Missouri State Director of Athletics discusses program goals in this month's letter to fans
Missouri State University's search for its new director of athletics concluded May 28, 2009, with the introduction of Kyle Moats as the University's 10th A.D. Moats came to the University after serving as associate athletics director for national marketing at the University of Louisville since 2005. During Moats' tenure at MSU, he has hired six head coaches, while leading the charge for facility upgrades totaling nearly $22 million, including the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Academic Achievement Center project, the Jim D. Morris Basketball Complex and new or renovated home facilities for 12 of MSU's 17 sports. This past academic year, he helped spearhead the passage of the Bear Experience and Recreation (B.E.A.R.) Fee, which will generate $1.4 million annually toward the enhancement of four separate athletics facilities upgrades, including the construction of a new east side complex for student seating at Plaster Stadium, a new sand volleyball facility, as well as the Betty & Bobby Allison North (field hockey) and South (soccer, track and field) Stadiums. In addition to being able to implement several facets of Missouri State's long-range athletics facility improvement plan through the B.E.A.R. Fee, Moats' played a pivotal role on the task force that paved the way for the reinstatement of women's tennis as a varsity sport in September 2013. As a result of the task force's careful evaluation and recommendation, President Clif Smart announced the return of women's tennis for the 2014-15 academic year, making it the 11th women's sport and the 17th varsity program to operate under the MSU Athletics umbrella. Missouri State's decision to revive the program after an eight-year hiatus will ensure the University's long-term compliance with Federal Title IX regulations. Additionally, Moats played an integral role in MSU's negotiations for a new multi-year television contract with Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., this past summer. In a busy first year on the job, Moats wasted little time in laying groundwork for the future of Missouri State Athletics. From day one he emphasized the importance of fostering a strategic vision in the current landscape of intercollegiate athletics by involving all corners of the campus community in developing a long-range plan for the MSU Athletics. Moats played a key role in Missouri State's partnership with Nelligan Sports Marketing (now Learfield Sports), announced in February 2010. Year two for Moats in Springfield saw Missouri State finish second in the 2010-11 MVC All-Sports Trophy standings--its best finish in five years. Conference titles by men's basketball, women's swimming and softball, as well as postseason tournament berths for both MSU basketball programs highlighted the Bears' year. In 2011-12, Moats' third year at the helm, Missouri State enjoyed its finest campaign in nearly a decade, capturing the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy for just the fourth time. The Bears won Valley titles in women's swimming and diving, women's indoor track and field, women's basketball and women's golf this year along with a co-championship in men's soccer. Additionally, four MSU teams advanced to postseason play, including NCAA Tournament appearances for the Bears' volleyball, women's golf and baseball programs. Moats' efforts helped make the Jim D. Morris Basketball Complex a reality during the 2012-13 academic year. The $3.7 million construction project, completed in December 2013, features state-of-the art locker rooms, training facilities, offices and meeting space in JQH Arena. Additionally, all MSU athletic programs have met the NCAA's APR requirements in each of the last two years, while a record 177 student-athletes posted grade-point averages of 3.25 or better in 2013-14. Prior to his arrival in Springfield, Moats spent four years as associate athletics director for national marketing at Louisville. In that capacity, he coordinated the Cardinals' efforts in national awareness, marketing, branding and group ticket sales. He also worked closely with Nelligan, which manages the exclusive marketing rights for Cardinal Athletics. Moats oversaw the Louisville band and spirit squads as the liaison with student government and student spirit groups. Prior to joining the Louisville staff, Moats served as senior associate athletic director for two years at Marquette University, where he oversaw the Golden Eagles' Blue and Gold Fund, media relations, ticket operations, special events, licensing, radio, television, marketing and promotions and sponsorships with NSM. He also worked 14 years in the University of Kentucky athletics department, including his last three there as associate athletics director for marketing (2000-02). A native of Dixon, Ill., Moats is a 1988 graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a bachelor's degree in physical education. Moats was a three-year letterwinner in golf and a student assistant basketball coach for the Cougars from 1985-88. He earned a master's degree in sports management from the University of Kentucky in 2001. Moats and his wife, Leeann, have a son, Kirk, and a daughter, Lauren.