MSSU athletic director speaks about decision to step down, interim AD

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Southern announced Monday that Director of Athletics Jared Bruggeman would step down from the position March 16, following the completion of the winter sports season.

“Very exciting time for me as a person, for the family, and certainly for Missouri Southern has the chance to bring somebody else in and get the program working as well,” Bruggeman said.

Bruggeman has served as athletic director since 2009. During that time, Bruggeman oversaw the fundraising and completion of several athletic facilities and additions. Those projects include the Warren Turner Field, North Endzone Fieldhouse, and indoor golf practice facility, video board and artificial turf installment at Fred G. Hughes Stadium, and the complete overhaul of the strength and conditioning center at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

Bruggeman said Monday that the university continues to search for a new head football coach after letting go of Jeff Sims back in December. Bruggeman will continue to be a part of the search process, but will not make the hiring of a new coach himself.

He added that the football team will play a four game schedule this spring, but that those details are still being worked out and an announcement would be formally made once all games were lined up.

As for his future, that remains a bit more up in the air.

“You know, I’ve thought a lot about that,” Bruggeman said. “COVID has changed the world a lot and what’s important. I’m not sure if I want to be in athletics or not. Its been a great run for me. Its been 20-something years working in athletics, but also there’s other opportunities out there as well, and so I’m going to look at all the options and see what’s available.”

Current Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Event Management Cori Reid will serve as the interim athletic director once Bruggeman leaves in March.

Reid returned to Missouri Southern in 2019 after serving in the same position she currently holds from 2012 to 2014. During her time away from Southern, Reid was the athletic director at Neosho High School.

“I think Cori is a wonderful person, Bruggeman said. “When she was here before, I didn’t like it when she left and went to Neosho and after she was there for a little while, we just kept in contact and expressing interest in coming back to Southern and we had that opportunity. I jumped at the chance to bring her here. All along, there’s been a plan in place for me at least if something was to happen to me, that she would be able to step into that role. I have one hundred percent faith in her to step up in that role and do all the right things and handle all the situations. So she’s a wonderful person and Missouri Southern can’t go wrong with her.”

He added that Missouri Southern President Dean Van Galen will conduct the process of hiring a new full-time athletic director. No timetable has been made to find Bruggeman’s replacement.

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