Mizzou athletic director Jim Sterk says he's not leaving for same spot at UCF
Speculation sprouted Friday about Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk being a top candidate for the same vacant spot at Central Florida.
At 8:40 p.m. Friday, Sterk put an end to those rumors first circulated Friday morning, saying he wasn't a candidate in the search.
Sterk expressed he has no plans to leave Missouri.
“I do not normally comment on speculation on social media. But, over the last 24 hours several media members have indicated that I may be involved in the Athletic Director’s search at the University of Central Florida," Sterk wrote in a statement shared with local media Friday night. "I am not a candidate at UCF.
"We have great momentum at Mizzou and Mizzou Athletics, and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s Top 20 basketball showdown in Mizzou Arena."
By Friday afternoon, multiple outlets reported the possibility of Sterk making the move. The Knights are looking to replace Danny White, who was hired by Tennessee on Jan. 21 to be the Volunteers' athletic director.
There's pressure at UCF to find a new athletic director. The football team doesn't have a head coach, either. Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel went from the Knights' helm to Knoxville to be Tennessee's head coach Jan. 27.
Sterk holds a clear connection to UCF through the leader of its campus. Alexander Cartwright, previously the chancellor at MU for three years, is now the president at UCF. Cartwright was hired in Orlando last March after helping Sterk hire Eli Drinkwitz to be Missouri's head football coach in December 2019.
Another connection hits closer to home: Sterk’s daughter Amy has worked in UCF's athletic department as director of executive operations.
Sterk is in year No. 5 of seven-year contract that pays him a guaranteed $700,000 annually through June 30, 2023. White was reportedly making $1.1 million as UCF’s athletic director.
Sterk's contract features up to $150,000 in incentives plus $150,000 per year in deferred compensation, meaning the total value could be as high as $1 million per year.
"Currently, we have eight nationally-ranked programs and our student-athletes are performing exceedingly well in the classroom," Sterk wrote. "The basketball team under Coach Cuonzo Martin will be vying for the SEC and national championship this year. The football team under Coach Eli Drinkwitz reached the Top 25 and signed one of the best incoming recruiting classes in our history.
"I am also excited to see the planned new Football Indoor Practice Facility completed in the next few years to attract and retain the very best talent. The future is very bright for Mizzou Athletics.
"My wife, two of my three daughters, son-in-law and grand-daughter enjoy Columbia, and I’m excited to work with the Board of Curators, President (Mun) Choi, our coaches, staff and talented student-athletes to continue the winning tradition at Mizzou.”
Contact Eric Blum at email@example.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.
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