"I think the first is character," Missouri's athletic director Mike Alden said of Alnutt's leadership traits. "It has to do with his integrity and his belief in doing things the right way. I think that is critically important in today's day and age. In college athletics, I think with the challenges all of us have out there, you want to make sure you have a leader that has tremendous character, tremendous belief in the core values of your institution."
Alnutt has worked in Missouri's athletic department since 1998, the same year that Alden became the school's athletic director.
Alnutt, who played football at Missouri from 1993-1995, held the jobs of director of football operations and assistant athletic director before becoming senior associate athletic director for the last two years.
Alden said that Alnutt will face challenges such as declining state department support for higher education that leads to less available resources, adherence to academic to integrity and gender equity during his tenure as an athletic director.
"That's something I need to evaluate and see exactly where we are across the board with all of our sports and what enhancements need to be made," Alnutt said. "That's part of me getting out in the community and being able to be that person to help generate more resources."
Alnutt is inheriting an athletic program that has been on probation since 2008 due to NCAA violations committed by the men's and women's basketball teams. The program will remain on probation until June 17, 2013.
Alnutt said he was able to talk to Southeast coaches about being compliant with NCAA rules. An alleged hazing incident involving 10 Southeast football players occurred on April 13 and was reported to the Department of Public Safety the following day. The incident will be reviewed by the Office of Student Conduct because hazing violates the university's code of student conduct.
"We have to be very compliant in terms of how we do things," Alnutt said. "We have to establish a culture of 'Ask before you act.'"
Alnutt received a five-year contract, but the amount of money and incentives that he will receive have yet to be finalized.
He is the first African-American athletic director for Southeast.
The 39-year-old will begin his duties at Southeast on or about May 21, according to a press release by the university.
He was introduced by Southeast president Kenneth W. Dobbins at a news conference that was open to the public at the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center.
Cape Girardeau mayor Harry Rediger and some Southeast coaches and athletes attended the conference.
Dobbins said that the university received 74 applications for the job.
Eight finalists were interviewed earlier this month and Alnutt was one of the two final candidates considered.
Alnutt was interviewed off campus on April 12 in St. Louis and was on campus Thursday for final interviews, according to the press release.
Parker Executive Search was contracted by the university to find suitable candidates for the position.
Cindy Gannon, Southeast's associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, had been serving as the school's interim athletic director since John Shafer retired from the position in June.
Shafer was the school's athletics director for about two-and-a-half years.