Oct 11, 2021 11:29 AM

Missouri Western to interview three finalists for A.D. job this week

Posted Oct 11, 2021 11:29 AM
Former Missouri Western athletic director Josh Looney (left) and University president Elizabeth Kennedy (right) discuss the return of Chiefs' training camp earlier this year. Photo by Tommy Rezac.
Former Missouri Western athletic director Josh Looney (left) and University president Elizabeth Kennedy (right) discuss the return of Chiefs' training camp earlier this year. Photo by Tommy Rezac.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

Missouri Western State University will interview three finalists for director of athletics, starting Monday.

The finalists include two current NCAA Division II athletic directors and a Division I associate athletic director. Missouri Western is seeking to replace Josh Looney, who left in August to become the A.D. at the DI school University of North Alabama.

Members of the community will have an opportunity to hear from each finalist during brief presentations and open forums from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 11, Tuesday, Oct. 12 and Thursday, Oct. 14 in the Fulkerson Center.

The three finalists are below.

Rachel Burleson - Oct. 11

Rachel Burleson is currently the A.D. at NCAA Division II Franklin Pierce University. She previously served at fellow MIAA institutions, Missouri Southern State University, where she was the associate athletic director for compliance and internal operations and Northwest Missouri State University as the assistant softball coach. She has also served as an assistant athletic director at fellow NCAA Division II universities, Western State Colorado University, as external operations and gameday, and Oklahoma Panhandle State University, gameday and internal operations. 

Burleson earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from Tarleton State University, a master's degree in athletic administration from Northwest Missouri State and an MBA at Franklin Pierce.

Rachel Burleson.
Rachel Burleson.

Dwight Merilatt - Oct. 12

Currently, Dwight Merilatt serves as the executive associate athletic director for external affairs at NCAA Division I Illinois State University. Previously, Merilatt worked at the University of Evansville from 2007-2015 as associate athletics director for external affairs, then senior associate athletics director for external affairs, serving as the interim director of athletics in the summer of 2014. Prior to his time at Evansville, Merilatt spent six years at Eastern Kentucky University as assistant athletics director for marketing and corporate partnerships and director for development. He has also spent time as athletic development director and executive director of the Rams Athletic Association at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, and as general manager of the Tampa Bay FireStix, a women's professional softball team in Florida. Merilatt received his bachelor's degree in sports management from the University of Kentucky and his master's degree in sports administration from Eastern Kentucky University. 

Dwight Merilatt
Dwight Merilatt

Joel Lueken - Oct. 14

Joel Lueken has served as Athletic Director at NCAA Division II South Dakota Mines since April 2014. Lueken joined William Jewell in 2006 as athletic event management/assistant baseball coach. In 2009 Joel was named assistant athletics director and promoted again in 2012 to associate athletic director. Joel spent six years at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, in various capacities as head baseball coach, admissions recruiter, assistant women’s basketball coach, intramural director, assistant wellness coordinator and student housing assistant. He received an associate degree from Ellsworth Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University and a master’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University. 

Joel Lueken.
Joel Lueken.

No reservations are required to participate in the community forums. Missouri Western does require the use of face coverings in all indoor public spaces.