August 15, 2013

MU AD Mike Alden Addresses Group in Memphis

MU Athletic Director Mike Alden poses for a poto with Keith’s Cafe’s Jenny Aldridge following an August 8th stop at the Memphis restaraunt to talk about the Tigers with area boosters.

by Hannah Kiddoo

Tiger fans gathered over dinner at Keith's last Thursday to hear from University of Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden. The visit was part of a day of speaking engagements across northern Missouri for Alden, who has made several trips to the area since starting at the university in 1998.

Alden's talk focused some of the school's previous challenges and future goals.

"There's some really good things going on at Mizzou, you guys, so I've come here tonight to tell you that," said Alden in his address. "You've got 35,000 kids going to school there that are just doing great things."

Alden discussed current students and alumni, including area native Nicki Webber Moore, who have exemplified Mizzou's core values, citing excellence in academics and individual growth as most important.

"We are as good as there is nationally with how our kids do academically in athletics at Mizzou," said Alden. "The number one focus is to win in the classroom. We want you to have an athletic program where our kids, academically, are leading the pack."

Alden also addressed some of the challenges teams are facing when battling against other SEC institutions.

"We knew, going into the SEC, that we were joining the elite conference in America," said Alden. "The data would say that the strongest conference by far - it's not even close - in every sport in this country is the SEC. When you get into something like that, there's going to be some growing pains," he added.

Some of those difficulties came with last year's football season when the tigers faced schools they had never met in game play and ended the season with a 4-8 record. Alden says he is looking forward to new season, which kicks off August 31 against Murray State.

"I love the fact that people have picked us to finished sixth out of seven teams in the SEC east," said Alden. "You want to go into that with a chip on your shoulder. You want to be able to say, 'Hey, I want to be able to rise about that.' And I think they're working their tails off."

A question and answer opportunity led to additional conversation about SEC play and the status of individual players.

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