(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) As Missouri Western looks for its 9th Athletic Director in school history, the search is now down to the final three.
With the first candidate in town on Monday, making her case for the job.
"We love to win right? We are competitive, but it is about the retention of those student athletes, are we giving them the experience that they deserve?," said Athletic Director Finalist, Rachel Burleson.
No stranger to the MIAA, Burleson spent time at Northwest Missouri State as an Assistant Softball Coach, and 5 years in Athletic Administration in Joplin at Missouri Southern, so she knows what it takes to be in the MIAA.
"I think college athletics in the Midwest, specifically the MIAA, there's no other place like it, right. I can do all that I can do but there is no place like this," said Burleson,
For the last 5 years, Burleson has been the Athletic Director at Franklin Pierce, a Division II School in New Hampshire, and even helped bring Division II Football to the University.
One question surrounding Burleson's desire to return home to the Midwest, an article from 5 years ago saying she needed to get out of the Midwest for a little while.
"The article I will say, is a little off of what I said, which is fair, but I did say I felt like I needed that experience, right. I know a lot of female Athletic Directors who have been in the Midwest that have been Athletic Directors, but for me it was an opportunity, I didn't want to wait. I knew I was ready, I knew I wanted to do it, and so I had an opportunity to go rather than waiting and letting someone else decide my fate, to then going and getting that experience knowing that I could be a better Athletic Director when I came back to the MIAA," said Burleson.
Burleson is 1 of the 3 finalists for the Griffons A.D. job and knows what it takes to be successful in the MIAA, seeing it first hand, so she hopes to lead the next era of Missouri Western Athletics.
"We had this built in tradition. This camaraderie, this rivalry here unlike other areas in the country, where we graduate our student athletes and they leave, right. But we're raising families and generations of MIAA graduates. And I think that of in itself just innately grows this camaraderie and rivalry that is made it so competitive that it is," said Burleson.