Mack Rhoades talks about funding, facilities and why athletics matters so much to the University of Missouri and to Columbia. Rhoades replaced longtime MU Athletic Director Mike Alden in April 2015.
KBIA's Darren Hellwege sat down with the new MU athletic director in his Mizzou Arena office. Rhoades praised the staff he has met so far at MU. He said that they have helped him with his "listening and learning and meeting with individual staff members. I let everybody know that I them I would visit with all of them."
The guest seat in Rhoades's office stays warm: he has so far met personally with 175 of the department's 300 staff members. New additions to the staff under Rhoades include recent hires to work on development and communications.
At $92 million this year's MU Athletics budget is big especially compared to many departments on the MU campus. Rhoades said that his department is auxiliary to the University and gets an allocation this year of $1.5 million from MU. The majority of funds come from sources external to the university, said Rhoades.
The athletics program - right or wrong - is what a lot of people at least initially identify the University of Missouri with and we talk about it being the front porch of the university and we may not be the most important room in the house in terms of the university, but we certainly are the front porch. We do a lot for the university in terms of it's reputation.
Rhoades cites six to seven home football games each year as being a regular and major economic driver for Columbia.
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