There’s always a learning curve that comes with stepping into a new position, says Rob Mallory, who began as Missouri Southern’s new athletics director on July 1.

But even as he leaves one meeting to almost immediately begin another, he says he’s getting up to speed with his new position and is already feeling at home.

“Never for a second has it felt like this isn’t where I’m supposed to be,” says Mallory. “This community seems special. They have been so welcoming and embraced my family.”

Mallory previously served as vice president of intercollegiate athletics at Kentucky Wesleyan, an NCAA Division II school with 21 varsity sport programs. Prior to that, he had served as the school’s director of athletics.  From 2010-15, he was the associate director of athletics at Quincy University in Illinois.

He says he’s excited about the potential for the Lions athletic programs.

“I think the sky’s the limit,” he says. “We’ve got great coaches who aren’t just coaches – they’re leaders of young men and women. And we’re coming off second place in the MIAA Commissioner’s Cup, and had a lot of success in track and field, baseball and softball.”

“But when I think about our potential, I don’t think about it just in terms of competitive success. It’s also about being successful in fulfilling the mission and vision of the institution … preparing our young men and women to be leaders beyond Missouri Southern, and equipping them to be successful in the world.”

Having joined the university early in the tenure of a new president and with a new football coach, Mallory says there’s a sense of excitement within the department (as well as the community) and he’s happy to be a part of it.

“Terrence Scott, our director of ticketing, says he’s never seen so many requests this early for tickets from our Lionbackers for football and basketball,” he says. “I think that’s indicative of how much people have missed it. Sometimes you take for granted the ability to go to a football game on a Saturday afternoon or a basketball game on a Thursday evening.

“There’s a lot of excitement within the community and in the Athletics Department to get back out in front of our fans.”

As the Fall 2021 semester begins, Mallory is ready to get back in the game.

“I think Missouri Southern is a special place, and I don’t think for a second we’ve reached our full potential,” he says.

“But I know what we have here, and the people we have here. It’s an exciting time to be a Lion. I can’t wait to see what we’re going to be able to achieve together.”