Saying goodbye was not an easy task for his friends and colleagues in San Diego State’s Athletic Department. Jim Sterk, now the University of Missouri Athletic Director, left good memories, although his biggest contribution was a business lesson.
Sterk took on the job in February 2010, and since drove the department to a historic heights in terms of winning, development, and revenue.
“Our competitive success. In six years 50 teams advanced to the NCAA Championships with 20 finishing in the top 25 nationally. Our teams have won 32 titles. SDSU is one of the top football programs in the country, holding the third highest combined winning percentage this decade,” said the Master of Ceremonies during the farewell celebration on his behalf.
In terms of facilities, SDSU built the Jeff Jacobs JAM Center for men’s and women’s basketball teams for $48M, among other important venues, and did so without compromising the budget of the department.
“He focused heavily on facilities improvements and was a strong advocate for all sports. In addition to the JAM Center, we have the new football practice field, the weight room, and the completely renovated Peterson Gym, just to name a few.
“He always focused on the department’s financial health and went through many challenges during his ten-year term. Jim is proud to leave a healthy budget for his successor.”
Before leaving, Sterk made it clear that he is now an Aztec for life, and that he will visit San Diego with his wife Debi as often as possible.
“The best part is building the personal and professional friendships with our coaches, our staff and all of you. I deeply appreciate that and I will cheer on the Aztecs from the humidity and cold and storms of a mid-west town,” said Sterk.
“Want to thank you on behalf of my family, we were very blessed to know each and all of you. I’m not very good at goodbyes, so I’ll see you all soon. Thank you and Go Aztecs.”
During his time, Sterk organized fundraisers for scholarships for student-athletes that doubled from $2.6M to $5.6M last year. The students’ development was one of the key points on his agenda, with 313 of 550 student-athletes named scholar athletes, and an impressive average GPA increase from 2.86 to 3.01. Recently, he was named the 2016 Under Armour Athletic Director of the year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
The Aztec community wishes Jim well in his next step!