Viking Views 2022

For the first time in more than 30 years, Tom Fifer was not inside the Burns Athletic Center on the first day of the new athletic year. Fifer retired from his position as Executive Vice President/Athletic Director on June 30, bringing an end to a career that lasted through four decades and saw tremendous growth for athletics at Missouri Valley. Under his leadership, the college’s athletic department became a leader and pioneer, helping introduce new sports and concepts modeled by other NAIA institutions. Fifer came to Marshall, Mo., in 1991, after a successful run in high school basketball, to take over as head coach of the Missouri Valley men’s basketball program. Immediately, Fifer elevated the program to new heights, guiding his first team to a 23-11 record, and the first National tournament appearance in 31 years. Known for his coaching attire and personality on the sidelines during games, Fifer spent nine seasons as head coach of the program, producing 131 wins, two All-Americans, multiple all-conference selections,

and the National tournament appearance in 1992. Midway through his coaching career, Fifer was promoted to Athletic Director, beginning in 1997. He spent three more seasons as head coach for men’s basketball, before moving fully into the Athletic Director role in the spring of 2000. After taking over as Athletic Director, the department experienced tremendous growth with the addition of many new sports to the college. One of the biggest additions was the women’s wrestling team in 1999. Missouri Valley became the first four-year college in the country to offer athletic scholarships for women’s wrestling. The sport quickly became successful, and won a National championship in 2001, the first National championship won during Fifer’s tenure as Athletic Director. Fifer oversaw the addition of many other sports, including men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s lacrosse, eSports, shooting sports and the weight lifting teams. “Tom has been exceptionally loyal to Missouri Valley College and the good people that have worked side by side with him for years,” said MVC President Dr. Bonnie Humphrey. “He has led by example with a tremendous work ethic and drive to find the best solution to any problem the college has faced.” The women’s wrestling National championship was the first of eight team National championships won during Fifer’s leadership. The cheer team captured three National titles (2001, 2013, 2018), the women’s wrestling team won another two championships (2004, 2005), men’s wrestling added one National championship (2003), and the most recent National title was won by the men’s soccer team (2020). Athletic teams also produced 16 Viking Views | 2022

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