UMKC's new chancellor won't start the search for a new athletics director until he sees a "working blueprint for the future," he said Tuesday.
C. Mauli Agrawal issued a statement about the athletics department, which is in transition after athletics director Carla Wilson was reassigned last week to the chancellor's office, where she'll be the senior director of student support services.
Agrawal wants the athletics department to spend four months figuring out how the program can make more money in coming years "to help the university meet the fiscal challenges that face us."
He mentioned the school's membership in the Western Athletic Conference, saying that "our expectations should be and will be to compete for championships." The move to the WAC happened in 2013, as Wilson came on as AD. KCUR reported earlier this year that though some teams have found success, the athletics department lost money during the 2016-17 school year, according to NCAA records filed with the University of Missouri System.
Ursula Gurney is the interim AD, and Agrawal said she'll be joined by former Mizzou AD Mike Alden, who is taking on the role of senior adviser to the chancellor regarding athletics. Alden was Mizzou's AD for 17 years at Mizzou, stepping down in 2015, but not before shifting the Tigers from the Big 12 to the SEC.
"It is imperative that we increase support and awareness of UMKC Athletics," Agrawal wrote in his statement, adding that he wants to capitalize on the school's Division I status in the Kansas City area.
The WAC is a far-flung, mid-major conference, with the closest competitor being Chicago State. Otherwise, the Kangaroos have to travel to places like Seattle. UMKC won five team championships in 2016-17, but not in sports that bring in money, like basketball.
KCUR is licensed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators and is an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Erica Hunzinger is the editor of Harvest Public Media and a contributor to KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter: @ehunzinger