Missouri State's Rowe to be Inducted into NACDA Hall of Fame
Missouri State Director of Athletics Bill Rowe will be inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame at ceremonies in Orlando, Fla., on June 19.
Rowe will be enshrined with fellow inductees Bill Baird (Rhode Island College), Bob Burns (John Brown University), Jim Copeland (Southern Methodist University), Barbara Hedges (University of Washington), Bobby May (Rice University), Orby Moss Jr. (Georgia State University), and Phil Roach (Rollins College) at the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Awards Luncheon, sponsored by NCAA Football, as part of the NACDA 44th Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando.
Rowe will retire as director of athletics on June 30, a post he has held since 1982. He has been affiliated with the university for more than 50 years, including his time as a student, athletics business manager and a coach.
"It's truly an honor to be considered by my peers for this honor, and I am very grateful for the opportunity," said Rowe. "Things like this are not possible without years of hard work by our coaches and staff, the dedication of our student-athletes, and the great support of our fans and boosters. I am extremely fortunate and proud of this honor for our University."
Rowe became Athletics Director as Missouri State was transitioning to NCAA Division I status in 1982. During his tenure, the MSU men’s and women’s intercollegiate teams have made 46 trips to the NCAA championships along with numerous individual NCAA appearances, achieving national recognition almost immediately. Two teams, women’s volleyball and softball, made NCAA Tournament appearances during the school’s first season at the Division I level.
Under Rowe, the Bears Fund foundation, established in conjunction with the move to Division I, has grown exponentially, as has the Annual Auction Benefiting Intercollegiate Athletics which developed under Rowe in 1987. The Bears Fund alone has raised more than $34 million to contribute to the financial stability of MSU’s Intercollegiate Athletics programs.
Likewise, the expansion and improvement of athletics facilities on and around campus have been the envy of Rowe’s contemporaries around the nation. Missouri State’s athletics teams now enjoy some of the finest practice, competition and support facilities in the region. Most noteworthy among the many capital projects undertaken by Rowe and his staff are the new JQH Arena, which opened in November; Forsythe Athletic Center renovation in 2002-03; Plaster Field improvements from 1987-91 and the new Plaster Field scoreboard in 2008; multiple renovations to Hammons Student Center, including the most-recent upgrades in the summer of 2008; and collaborative efforts with community facilities such as Hammons Field, Cooper Tennis Complex, various golf courses, and Killian Softball Stadium.
Rowe was named Executive of the Year by the Mid-Continent Conference four times, including Missouri State’s final year in the conference in 1989-90. A charter member of the league in 1982-83, MSU won 30 titles overall and 20 titles in its last four seasons in the conference before joining the Missouri Valley Conference in 1990-91. The Missouri Valley Conference transition proved to be a unifying force on campus just a few short years later when the MVC absorbed the women’s Gateway Conference, incorporating the men’s and women’s programs into one conference for the first time in school history. He served on the Missouri Valley Conference transition committee to incorporate women’s athletics into the league in 1992.
As a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, Missouri State has finished in the top five in all but one season in the 10-team Valley all-sports competition. Missouri State has won the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Title three times 2000, 2002 and 2003.
Rowe has also served on various national committees and assisted with NCAA events on numerous occasions. Missouri State has hosted NCAA Division I and Division II regional and national events in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, wrestling, football and volleyball during Rowe’s tenure as athletic director, coach and business manager. He has also served as chair of the NCAA Division II All-America and Coach of the Year committees and spent five years on the American Baseball Coaches Association Executive Committee. He served on the NCAA Division I FBS Committee and Division I Baseball Committee. He has served two terms as chair of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee and been an NCAA representative at more than 20 baseball regionals and super regionals.
Honors have also been frequently bestowed on Rowe. In 1988, he was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame and named an MSU Outstanding Alumnus. He was inducted into the Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994, the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
In recent years, the establishment of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, Student-Athletic Advisory Committee and Student-Athlete Code of Conduct by Rowe and his staff have helped solidify the University’s standing as a national leader in character education and reinforced the statewide Public Affairs mission of the Springfield campus. Likewise, Rowe’s determination and hard work on behalf of the University have positively impacted thousands of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and colleagues during his storied career.
NACDA, now in its 44th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the