Kyle Moats - Courtesy of Missouri State University

Missouri State Athletic Director Kyle Moats Accepts Position at Eastern Kentucky

After 15 years as the head of the Missouri State Athletic Department, Kyle Moats is leaving the Ozarks.

Eastern Kentucky University announced Monday morning that he will be the school’s new athletic director beginning July 1.

Moats has had an up-and-down tenure at Missouri State, which included dwindling attendance for Bears basketball in recent years.

Some of his biggest triumphs include the hiring of Bobby Petrino, who enjoyed success with MSU Football from 2020-2022. Of course, most recently, he was lauded for his role in the Bears move to Conference USA beginning in the 2025-26 season.

The complete press release from Eastern Kentucky can be read below:

RICHMOND, Ky. (June 10, 2024) — Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) announced Monday the selection of Kyle Moats as the new Vice President and Director of
Athletics. Moats comes to EKU following 15 years as the Director of Athletics at Missouri State University (MSU).


“Kyle’s impressive track record and extensive experience speak for itself. Securing someone of his caliber for EKU is a significant victory for our athletics program,” said
EKU President David McFaddin. “As college athletics undergoes unprecedented changes, having a seasoned leader like Kyle to guide us through this evolving landscape
is critical. We are excited about the future and confident that we will achieve great success under his leadership.”


“My family and I are extremely excited about this opportunity. This not only brings us back to Kentucky, closer to friends and family, but also to an athletics program with
a storied tradition of excellence and success,” said Moats. “EKU’s rich legacy, with numerous conference championships, speaks to the university’s commitment to sports
excellence. I’m honored to join a program that has long been prioritizing student-athletes, focusing on holistic growth, and is supported by a passionate and dedicated fan
base. I’m eager to get to work.”


Speaking of his time in Missouri, Moats added, “I first want to thank Missouri State and President Clif Smart for 15 wonderful years in Springfield. We worked together
on many tasks, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. I also want to thank the fans, alumni, students and staff for their loyal dedication to Bears Athletics during my
tenure. It was a privilege to be your AD.”


A veteran of college athletics, Moats brings 34 years of experience to his new role, with deep ties to the Commonwealth. He previously served 14 years at the University
of Kentucky athletics department, serving as associate athletics director for marketing during the last three years (2000-02). He later returned to the Commonwealth,
serving as associate director of athletics for national marketing at the University of Louisville for four years starting in 2005, before becoming the athletic director at
Missouri State.


He will begin his duties on July 1. An introductory press conference for Moats will be held on Wednesday, June 12, at 10 a.m. at the EKU Center for the Arts. The event is
open to fans, community members and members of the media.


“Hiring Kyle Moats is not just a home run for Eastern Kentucky University; it’s a grand slam,” said Interim Director of Athletics Dan McBride. “I have known Kyle for
over 20 years, and I cannot think of anyone better suited to lead our athletics department during such a pivotal time in college athletics.”


During his tenure at Missouri State, Moats led a period of significant success and growth in the athletics program financially, academically and competitively.
Beginning in 2009, he played a pivotal role in growing the MSU athletic budget from $14 million to $31 million while effectively navigating the challenges posed by the
COVID-19 pandemic, meeting all budget expectations.


Moats oversaw a sponsorship increase from $650,000 gross to $3 million and helped establish a state-wide over-the-air basketball television network deal worth $1.35
million.


He also spearheaded several successful fundraising campaigns, including a new football weight room slated for 2025 at $400,000, the collaboration with two collectives to
raise NIL money for student-athletes and several other six-figure projects.
Additionally, Moats was instrumental in initiatives that resulted in the naming of Great Southern Bank Arena, a contribution worth $5.5 million.


Under Moats’ leadership, the Bears achieved notable competitive successes, including 20 Missouri Valley Conference team championships, two FCS Football Playoff
berths (the first in 30 years in 2020) and 16 NCAA Tournament appearances.
Individually, 23 student-athletes became NCAA qualifiers across various sports, 30 student-athletes were drafted to play professionally and over 500 student-athletes were
named all-conference performers.


In recognition of his leadership, Moats was appointed to serve on the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee in February 2017 and became committee chair
prior to the 2020-21 academic year. Additionally, he served as chair of the MVC Media and Marketing Committee and on the league’s Finance Committee.


Academically, Moats spearheaded a department overhaul in student-athlete performance in the classroom, raising the cumulative department GPA from 2.88 in 2009 to
3.30 this past semester, the highest mark in MSU history. This past Spring, 304 student-athletes recorded GPAs of 3.0 or higher, with 76 posting a perfect 4.0 GPA.


During Moats’ tenure in Springfield, the department made monumental strides in the areas of student-athlete well-being, nutrition and mental health support. His efforts
helped Missouri State stay ahead of the curve nationally in those critical areas long before the NCAA’s transformational changes became part of the Division I landscape.


A native of Dixon, Illinois, Moats graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1988. He was a three-year letterwinner in golf and served as a student
assistant basketball coach for the Cougars from 1985 to 1988. In 2001, he earned a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Kentucky.


Moats and his wife, Leeann, have two adult children, Kirk and Lauren, and three grandchildren.

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