Kansas City, Mo. -- Former Missouri Southern Athletics Director Sallie Beard has been given the NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization announced today.
The honorees will be celebrated October 13 at the NIKE Lifetime Achievement, Legacy and Presidential Leadership Awards Luncheon in conjunction with the 2014 NACWAA National Convention in Louisville, Ky.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by NIKE, is bestowed annually to administrators who have dedicated their professional careers to advancing women in sport, rendered meritorious service and retired from or are no longer directly involved in the profession. Honorees are nominated by their peers and selected by past NACWAA Lifetime Achievement winners.
Beard served Missouri Southern as both a coach and athletic director for 37 years before her retirement in 2009. She almost single-handedly started up women’s athletics at Missouri Southern when she became the first head coach of the sports of women’s basketball, softball and tennis, and later coached track and field. She was the athletic department’s Women’s Athletic Director for 25 years before being named the first sole Athletic Director at MSSU in 2001.
Beard helped usher in a new era in MSSU Athletics when the department moved from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and the MIAA in 1989. Since being named the sole AD at Southern in 2001, Beard oversaw various enhancement projects, including the Lionpride Restoration Project, which added new turf and a new track surface at Fred G. Hughes Stadium, as well as the construction of the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center (a $7 million plus basketball and indoor track facility that also houses classrooms and offices).
Missouri Southern consistently ranked among the best academically in the MIAA. Under Beard's leadership, Southern had an ASR of 87 percent, which was 36 percent higher than the general population at MSSU, and was the highest differential within the MIAA. Always one to lead by example, Beard served on numerous NCAA and MIAA committees including the prestigious NCAA Division II Management Council, as well as the Degree-Completion, Convention Planning and Division II Identity Committees. She previously served on the Division II Nominating and Voting Committees, the Division II Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, and the Committee on Women's Athletics.
Beard has also held a leading role in the MIAA, serving as the conference’s president from 1999 until 2001. She filled the position after serving as vice president of the MIAA in the 1998-99 school year. During her stint as track & field coach, Beard was twice named NAIA District 16 Coach of the Year, including in 1983 when she led Southern to the district outdoor title. She also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic team at the 1981 World University Games in Romania that included Edwin Moses, Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. She was a coach for the North squad at the 1983 National Sports Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo. and was also on the games committees for the NAIA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships from 1979-83.