New Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk hasn’t given up on restarting the Border War with Kansas.
Sterk, who was hired in August as the Tigers’ athletic director, made an appearance Monday for the Tiger Club of Kansas City Golf Tournament at Staley Farms Golf Club in Kansas City, Mo., and was asked about resuming the rivalry.
“I’d like for that to happen,” said Sterk, who was hired after Mack Rhoades abruptly left for Baylor. “I think they made it a point when we left the (Big 12) that they weren’t going to play anymore, but we’re certainly open to that and I know (new men’s basketball coach) Cuonzo (Martin) will work on that behind the scenes and see if that can happen.”
Missouri bailed on the Big 12 5 1/2 years ago for the stability and financial security of the Southeastern Conference, but Kansas remains jilted by the breakup.
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Several KU officials, including basketball coach Bill Self, and many prominent Jayhawks boosters have been adamant about refusing to play Mizzou, which remains the sticking point to resuming one of college sports’ best rivalries.
“In order to have a game, you need two willing partners, so we’re open to doing that in football and basketball and some of our other sports,” Sterk said. “That would be great to do.”
Hearnes Center = Beyoncé
There’s been chatter for a few years now about the potential need to demolish the Hearnes Center and erect a more sustainable, cost-effective alternative.
Sterk, who remains in fundraising mode for the proposed new football facility in the south end zone at Memorial Stadium, reiterated Monday that the 425,000-square foot facility is the campus equivalent of Beyoncé.
“Right now, it’s irreplaceable,” Sterk said. “We’re actually investing into it to make it a better place.”
That includes a $1 million upgrade to the air circulation system this summer.
“I think the wrestlers are going to be happy up on the fourth level,” Sterk said. “… It’s a big space that serves a lot of purposes — not only ours, but the university’s as well and the community.”
Volleyball, wrestling and indoor track and field are housed there along with scads of administrative personnel and in-house media staff.
Gymnastics also competes at the Hearnes Center, which hosted the Missouri Future Farmers of America convention in April among other events.
“There’s no real revenue stream to replace all that space, and it’s not like it’s a building that’s falling down,” Sterk said.
Besides, volleyball loves the home-court advantage Hearnes affords and wrestling loves the spacious digs it’s carved out
“I don’t see, as far as realistically and financially, how we’re able to replace it right now, so we’re going to make it better and do some things to improve the situation there,” Sterk said.