Ex-Mizzou linebacker Mark Alnutt introduced as athletic director

Friday, April 20, 2012
Mark Alnutt laughs as he is introduced Thursday as the new athletic director at Southeast Missouri State. (ADAM VOGLER)

Mark Alnutt said the timing of being hired to lead an athletic department for the first time could not have been any better.

Alnutt was named Southeast Missouri State's new athletic director Thursday, which also happened to be his son Mason's fifth birthday.

"It's very exciting, especially on my son's birthday," Alnutt said. "We called him and he started dancing."

Alnutt, a former Missouri football player who has spent the last 14 years at the state's flagship university, was introduced during a news conference on the Southeast campus.

"It's a thrill and an honor to be the next director of athletics at Southeast Missouri State University," said Alnutt, a 39-year-old native of Kansas City, Mo.

Alnutt will begin his duties with the Redhawks on or about May 21, according to a release from the university. He agreed to a five-year deal, but the contract numbers have not been finalized.

"There's some base numbers there that once the contract is officially executed, we'll be able to have an opportunity to be able to see that," he said. "But there are a few incentives that Dr. [Ken] Dobbins and I will have to work out. All in all, it's a very good contract."

He drew high praise from his current boss.

"Mark has done such a great job for us at Mizzou," said Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, who was on hand for the announcement Thursday along with several other members of Alden's staff. "We hate to lose Mark, but I think Southeast Missouri State University is getting a terrific leader.

"Just the values and integrity they [Alnutt and his wife, Kate] have. ... I think it's going to mean great things for Southeast Missouri State University."

Southeast president Ken Dobbins said Alnutt was chosen from an original field of 73 applicants. The list was narrowed to eight and ultimately to two finalists who participated in on-campus interviews Wednesday and Thursday, the day of the announcement.

Alnutt said he did not find out that he had gotten the job until 2:45 p.m. Thursday. He met with Southeast's coaches a short time later before his introductory news conference attended by Southeast coaches, administrators and boosters.

"It's been a busy day," said a smiling Alnutt, who played linebacker and tight end for Missouri from 1993 to 1995 after originally joining the program as a walk-on.

Alnutt, Southeast's first African-American athletic director, said he strives for a well-rounded athletic program that maintains high academic standards and prepares students for life after athletics. He believes Southeast already is doing a strong job in that area, as evidenced by the university's recent scholar-athlete reception.

A school-record 200 athletes were recognized for achieving a 3.0 or better grade-point average this year. That mark represents more than 62 percent of all Southeast athletes. Nineteen athletes registered perfect 4.0 GPAs. Eleven of Southeast's 15 intercollegiate athletic teams recorded a GPA of better than 3.0.

"That is tremendous," he said. "That shows me the coaches are recruiting the right student-athletes."

Alnutt said one of the first things that drew him to pursue the position was the many good things he had heard about Cape Girardeau.

"I was told how great the community is, how friendly the people are," he said. "Family is big to me, and I think it's a great place to raise a family. And when you talk to people, people talk about Southeast Missouri State University being a sleeping giant."

Alnutt said he sees an athletic director's role as being wide-ranging.

"Multiple roles," he said. "Building on existing relationships in the campus, the community, the region and cultivating new relationships is important.

"You're in a position to be able to raise awareness, resources. It's about being a leader, taking us to the next level not just in the Ohio Valley Conference but from a national standpoint."

Alnutt said he plans to be in Cape Girardeau at various times before he officially starts his duties at Southeast and while he finishes up his responsibilities at Missouri.

And he said Southeast Missouri residents should expect to see a lot of him once he settles in here for good.

"I have a lot of passion for what I do. I'm a people person," he said. "I don't feel like you can get the job done from behind your desk."

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