four schools nationally to have appeared in six consecutive NCAA tournaments and have its football team play in five straight bowl games.
“This is a wonderful day for Mizzou and Tiger fans everywhere,” Foley said. “Jim’s leadership in intercollegiate athletics is unparalleled, and we are thrilled he is going to bring his talents, energy and passion for working with student-athletes to Columbia. He is just what Mizzou needs at this time.”
This past year SDSU set a school record with 13 programs setting multi-year highs in the Academic Progress Report released by the NCAA with 313 individuals honored for their academic achievements. The athletic department also is coming off a record fundraising year for scholarships and a new basketball facility. He was named the 2015-2016 Under Armour AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, which highlights the efforts of athletic directors for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities. Sterk was also recently named to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
“My passion is building upon the successes of good athletic programs and helping to make them great,” Sterk said. “Whether it is guiding and mentoring student-athletes, working with coaches to ensure they have the resources they need or cheering with the fans, I realize that athletics is one of the most visible programs at a university. Mizzou’s recent entry into the SEC makes it highly visible, and I am excited about the opportunity to help continue to lead it on the national stage.”
Foley says Sterk was chosen from a varied and impressive field of candidates with input from an advisory committee composed of faculty, staff, students and athletic supporters. Sterk’s seven-year contract was approved by the Board of Curators earlier this evening. He will be paid a base and guaranteed salary of $700,000 and will officially start on or before Sept. 1.
“Mizzou athletics—and all of Mizzou Nation—will benefit from having someone of Jim’s caliber on board,” Foley said. “He has a superb winning record, is committed to the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts and will help restore pride and confidence in an athletics program that is working to overcome a challenging year.”
“Jim elevated SDSU to a respectable level both athletically and academically,” said Marshall Faulk, a member of the Pro-Football Hall of Fame and former St. Louis Ram and SDSU Aztec. “His leadership was instrumental in the rise of SDSU success. How we cared for our student-athletes was his No. 1 concern. While I’m sad to see him go, I am equally happy for Jim and his family, and I told him he is going to love the people of Missouri. Mizzou, you hired a man with impeccable integrity.”
Before joining SDSU, Sterk was Athletic Director at Washington State University, where in his last three years, 13 Cougar teams competed in NCAA postseason tournaments, including back-to-back trips by the men’s basketball team, while women’s rowing earned five NCAA championship bids. Sterk began his AD career at Portland State University and also has held positions at North Carolina, Maine, Seattle Pacific and Tulane.
“Simply put, Jim Sterk is a highly seasoned leader who has taken both of his previous institutions into rarefied air,” said Dr. Kevin White, Director of Athletics at Duke University. “Those storied programs enjoyed unmatched success under Jim’s uniquely gifted and talented mentoring. He will bring inordinate passion for the entire athletics enterprise, which will unequivocally reinforce the distinct mission and commitment to excellence that defines the University of Missouri.”
Sterk graduated from Western Washington University in 1980 where he earned four letters in football and one in basketball. He set a school record with 164 tackles during the 1977 season and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame for his football success. He received his master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University. Sterk and his wife Debi have three grown daughters, Ashley, Amy and Abby.