By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western State University Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Josh Looney, will be leaving the school to accept a similar post at the University of North Alabama.
Looney says he wasn’t looking to leave.
“I right here had the best job in (NCAA) Division II. So, it would have to take something special to draw me away from here,” Looney tells reporters at Spratt Stadium. “Hey, I grew up in this league (MIAA). I love this league. The commissioner hired me when I worked for the NCAA, our family loves St. Joseph. So, certainly not seeking out opportunities, but again, sometimes opportunities find you.”
Looney came to Missouri Western in 2017 as the Athletic Director. In 2019, he was promoted to Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics. He also serves as the Interim Vice President of University Advancement and Executive Director of the MWSU Foundation during the 2020-21 academic year.
Looney succeeds former Missouri Western Athletic Director Mark Linder at North Alabama.
Looney says he wasn’t looking to leave the St. Joseph school, but says an opportunity arose to take over the athletic department at the University of North Alabama, which has transitioned from Division II to Division I. Looney calls North Alabama a tremendous place with a very strong reputation as a Division II powerhouse, moving up a division.
Looney says that when he looks back, it isn’t the wins and losses that stand out, but the team he has assembled.
“People for sure,” Looney says. “I mean, you can look at buildings and renovations and fundraising and the classroom success and all those things, but if you don’t have buy-in from people to your culture; that’s what your culture is, right? To where we know what’s important, we know what our mission is and kind of that little bit of chip on our shoulder to, hey, let’s not let the status quo ever be a thing here.”
Looney, who formerly worked for the Kansas City Chiefs, has been instrumental in keeping the Chiefs at Missouri Western for their training camp. He negotiated a new multi-year agreement with the NLF team in 2020. The Chiefs open their 11th training camp at Missouri Western this week.
Missouri Western has enjoyed success during his tenure guiding Griffon sports.
The university reports that academically, Griffon student-athletes have set new records for departmental GPA for seven consecutive semesters. In the community, Missouri Western has been recognized with three consecutive NCAA Awards of Excellence for its community contributions.
Eleven different Griffon teams made NCAA Division II postseason appearances during his tenure.
Several facility improvements have taken place under Looney’s watch, including a full renovation of the MWSU Fieldhouse, the Bill Snyder Pavilion at Spratt Memorial Stadium, and locker room renovations for several teams.
"I'm very sad personally and professionally to see Josh go," University president Elizabeth Kennedy said. "He's a great guy and he's done such tremendous things. Fundraising, facilities, the academic piece. That kind of legacy will set the stage very well at Missouri Western."
Missouri Western says the University will begin the search for Looney’s successor immediately.
Looney will begin his new duties at North Alabama in Florence on September 1st.
Looney succeeds another former Missouri Western Athletic Director at North Alabama: Mark Linder. Lender was Missouri Western AD for four years before taking over in Florence in 2007. Lender stepped down at UNA earlier this year.