Athletics director hot board: Six candidates to replace Jim Sterk
With the news that Jim Sterk is retiring, the university finds itself needing to fill the top role in its athletics department. The good news for Missouri is that there is no shortage of potential candidates with ties to the school. Here is a list of six names who would make sense as replacements for Sterk.
Wren Baker, North Texas
Baker has previously held the title of Missouri athletics director, albeit briefly. After Mack Rhoades left for Baylor in the summer of 2016, Baker was named Missouri's interim AD. He then left for the full-time athletics director role at North Texas a few weeks later. In his four-and-a-half years at North Texas, the Mean Green athletics department has reported its four highest fundraising years in school history.
Baker spent about a year as the deputy athletics director at Missouri. Prior to that, he spent two years in the same role at Memphis. Baker also spent time in the state of Missouri when he worked as the athletics director at Northwest Missouri State from 2010-2013. The Bearcats won the NCAA Division-II national championship in football in 2013. Baker has also had the unique experience of heading a brand new athletics department, as he served as the first ever athletics director for Division-II Rogers State from 2006-2011. He also coached men's basketball during his first year at Rogers State.
Doug Gillin, Appalachian State
Gillin has spent the past six years as athletics director at Appalachian State, where he hired Eli Drinkwitz to replace Scott Satterfield as the school's football coach following the 2018 season. Prior to getting that job, he spent four years as deputy athletics director at Missouri — one of two stints with the school. Gillin also worked at Missouri from 1995-1999, first as an assistant marketing director, then as the general manager of Mizzou Sports Properties. Gillin also spent 10 years in a management role for the media company ISP Sports, which later became IMG College.
Gillin arrived at App State shortly after the Mountaineer football program transitioned from the FCS to the FBS, joining the Sun Belt conference. The program has thrived since making the move, recording a winning record in all seven years as an FBS member and twice winning the Sun Belt. He not only has experience at Missouri, he has worked with Drinkwitz before and has a tie to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, as the two briefly overlapped as undergraduate students at Cortland University, where Gillin played ice hockey.
Mark Alnutt, Buffalo
Alnutt not only has experience working in Missouri's athletics department, he played linebacker and tight end for the Tiger football team from 1993-1995. Alnutt then left the world of athletics, working as a salesman in his hometown of Kansas City before returning to Missouri as the director of football operations in 2000. He held that role through 2005, when he made the transition to the administrative side of the athletics department. Alnutt stayed at Missouri as an associate athletics director until 2012.
Alnutt is currently the athletics director at Buffalo. Buffalo's football program has recorded an impressive 24-10 record over the past three seasons, although the arrival of head coach Lance Leipold predated Alnutt (Leipold has since left for Kansas). Alnutt did hire basketball coach Jim Whitesell to replace Nate Oats, however. Whitesell's team went 20-11 last season. Alnutt is also a member of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee. Prior to Buffalo, he spent three years as the deputy AD at Memphis and three years as the athletics director of Southeast Missouri.
Bryan Maggard, Louisiana
Maggard might be more familiar with Missouri than anyone else on this list. The current Louisiana athletics director spent a whopping 21 years in various roles with the Tigers. At the end of his tenure, Maggard worked primarily with the football program, handling scheduling, facility management and personnel.
Since he left for Louisiana in 2017, the Ragin' Cajun football program has excelled. Maggard not only hired head coach Billy Napier, who led the team to a 21-4 record the past two seasons and consecutive Sun Belt West division titles, but has kept him at the school despite perennial interest from high-major programs. It is worth noting, however, that Maggard's contract currently runs through 2025. While the exact amount of his buyout is unknown, it would almost certainly cost Missouri to hire him.
Nicki Moore, Colgate
While Moore is the one person on this list who has not previously worked at Missouri, she has spent time as a Tiger. Moore was a three-time Big 12 champion as a track and field and cross country runner at the school. She also earned a both a master's degree and Ph.D. from Missouri.
Moore was a finalist for the Missouri AD position when Sterk was hired in 2016. She ended up as the AD at Colgate, where she has worked since 2018. Colgate's basketball program has been solid under longtime coach Matt Langel, earning an NCAA Tournament berth in 2019 and 2021. Moore also has a combined 11 years of experience as an administrator at North Carolina and Oklahoma.
Ryan Alpert, Missouri
Alpert was brought back to Mizzou and has been second in command and in charge of fundraising efforts at Missouri for the last year and three months. He is young and has never been an athletic director, but many thought when he returned to Mizzou it was with the idea that he would take over when Sterk left. However, it may be a little bit too soon for that at this point in time.