Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades smiles during his introductory press conference Tuesday, March 10, 2015, on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
L.G. Patterson
July 13, 2016

WACO, Texas (AP) Baylor hired Mack Rhoades as its new athletic director on Wednesday, bringing in an experienced administrator it believes will help the reeling program rebound from allegations that it didn't properly handle sexual assault claims against its football players.

Rhoades had been Missouri's athletic director only since April 2015, a month after he was named to the position.

''He is a charismatic leader who pays careful attention to details and cultivates solidarity among the coaches and staff,'' interim school president David Garland said in a statement. ''He intends to build champions on the field and on the court and to mold student-athletes into champions in their lives after sports. Most importantly, he is committed to and excited by Baylor's Christian mission and vision.''

Rhoades replaces Ian McCaw, who resigned on May 30 after he was put on probation as part of Baylor's response to a scathing report about its failure to properly respond to allegations of sexual assaults. That report also led the departure of football coach Art Briles. Baylor has hired former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe to replace Briles.

The 50-year-old Rhoades previously was AD at Houston for nearly six years, where he hired former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman as head coach of the Cougars. He was also the athletic director at Akron from 2005-09, and worked in the athletic departments at UTEP, Marquette and Yale.

''I look forward to the opportunity to join Baylor University at this important time in its history,'' Rhoades said in a statement. ''I am excited to support and develop programs of the highest caliber, in facilities that are second to none, alongside coaches who are among the best in the industry, all grounded in a Christian tradition and committed to academic excellence.''

Baylor plans to formally introduce during a news conference Monday.

Much has changed at Missouri in Rhoades' 15 months on the job.

Student protests on campus over social issues and racial tensions spilled over into the athletic department last season when the football team essentially went on strike in support of the protesters, who were demanding the resignation of university systems President Tim Wolfe. Former coach Gary Pinkel and Rhoades stood by the players, who in the end didn't miss any practice time, much less a game. Both the president and school chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, resigned.

''The past year has taught me a great deal about who I am as a person and as a leader,'' Rhoades said. ''I am very grateful to the people I've worked with and come to know throughout the state of Missouri. The experience has helped galvanized a commitment to my core values and to the values I want to infuse into an athletics program.''

Pinkel retired after last season and announced he was fighting cancer. Permanent replacements for Wolfe and Loftin, who hired Rhoades, have not been hired.

Rhoades promoted defensive coordinator and former Missouri player Barry Odom to head coach, but the school, athletic department and Rhoades have faced continuing criticism from fans, boosters and state lawmakers for their handling of the players' threatened boycott. Rhoades also had to hire a new baseball coach and dealt with a Title IX office investigation of softball coach Ehren Earleywine.

The announcement of Rhoades' departure to Baylor came on the same day Missouri was one of the teams appearing at SEC football media days in Hoover, Alabama.

''He's got an opportunity that he thought was best for him and I know that I'm very, very excited about the University of Missouri and what I've got in place with my staff from a football program standpoint,'' said Odom, who had a long discussion with Rhoades on Tuesday night. ''I absolutely know we'll get a great director of athletics in here. The things we've done in the last eight months are going to set us up for the next 20 years.''

Baylor is facing at least three federal lawsuits brought by women who claim the school was indifferent to or ignored claims of sexual assault and didn't enforce federal gender discrimination protections under Title IX. When Baylor released its report May 26, school regents suspended Briles ''with intent to terminate.'' The school and Briles mutually agreed to part ways a month later.

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AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo and AP Sports Writer David Brandt contributed to this report.

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