Jim Sterk will become Missouri’s new athletic director, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Star on Monday.
San Diego State later confirmed the news, announcing that Sterk had resigned as athletic director and would assume the same post Sept. 1 with the Tigers.
Sterk, 60, who has been at San Diego State since February 2010, succeeds Mack Rhoades, who resigned July 13 to become the athletic director at Baylor.
The University of Missouri Board of Curators announced a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, during which the board will go into executive session “or consideration of certain confidential or privileged communications with university counsel, negotiated contracts and personnel matters.”
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Generally, such a meeting is the final step in formally approving a contract for a position such as athletic director.
With the Aztecs, Sterk has proven to be an adept fundraiser, more than doubling the fundraising total for scholarships during his tenure.
He is one of four reigning National Association of College Directors of Athletics’ ADs of the year and is a member of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee.
“Jim has made extraordinary contributions to the success of SDSU’s athletics teams,” San Diego State president Elliot Hirshman said of Sterk’s leadership during the most successful period of time in Aztec Athletics history, according to a release from Aztecs athletics. “I am grateful to Jim and his family for their service to the university community and wish them great success in their new endeavor.”
Sterk served as Washington State’s athletic director for 10 years prior to his arrival at San Diego State and was the Portland State athletic director from 1995-2000. During the decade before his arrival at Portland State, Sterk also worked as a senior associate athletic director at Tulane, and associate athletic director at Seattle Pacific and in various administrative capacities at Maine.
One of Sterk’s colleagues said he’s an even-keeled and knowledgeable administrator. Another colleague praised the job Sterk did at Washington State, saying Pullman, Wash., isn’t an easy place to build a competitive athletic program. But while Sterk is familiar with the challenges of having a smaller budget than conference brethren, Missouri’s program represents a bigger enterprise.
According to USA Today’s NCAA Finances database, Missouri ranked 30th in the nation with $91.2 million in total revenue in 2014-15. San Diego State ranked 57th with $49.0 million in revenue, and Washington State ranked 53rd with $54.1 million in revenue.
A native of Bellingham, Wash., Sterk graduated from Western Washington in 1980 and later earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio in 1986. He started his career as the assistant to the director of ticket operations at North Carolina in 1986.
Sterk was inducted into the Western Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 after a standout career as a linebacker with the football team. He set the Western Washington single-season tackles record with 164 in 1977 and also lettered in basketball one season.
He and his wife, Debi, have three daughters — Ashley, 27, Amy, 24, and Abby, 21.
Sterk’s current contract with the Aztecs runs through 2020 and includes a base salary of $315,000 plus incentives worth up to $75,000, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Rhoades’ contract at Missouri included a base salary of $600,000 along with up to $300,000 in performance incentives based on academic/social goals and on-field achievement. He also received two courtesy cars and an allowance for moving expenses and transitional housing.
Mizzou was expected to pay Rhoades’ replacement $750,000, a source told The Star last week, because the market for athletic director compensation is rising. Minnesota lured Mark Coyle from Syracuse with a five-year contract worth $850,000 per year plus $150,000 in incentives.
Sterk’s hire, which was first reported by Bill Pollock of Missourinet, might mean his appointment to the Division I men’s basketball committee from May is withdrawn. The committee can’t include two members from the same conference, and Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart, a native of Ottawa, Kan., was chosen to the committee along with Sterk.
San Diego State men’s basketball has sold out 72 consecutive games, while the football team went 11-3 last season, winning the season’s final 10 games and beating Cincinnati 42-7 in the Hawaii Bowl.
The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff contributed to this report.