Kurt McGuffin is a great fundraiser and a great man.
Those were the words that Missouri Western President Robert Vartabedian said made McGuffin a worthy candidate and the reason he was chosen to become the new Athletic Director at Missouri Western.
“Certainly with the budgetary crunch that we’re experiencing, those kinds of skills were obviously very important to us,” Vartabedian said. “Bottom line is: We believe he has the professionalism and the experience to be an exceptional A.D. at Missouri Western.”
McGuffin was not present at the press conference. Instead he was contacted via phone to talk about his new position.
“I’m truly honored to be selected as the director of athletics at Missouri Western,” McGuffin said. “These athletic director positions are hard to get at any level, and making a decision as athletic director can be even harder. I feel the four candidates that were finalists were very qualified.”
McGuffin said he was pleased to be a part of Western because he could tell by the way the selection process worked that Western is a good place to be.
“I think I was pretty clear on campus that I expect our focus to be on our department being good servants to this university and the community.”
The new A.D. pointed to one of his mentors, Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder as a key reason he is going to be at Western.
Snyder, who was born and raised in St. Joseph, said that McGuffin would make a great athletic director.
“He’s an extremely hard worker who will engage Missouri Western and its constituents in a very forthright and caring way,” Snyder said.
Both Howard McCauley and Vartabedian said that choosing an A.D. quickly made sense because Dan Nicoson is going to retire soon, and all the candidates deserved to know who it was going to be. Each person also said any of the four would have made a quality director
“We had a great pool to pick from,” McCauley said.
McGuffin’s duties will officially begin on Oct. 31. McGuffin said he is excited and ready to take over this job.
“[I want to] go out in the community,” McGuffin said. “I think we need to look at all of our sports across the board, and when we build facilities, we want it done right.”
The Wichita State graduate also stated that because of his history with the area, he is thrilled to be an Athletic Director.
“St. Joseph is what I’m used to,” McGuffin said. “I grew up in the footprint of the MIAA in Southeast Kansas, and I can drive to nine schools within three hours of my hometown. My history there and my knowledge of this conference is fun and exciting.”
Relationships are important to McGuffin, and he said he is ready to establish them with Western, the community and the Kansas City Chiefs. With a good relationship with the Chiefs, Western will be able to keep the summer camp here for years to come.
McGuffin graduated from Wichita State in 1999, three years after receiving his bachelor’s of science from Kansas State. He was the assistant athletic director at Kansas State before moving on to Colorado, where he has held that position for the past two years. McGuffin strongly expressed interest in helping students out at Western, and that was a key factor in drawing his attention towards Division II athletics.
As for the current director, Nicoson is set to retire in June 2012. He took over as the Athletic Director shortly after Dave Williams’ contract was not renewed last summer. Williams had been the A.D. since March 2008.