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Mizzou receives $10 million gift from Kansas City Sports Trust

The money will go toward upgrading football facilities.

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Big news from Missouri this morning:

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is pleased to announce that it has received a $10 million gift from the Kansas City Sports Trust. The Trust has given the gift toward the building of football facilities, which are currently being developed in the master planning process by Athletics and campus facilities.

"We are so pleased to make this announcement today," said Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. "The Kansas City Sports Trust has stepped up with a tremendous leadership gift that demonstrates true philanthropic giving. We're so appreciative of this support, and we're hopeful that this will encourage others to join in and help us achieve our goals of building football facilities that put us in the upper echelon of the Southeastern Conference. Making this facility become a reality is critical to our commitment in providing one of the best student-athlete experiences in the country," Sterk said.

Sterk said the gift is an important starting point to kick off a fundraising campaign for the football facility project. Specific details and scope of the campaign and the project will be announced at a later date after plans are approved and finalized.

There have been quite a few plans and intentions regarding Mizzou’s football facilities over recent years, and from the moment Jim Sterk was hired to replace Mack Rhoades as athletic director, it was clear this would be an early focus of his.

Part of Sterk’s transition has included multiple conversations with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and his predecessor, Mike Slive. Both told Sterk that Mizzou is behind in facilities, so one of the new A.D.’s top priorities is “a crystallized and focused vision” for a football practice facility on par with other SEC schools.

This has become a frustration around Mizzou, with previous A.D. Mack Rhoades slow-tracking the process, but Sterk wants enough of a plan and fundraising to break ground in the next year. This project will feel a tug between urgency and quality, because facilities like this are a major factor in recruiting.

Odom’s vision of expanding Mizzou’s recruiting base is interesting, but won’t matter as much if the school doesn’t have the facilities — or, at least, a tangible plan — to back it up.

“That’s no secret,” Sterk says. “That’s what we need to focus on.”

Barry Odom was very enthusiastic about working with Sterk on plans.

Football coach Barry Odom, perhaps Sterk’s most important employee, met his new boss Thursday morning then later in the day to discuss plans for a new football facility that will feature new locker rooms and coaches’ offices.

“We’re going to get rolling,” Odom said. “It’s exciting for me because there’s been a lot of talk about that. Our kids need that.”

Odom watched Sterk’s news conference alongside most of Mizzou’s head coaches. He came away impressed.

“I’m damn excited,” Odom said. “I like his aggressive nature. He’s very matter of fact. He talked about wanting to win and planning to win a championship. That excites me. That’s what I believe in.”

Within a few weeks on the job, Sterk has secured a chunk of funding for turning new facilities into a reality. Can’t wait to read more specifics in the coming weeks.