SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Drury University Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Fisher announced his intentions to retire at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. The upcoming year will be Fisher’s fourth as Drury’s athletics director.
During his tenure, the Panthers have won six Great Lakes Valley Conference championships and appeared in 16 NCAA-II national tournaments.
The Drury athletics department also experienced significant growth under Fisher adding wrestling and women’s bowling as NCAA programs in addition to shooting sports and STUNT as non-NCAA sports. The number of student-athletes enrolled at Drury has grown from 290 in his first year to nearly 450 in 2017-18.
“I am grateful to Mark for giving us ample time to find his successor – a testament to his leadership and professionalism,” said Drury University President, Dr. Timothy Cloyd. “At the same time, I am sorry to see Mark leave our Drury family. While he has only been here a short time, he has made a positive and lasting impact on our institution.”
In 2017, Fisher co-chaired a Blue Ribbon Committee on the prevention of hazing and helped produce a report and program that is serving as a model for institutions and campuses nationwide.
Fisher has compiled a distinguished list of accomplishments and accolades, both on and off the court, in more than three decades of involvement with athletics. Earlier this year, he was honored with the Gary Filbert Award from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association as a lifetime achievement honoree for his work in basketball as a coach and administrator, and in 2015, he was inducted into the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame.
For 12 years, Fisher was the athletic director and director of physical education for the Springfield Public Schools overseeing the activities programs for the city’s five high schools and nine middle schools that included a roster of more than 300 positions reporting directly to him. Under his leadership, $3.5 million was raised through corporate partnerships to fund the Healthy Place to Play Initiative. The program allowed for athletic facilities improvements which were completed during the 2012-13 school year.
In addition, Fisher served as tournament director for the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, the most attended high school basketball event in the nation that perennially features the top prep talent in the United States. He was also the organizer for the annual Pink & White Lady Classic, the elite girls’ high school tournament held each winter in Springfield.
Fisher coached boys’ basketball in addition to a variety of other sports at Greenwood High School in Springfield from 1989 to 2003, Owensville High School from 1986-89 and Stanberry High School from 1981-86. He guided Greenwood to a state runner-up finish in 1991, was the Co-Coach of the Year in the state that season and was twice named the Springfield Tip-Off Club Coach of the Year. He won 58 games in three years as the boys’ basketball coach at Owensville, and he guided the Stanberry girls’ track & field team to a state championship in 1982.
The next director of athletics at Drury University will be only the sixth individual to hold that position on a full-time basis since 1965.