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Alden talks about his tenure, years of growth at MU athletic program

Since University of Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden’s tenure began about 17 years ago, the program has grown and changed in ways many never could have imagined.

Alden took MU Athletics from a program with about $13 million in revenue to a more than $80 million a year powerhouse.

Alden said the growth from $13.7 million to $84 million in revenue has been an amazing accomplishment for the University, and the addition of state-of-the-art facilities at nearly every sports venue is the most visible impact of that money.

ABC 17 asked Alden about some of the biggest changes he’s seen since he arrived.

“I think financially and the work that our donors have done and the type of scholarship fund has been great,” said Alden.

Since his arrival, there has been about a $233 million building boom for MU athletics facilities.

Alden has overseen about $265 million in private gifts for Tiger Athletics, and in fall 2014, Mizzou’s Memorial Stadium opened a new east side tower as one of the most visible benefits of joining the SEC.

Alden said a pivotal point in his career was three years ago when MU left the Big 12 behind and joined the SEC.

“The distribution that occurs in the SEC is all equally distributed. That in itself has really helped raise it. But now, going forward, this is more than you want, but I’m going to tell you, the opportunities that we see as continued revenue growth are beyond the SEC Network. We’ve got to sell more season tickets in men’s football and men’s basketball, we know that but all of our sports.”

$247 million is the impact on local economy; a staggering number for a city the size of Columbia. Alden said the SEC has had a hand in that number as well, because of the number of fans who travel in for games.

ABC 17 also asked what other benefits the SEC has had on the program.

“Not only our student athletes, of course, and what we’re trying to do in our academic center, but our facilities growth. We’ve been able to apply toward that. Our scholarship fund has continued to grow and our endowment was not nearly what it is. I think we were at $25 million for an endowment when I got here, and we’ve been able to expand our reserve to I think it was only about $500,000. It was about $500,000 in a savings account, that’s not much for a program but we only had a budget of $13.7 million.

Alden said that reserve is now much larger and the program as a whole is much better off than when he arrived. He said the program is also able to contribute about $2 million per year to other initiatives outside athletics at the university.

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