Mizzou’s Jim Sterk stepping down as athletics director


University of Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk is stepping down after five years with the Tigers in Columbia.

In a statement, the university said Sterk, 65, will officially step down once MU finds a new athletics director. The university did not disclose the reason for Sterk’s departure but said it was a mutual decision.

“We are grateful for the dedicated leadership Jim has provided over the last five years to position Mizzou for even greater success,” University of Missouri President Mun Choi said in the statement. “We recognize his many contributions and appreciate his continued role as we search for the next leader of Mizzou Athletics.

“We now begin a national search for a visionary athletics director who will develop a strategic plan for Mizzou to achieve exceptional success in the SEC and to navigate a bold path in the rapidly evolving world of collegiate athletics.”

Speculation grew in February that Sterk could be a top candidate for the open athletics director spot at Central Florida. But Sterk shot those rumors down saying he wasn’t a candidate and had no plans of leaving Mizzou, according to the Columbia Tribune.

Terry Mohajir was later named athletics director at Central Florida.

It’s not clear at this time what Sterk’s next move is.

“I am grateful for the hard work of our amazing staff, coaches and student-athletes, as well as the generous support of our alumni and friends during my tenure as athletics director,” Sterk said. “I believe that Mizzou Athletics is well positioned for future success, and I wish our coaches and student-athletes well in their continued quest for academic and athletic excellence. MIZ.”

Sterk joined the Mizzou Athletics in August 2016, replacing Mack Rhodes. He’s led the athletics department as it built a new facility, saw record-breaking fundraising and increased its academic and athletic success.

He hired both current head football coach Eli Drinkwitz and men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin. 

Sterk also led the department when Missouri received postseason bans in multiple sports due to a tutor completing coursework for student athletes.

Missouri opened the $98 million South End Zone facility in 2019 under Sterk’s leadership, and it will break ground this fall for a new $34 million indoor football practice facility as well.

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