Alden receives two-year contract extension

Friday, September 28, 2007

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Not too long ago, Missouri athletics director Mike Alden was fighting for his professional life.

Alden, 49, has always been a polarizing figure, and remains so. But on Wednesday, the man who has led Missouri's athletics department for nearly a decade signed a two-year contract extension.

Alden's guaranteed annual salary was raised to $525,000, a $70,000 increase.

He also receives a $200,000 annual annuity, a $30,000 increase. The contract was set to expire in 2010 but now runs through 2012.

The latest deal is the seventh contract amendment and extension signed by Alden since his original agreement nine years ago. He previously spent two years as athletics director at Southwest Texas State University

University of Missouri-Columbia chancellor Brady Deaton, Alden's boss, said the raise and contract extension reflect the university's confidence in Alden.

"We're very happy with his leadership, and the outstanding achievements of academic success among student athletes," Deaton said in an interview.

Deaton, a member of the Big 12 Conference's executive committee, said Missouri's athletics program is the envy of many others in the region and the country.

"We are viewed as just a model program in many ways, with tremendous national respect," the chancellor said.

For Alden, his professional nadir came when Snyder spoke out about his forced departure. Rather than directly tell the coach it was time to go, Alden sent Tiger broadcaster Gary Link to deliver what amounted to a midseason ultimatum: quit now or be fired later.

A protracted dispute over Snyder's departure led to two university investigations; both stopped short of verifying Snyder's account.

Snyder wound up quitting with six regular season games remaining, a day after the conversation with Link. Missouri stumbled to a 12-16 record and finished the season under interim coach Melvin Watkins, who remains an assistant to Anderson.

Alden subsequently apologized for his handling of the Snyder affair. Curators, in turn, sought and gained greater oversight of campus athletics by limiting long-term deals with coaches to five years.

The board, 10 political appointees selected by the governor, also now requires annual reports from athletic directors at each of the four system campuses. The reports outline finances, graduation rates, academic exemptions and other management details.

Well aware of Alden's mixed reception in Columbia and the rest of the state, Deaton said that Missouri's athletics director is a high-profile leader among his peers -- and a regular target of recruiters looking to boost their athletics programs.

"Effective leaders like Mike are always sought after in higher education," he said.

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