Mike Alden

New Mizzou AD is hopeful Border War can be revived

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There have been 120 games played between Missouri and Kansas, but once the Tigers left the Bog 12 for the SEC three years ago the rivalry was put on ice alongside Nebraska-Oklahoma, Texas-Texas A&M, Pittsburgh-West Virginia and a handful of other terrific long-standing regional rivalries. If there is any hope to see The Border War revived, it could come with new leadership at both Missouri and Kansas.

Mack Rhoades took over as Mizzou’s athletics director as the successor of 17-year A.D. Mike Alden. As can be the case for new head coaches and AD’s, the questions regarding past rivalries can be a popular one. Rhoades is already posturing for a possible resurrection of a series with Kansas.

“Hopefully, in the future, we can find a way to come together and play, because I think it’s good for certainly his fans, our fans, and most importantly, our coaches and our student-athletes,” Rhoades said in an interview with FOX Sports Kansas City. “So, you know, there (are) certainly no promises, but the hope was we can have some positive discussion in the future.”

Rhoades went on to offer a refreshing thought that seems to differ strongly from the tone established by leaders at Texas and Texas A&M.

“I just think the biggest losers in all of it are the fans and the student-athletes and the coaches,” Rhoades said. “And maybe, sometimes, we all — including myself — lose sight of that. And I think we need to remember that. And again, hopefully, we would find a way where we could resume playing each other here in the future.”

As a member of the SEC, Missouri will be required to schedule one football game per season against another school from a power conference (or Notre Dame, BYU or Army). Renewing a rivalry with Kansas on a regular basis would satisfy that non-scheduling requirement for the Tigers. The Big 12 has no such non-conference scheduling requirement, although the addition of Missouri or any other SEC member would certainly provide a boost to the overall strength of schedule for Kansas and the Big 12. That is something that ended up holding back Baylor and TCU in the College Football Playoff conversation last season.

Missouri hires search firm to assist in new AD hire

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As Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin prepares for the process to hire a new athletic director, he’ll get some help from one of the world’s preeminent search firms.

Long-time athletic director Mike Alden decided he will step down on Aug. 31 after 17 years at the University of Missouri.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Dave Matter acquired a copy of the contract between the university and Korn Ferry International and laid out the details.

According to the terms of the contract, Korn Ferry’s fees are non-contingent and nonrefundable and are equal to one-third of the total first year’s estimated compensation for the AD position Missouri fills, which includes base salary, estimated or guaranteed incentive bonus, sign-on bonus and equity compensation. The parties agreed to an initial retainer fee of $75,000, to be billed in three installments. After the search, the parties will reconcile any outstanding fees. The firm is also reimbursed for all administrative support and research services, which are billed at 8 percent. The firm’s final fee, including all fees, will be capped at $200,000, according to the contract.

Korn Ferry’s Global Sports Practice recently helped in the hires of Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, Jim McElwain to Florida and Dan Quinn to the Atlanta Falcons.

According to Matter, some of the potential candidates for the position are Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades, Texas A&M senior associate athletic director Jason Cook, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock and Missouri deputy athletic director Doug Gillin.

Missouri to pay Gary Pinkel $3.1 million per year through 2020

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After taking Missouri to the SEC Championship Game and winning the Cotton Bowl last season, Gary Pinkel was deserving of a raise. As previously reported, that was in the works and agreed to by both sides. Now that contract has officially been approved by the university, formally extending Pinkel’s contract for seven years.

Pinkel’s new contract will run through 2020 and pay $3.1 million per season and he will receive a $100,000 raise each year moving forward. He was being paid $2.8 million last season, making him the 20th highest paid head coach in the country last season according to a database of coaching salaries organized by USA Today. Pinkel will now be the SEC’s ninth head coaching earning at least $3 million in annual salary. Auburn’s Gus Malzahn became the eighth coach to receive a $3 million per year contract last December after leading the Tigers to the SEC Championship game against Pinkel and Missouri. In addition, Pinkel’s staff will also be increased from $2.66 million to $3.2 million.

“It is important for us to be able to recognize what Gary and his staff have achieved for the University of Missouri,” said Director of Athletics Mike Alden in a released statement. “We’re very grateful to the Board of Curators and University leadership for their support of our program, which is among the best in the nation both academically and competitively.”

“I’m very honored and proud to be the coach at Mizzou, and I appreciate the opportunity,” said Pinkel. “It’s important for our program to keep moving forward and build on a solid foundation. I’m pleased that my assistant coaches continue to get recognized for the work they do. We are fortunate to have a great staff at Mizzou.”

One of the biggest advantages any football program can have is stability. Now, Missouri has some solid security in place with Pinkel lined up until the end of the 2020 season and the assistant coaching staff getting a bump in pay.