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Mack Rhoades highlights facilities and attendance as early priorities

Before Shane Ray was selected in the NFL Draft, the biggest story of the day was Mack Rhoades' first official media gathering as Missouri's new athletic director.

Nothing that Mack Rhoades said yesterday was particularly surprising -- facilities are a top priority, Kim Anderson inherited a tough situation, Tim Jamieson's contract situation is unique -- but it was still an interesting conversation.

The Trib: Q&A with Missouri Athletic Director Mack Rhoades

Q: You mentioned increasing attendance for athletic events. Obviously, the basketball program struggled last year and so did the student attendance. How do you plan on increasing attendance from students?

A: Win games. That’s part of it. You’ve got to win, and people, that’s just human nature, people want to be associated with a winning program. They do. They want to be associated with the next best thing or next great thing, so we’ve got to win games, and that will happen. But we also have to get out and engage students and make it fun for them to come. Get out to the different student organizations, develop those relationships — who are the key people? Work with student government association, and we’ll work hard at doing that in terms of getting out and getting to know them and getting them engaged. Again, we cannot wait for people to come to us. We’ve got to get out to people, and we’ll work. I won’t say that we’ll be perfect at it, but I promise you this, we’ll work really, really hard at it.

Post-Dispatch: New Mizzou AD Rhoades attacks 90-day plan

Rhoades is scheduled to meet with baseball coach Tim Jamieson the second week of May. He called Jamieson’s contract situation "unique." His contract expires after this season. The Tigers have improved considerably after two straight last-place seasons in the SEC and should qualify for an NCAA regional. Rhoades said he hasn’t made any decisions about Jamieson’s future. Knowing how competitive the SEC is in the sport of baseball, Rhoades wants to evaluate Mizzou’s facility situation, recruiting budget and staff salaries, he said.

The Missourian: Mack Rhoades is ready to go as Missouri athletics director

Getting the right personnel in place will require Rhoades to appoint a new deputy athletics director. Doug Gillin left the position in February to take the head athletics director position at Appalachian State University.

A hire might happen soon. Rhoades said a candidate for the position is set to interview this weekend.

"If I really, really like this first person, I may not go further than that," he said.

PowerMizzou: The Rhoades Map

"Currently, I'm really focused on personnel. I've begun meeting with each staff member. We have over 200 staff members," Rhoades said. "Really want to get to know the people that make up the Mizzou athletic family. I think with 200, I'll probably finish in about a year. Really hope to finish that sometime by mid-summer.

"I've been transparent with our staff. There's going to be changes and I certainly need them to be open to those changes. This is never gonna be about one individual and their title and what's best for them. Absolutely we want to accomodate people as best we can, but this is always gonna be about what's best for Mizzou athletics. What gives us the best chance to win."

Allow me to be the first to say ... fire Rhoades.