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New athletic director makes first appearance at luncheon

Kurt McGuffin stood in the middle of the room and talked to everyone that was near him.

Primped in a tan suit and Missouri Western’s colors for the first time, McGuffin finally looked at home.

The seventh athletic director at Western was introduced to a crowd of over 100 people Monday at the weekly Griffon Athletic Luncheon at 36th Street Food and Drink Company located inside Holiday Inn.

“This is a committed [place],” McGuffin said. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

McGuffin, who is currently staying in Scanlon Hall until he settles in to his new town, said that everybody should expect the Griffons to be everywhere in St. Joseph.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make [St. Joseph] proud of the black and gold,” said McGuffin, who has worked at Division I schools Colorado and Kansas State. “Expect a lot of hard work. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. It’s about relationships.”

McGuffin said that with a veteran staff under him, his job should be not only fun, but easier.

He pointed specifically to basketball coach Tom Smith, football coach Jerry Partridge and softball coach Jen Bagley.  All coaches have over 10 seasons of experience as a Griffon head coach. McGuffin stated that Smith’s 599 win total as a coach impressed him.

The Wichita State graduate beat out a list of over 80 candidates for Athletic Director. He made the final-four cut and gave a short, 20 minute public presentation in September to prove he was good enough for the position. From there, he was chosen as the guy to lead Western as the director of athletics. The job was vacant after Dave Williams’ (2008-2011) contract was not renewed.

“We have a unique opportunity here to have the best D2 facility,” McGuffin said. “I’m proud to be here. It’s a great time to be a Griffon.”

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