Spring Letter From the Director of Athletics
April 29, 2013
Dear Bear Fans-
It’s been a very busy spring. All of our spring sports are headed down the home stretch, and much has happened since my last letter.
President Clif Smart asked that I chair the search for the new Vice President for Student Affairs. I was privileged to be part of the process. I want to thank my fellow committee members for assisting in this process while I was involved in another high profile search.
As you are aware, we made a change in our women’s basketball program by hiring Kellie Harper. Kellie comes from outstanding pedigree. She has been a success at every stop in her career, and I consider us fortunate to have her in the MSU family. She has a great appreciation for our tradition, and I know you will find her engaging and very down to earth. Please welcome her and her husband Jon along with the other members of her staff -- Jennifer Sullivan, Scott Moore and someone else you may have heard of, Jackie Stiles. I know you will share in my excitement that Jackie has decided to come back home to be part of Kellie’s staff.
We recently made significant changes to our ticket pricing for women’s basketball. The response to these changes has been very incredible. Many of our seat assessments have been drastically reduced or eliminated. Most season tickets are now $120, instead of the $259 you paid last year. If you’re a season ticket holder, I encourage you to find a friend to bring to the games or convince to be a season ticket holder. If you went away for a while, I encourage you to come back. The price is very affordable, and our product will continue to improve under Coach Kellie’s leadership. As part of these drastic ticket changes, I encourage you to look closely at our Boomer’s Kids Club Membership. It has great benefits for young families. Part of our restructuring was aimed at helping young families and kids attend our games. Please go to MissouriStateBears.com to receive more specific details regarding the restructuring of our ticket prices.
I’d like to congratulate softball head coach Holly Hesse on her 25 years at Missouri State. Holly is one of our most-respected coaches, and she is a great mentor and community leader. She truly has a life-long passion for MSU. The impact she has had on student-athletes is what coaching is all about. Congratulations to Coach Hesse on her successes on and off the field.
Coming up in early May is our Bears All-Sport Showcase. This event showcases the achievements of our student-athletes over the past year. The students put on the show, vote on the award winners in every category and present the awards. It’s one of my favorite nights of the year because it showcases our students. In addition to this event, we also conducted our third annual Maroon & White Dinner celebrating the academic achievements of our student-athletes while recognizing those faculty that make a difference. A special thanks goes out to Associate Provost Rachelle Darabi for speaking, and I also want to thank The Bank of Missouri for sponsoring this great event. A record 157 student-athletes achieved a 3.25 GPA or better.
Much has been publicized regarding our intentions to renovate Plaster Sports Stadium. As President Smart has articulated, it is our hope to replace the east (student) side of the stadium after the 2013 football season. In addition to this change, we hope to remove the track and soccer field and move both sports to a new facility north of Glass Hall. We have been in constant communication with student leaders regarding this initiative. Athletics and Campus Recreation/Intramurals would share usage of the new track and soccer field. In addition to the soccer/track field, another field could be developed for lacrosse, field hockey and intramural softball.
A recent student survey showed overwhelming support to proceed with a student fee. The amount of the fee is yet to be determined. The facility fee would hopefully get to a vote by the students during Homecoming this fall. All these ideas are predicated on a potential fee being passed by the students. I’m encouraged and excited to be working with the student leaders to move this initiative across the finish line. It is imperative to the future of our athletics program that we make the necessary improvement if we are to be competitive.
President Smart also commissioned a Task Force to study the possibility of adding women’s sports and or reconfiguring the existing sports we have. I’m happy to report that the task force is near completion of that report. Our deadline to submit our final recommendation to President Smart is April 30. A special thanks goes out to chairman Jim Hutter and the entire task force.
I was encouraged by what I saw at the spring game. We made it through camp with no significant injuries. If you haven’t inquired about season tickets, please do so. This year is going to be an exciting year for MSU football as we have 17 returning starters. We have a six-game home schedule, including our home opener under the lights on Thursday, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m.
Finally, to all of our spring sports -- baseball, softball, men’s golf, and track -- best of luck to you the remainder of the season and especially in your conference tournament. I encourage fans to get out and support these teams and specifically these student-athletes. Please go to MissouriStateBears.com for schedules, news and all you need to know about our athletics department.
Upcoming Important dates-