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Mizzou Morning Matters

092223_Mizzou Morning Matters

Memorial Stadium Improvements Project

What do you buy someone for their 100th birthday?

How about a $250 million makeover?

As you hopefully heard Thursday,  on the campus of Missouri S&T in Rolla, the University of Missouri Board of Curators unanimously approved DLR Group to move forward with the Memorial Stadium Improvements Project, set for completion in 2026, when the home of Mizzou football hits triple digits and officially turns 100 years old. The $250 million project will completely remake the north end of the stadium, enclose the structure, add multiple layers of premium seating and address other improvements around the stadium.

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“It all matters,” Mizzou football coach Eliah Drinkwitz told reporters Thursday in Rolla. “Everything’s evaluated when a recruit is on a visit. If you have a lesser stadium than somebody else and you’re paying the same price in NIL, then you’re outgunned, so to speak. Our state legislature and our Board was at the forefront of being creative with the NIL space. So we had an advantage there. Now I believe with the stadium project and the investment from the Board and president Choi, I think we’re just continuing to up the standard of what Mizzou football wants to be and the level that we want to compete in the SEC.”

“You’re enclosing the stadium,” he added. “So from a sound decibel standpoint, from a video LED light (standpoint), that’s going to be an incredible experience. But you’re also talking about generating revenue. When you’re talking about increasing the seating by 4,000, but all of those seats are a premium seat space and suites,  you’re talking about generating revenue. That’s going to be something that benefits the entire athletic department, not just the football program.”

Shortly after what will go down as perhaps the most impactful postgame on-field interview of Drinkwitz’s career, I joked with the head coach that he should trademark his newfound postgame slogan. You remember the interview. October 23. Kentucky. SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic asked the question.

Cubelic: “Your program is bowl-eligible midway through October. What does that mean?”

Drinkwitz: “Why stop now? Let’s keep going.”

By the following Monday morning, “Why stop now” had become the unofficial slogan across Mizzou Athletics. It was repeated in meetings throughout the week and has since emerged as the tagline for the Memorial Stadium project. What began as an aspirational message to guard against complacency and limited ambition now speaks for an entire department, university and fan base.

“The kind of success we’re determined to achieve won’t happen if we don’t act right now,” interim athletics director Marcy Girton said Thursday in Rollas. “In the SEC, if you’re standing still you’re falling behind. Coach often references a favorite quote … ‘The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime opportunity.’

“Our opportunity is now and together we can seize this moment. There’s so many ways in which you may partner with us to be part of this great adventure. We will be able to enjoy a significantly enhanced Memorial Stadium. … With all the new amenities, improved entryways, spacious concourses, updated concessions and restrooms throughout the stadium and a new event space that will be introduced in the north end zone to allow the stadium to be used year-round for the university and for the community. The introduction of several new premium experiences will provide amazing experiences at Memorial Stadium and serve as a valuable funding source for the project.”


In the latest episode of “Mizzou Storytellers,” Nikki Barry and I visited with the incredible Rachel Blunt, who serves as Mizzou’s Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Student-Athlete Development & Championship Performance. She’s also the department’s Senior Woman Administrator and serves as sport administrator for women’s basketball, softball, swimming and diving and volleyball. The former college basketball standout at Southeast Missouri State, Rachel shares the story of her journey from Dexter, Missouri to Mizzou’s Senior Leadership Team.


Three-time NCAA champion and Mizzou icon J’den Cox delivered an emotional scene at the 2024 US Wrestling Olympic Trials on Friday in State College, Pennsylvania. Shortly after Cox lost to Kollin Moore in the 97-kg field and was eliminated from contention, he took off his wrestling boots, gave them a kiss and left them on the mat — a symbolic gesture that he was officially retiring from the sport. Cox, 29, a two-time World Champion, the bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics and NCAA champion in 2014, 2016 and 2017, later eloquently explained his decision.

“I’m losing to guys that I was beating before and doing a disservice to myself and to them to stay part of it,” Cox told NBC Sports after his final match. “On top of that, I think now my wife, my wife, kids, I’m in a position now where I’m done trying to conquer the world. And I’m going to try and make it better for them. That’s my goal from here on out. … I have a massive respect for this sport. To walk away, it’s hard. I love the sport, but you know, I’ve had a great career. So it’s been good.”

“I wish things would have come out better. But at the end of the day, we’ve we’ve gotten to places so people just dream of. We’ve accomplished things people dream of. And I can walk away. I always think about my career as a rocking chair. When I get older, and I’m sitting in my rocking chair, and I look back, be proud of it now at this moment in time. So no regrets for me.”


Sean East II: Fresh off the season of his college career, the point guard turned heads at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Virginia, last week, averaging 20 points per game off the bench to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team. East shot 57% from the field and 95% from the foul line while averaging 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Portal shopping for Dennis Gates and Robin Pingeton. Mizzou women’s basketball announced the addition of former New Mexico/Syracuse guard Nyah Wilson, last season’s Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the Year at New Mexico, where she averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. The Dallas native had 11 20-point games for the Lobos.

Stay tuned for more official announcements on transfer additions for the two programs.

Alex Honnold: With her 20th double of the season Saturday at Georgia, the senior outfielder set the program’s single-season record, surpassing Mary Babb, who had 19 doubles in 1995. Honnold’s 20 doubles rank second nationally to East Carolina’s Emma Jackson’s 22.

Brock Daniels: Mizzou’s leadoff hitter and left fielder extended his hitting streak to nine games Sunday and is now hitting .420 in 13 April games this month. The sophomore from St. Louis has three home runs and 19 RBIs this month.

Mizzou NFL draft stock: The NFL Draft kicks off with the first round Thursday in Detroit, where Mizzou All-SEC defensive lineman and two-team team captain Darius Robinson will be in the green room as one of 13 first-round prospects invited to attend the action. The Detroit native is widely projected as a late first-round prospect. His most common mock draft destinations per various outlets: Arizona (No. 27), Detroit (No. 29) and San Francisco (No. 31).

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler released his annual seven-round NFL mock draft. Here’s where he projected the Tigers in the draft:

Second Round

40. Washington Commanders: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB

41. Green Bay Packers: Darius Robinson, DL

Third Round

99. Los Angeles Rams: Kris Abrams-Draine, CB

Fourth Round

122. Chicago Bears: Javon Foster, OT

Fifth Round

155. Los Angeles Rams: Cody Schrader, RB

Sixth Round

202. Green Bay Packers: Ty’Ron Hopper, LB


Q: Last week, former Mizzou football player and longtime NFL coach and executive Bill Tobin died at the age of 83. Bill and his younger brother, Vince, are one of five pairs of siblings in the Mizzou Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. Vince was inducted in 2008; Bill in 1997. Who are the other sets of Hall of Fame siblings?



Baseball vs Missouri State, 6 p.m., SEC Network+


Men’s Golf vs SEC Championship (St. Simons Island, Georgia)


Men’s Golf vs SEC Championship (St. Simons Island, Georgia)

Baseball at Tennessee, 6 p.m. SEC Network (Knoxville, Tennessee)


Men’s Golf vs SEC Championship (St. Simons Island, Georgia)

Track & Field at Ward Haylett Invitational (Manhattan, Kansas)

Baseball at Tennessee, 5:30 p.m., SEC Network+ (Knoxville, Tennessee)


Men’s Golf vs SEC Championship (St. Simons Island, Georgia)

Track & Field at Ward Haylett Invitational (Manhattan, Kansas)

Baseball at Tennesse, 11 a.m. SEC Network (Knoxville, Tennessee)

Softball vs. Mississippi State, 8 p.m., SEC Network


Men’s Golf vs SEC Championship (St. Simons Island, Georgia)

Softball vs. Mississippi State, 5 p.m., SEC Network


A: Wrestlers Ben Askren (Class of 2011) and Max Askren (2015); wrestling’s Shaon Fry (1999) and baseball’s Ryan Fry (2009); football, men’s track and field’s and men’s basketball’s Clay Cooper (1991) and track and field’s and men’s and basketball’s John Cooper (1992); and swimmers Kevin DeForrest (2003) and Patty DeForrest (2005).


Mizzou opens the 2024 football season Aug. 29 against Murray State at Memorial Stadium. The Tigers also host home games against Southeastern Conference opponents Vanderbilt, Auburn, Oklahoma and Arkansas, plus nonconference contests against Buffalo and Boston College. Purchase your 2024 season tickets now by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS or buying online.

Those interested in learning how to support Mizzou Athletics can contact the Tiger Scholarship Fund Office at 573-882-0704 and visit


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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics