Mike Alden has been at the helm of Missouri athletics since 1998, and it’s no shock his tenure has produced the most comprehensive run of athletic and academic success in school history.
Through capital campaign efforts, Alden has overseen more than $265 million in private gifts for Tiger Athletics and, in 2014, Mizzou’s Memorial Stadium unveiled a new east side tower that redefined the city of Columbia’s skyline.
Alden is the second-longest tenured athletic director in Mizzou history, and his family ties to the state are strong.
History-making landmarks have occurred each year under Alden’s watch and, while each event has been significant — including three more league titles in 2013-14 — few were as impactful as Missouri’s transition into the Southeastern Conference in July 2012.
In 2014-15 Missouri began its third season in the SEC and comes after 16 of 20 sport programs advanced to postseason play. The school year started strong with the soccer team advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and football winning the SEC East Championship for a second consecutive year, then beating Minnesota 33-17 in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1.
While Mizzou has maintained its competitive excellence since the move into the SEC, Tiger student-athletes continued to soar in the classroom by ranking among Southeastern Conference leaders in both Graduation Success Rates and Academic Progress Rates.
In student-athlete academic success, Mizzou Athletics ranks No. 2 in the SEC (behind Vanderbilt) and in the top 20 nationally. Mizzou football ranks No. 1 in the SEC and in the top eight nationally for academic success.
In 2013-14, the Tigers earned an SEC East Division title in football and an unprecedented undefeated regular season and SEC championship in volleyball. The Tigers also won their second consecutive Mid-American Conference title in wrestling, which saw true freshman J’den Cox win a national title.
While conference affiliation fueled uncertainty for many institutions, Alden and his staff helped secure the second-largest donation in the history of the University of Missouri, a $30 million gift courtesy of the Kansas City Sports Trust. It kick-started a $200 million facility improvement plan.
The support and growth didn’t stop there. In 2013, Alden and his team also cultivated singular donations of $6.4 million and $8.3 million. The aggressive recruitment of supporters has the facilities plan impacting nearly all of Missouri’s 20 varsity sports teams, including a renovation to Memorial Stadium.
Named the Athletics Director of the Year in 2008 by the National Association of College Directors of America (NACDA), Alden has developed into one of the nation’s most revered administrators during his time in Columbia. His 17 consecutive years at the helm of Mizzou Athletics is the second-longest in school history, behind only the 20 consecutive of Don Faurot (1946-66).
Socially, Missouri student-athletes have seen tremendous growth, from coach and student-athlete involvement with Big Brothers-Big Sisters and The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, to local children’s hospitals and Habitat for Humanity. In addition, Mizzou Athletics is heavily involved in the United Way.
Alden holds strong ties to central Missouri.
His family tree has been rooted on his family farm in Williamsburg, Mo., about 35 miles east of Columbia. His mother lives in Williamsburg, while his brother, John, is a physician in Lamar. Several relatives reside in and around Columbia and Kansas City. .