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Missouri to hire San Diego State's Jim Sterk as new athletic director

NCAA, College Football, Men's College Basketball, Missouri Tigers, Missouri Tigers, San Diego State Aztecs, San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk has been named Missouri's new athletic director, the university announced Tuesday.

Sterk will take over by Sept. 1, according to a release provided by the university. 

The 60-year-old Sterk will replace Mack Rhoades, who resigned as Missouri's athletic director in July to fill the same position at Baylor. 

"My passion is building upon the successes of good athletic programs and helping to make them great," Sterk said in the release. "Whether it is guiding and mentoring student-athletes, working with coaches to ensure they have the resources they need or cheering with the fans, I realize that athletics is one of the most visible programs at a university.

Sarah Reesman had been serving as Missouri's interim athletic director, its third in three weeks after interim AD Wren Baker resigned to lead North Texas' athletic department.

Sterk has been with San Diego State since 2010 and is a member of the NCAA Division I men's basketball committee. He was one of four winners of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics' Under Armour AD of the Year in the Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2015-16 season.

"Jim's leadership in intercollegiate athletics is unparalleled, and we are thrilled he is going to bring his talents, energy and passion for working with student-athletes to Columbia. He is just what Mizzou needs at this time," University of Missouri Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said in the release. 

The end of Rhoades' 15-month tenure as Missouri athletic director was marked by protests and controversy.

Student protests on the Missouri campus over social issues and racial tensions spilled over into the athletic department last season when the football team essentially went on strike in support of the protesters, who were demanding the resignation of university systems president Tim Wolfe.

Former football coach Gary Pinkel and Rhoades stood by the players, who in the end didn't miss any practice time, much less a game. Both the president and school chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, resigned.

Pinkel retired after last season and announced he was fighting cancer. Permanent replacements for Wolfe and Loftin have not been hired.

Rhoades promoted defensive coordinator and former Missouri player Barry Odom to head coach, but the school, athletic department and Rhoades have faced continuing criticism from fans, boosters and state lawmakers for their handling of the players' threatened boycott.

Rhoades also had to hire a new baseball coach and dealt with a Title IX office investigation of softball coach Ehren Earleywine.

"(Sterk) has a superb winning record, is committed to the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts and will help restore pride and confidence in an athletics program that is working to overcome a challenging year," Foley said in the release.

The NCAA also recently accepted Missouri's self-imposed sanctions over infractions involving its men's basketball program but tacked on a year of probation through August of next year.

The NCAA infractions committee panel said roughly $11,400 in improper inducements and benefits was given to players and a recruit by two boosters. The findings came nearly seven months after Missouri admitted NCAA violations dating to 2011.

Missourinet, a website that covers news and sports in Missouri, first reported the news of Sterk's hire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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