Director of Athletics Lori Flanagan announces retirement

by | Jun 4, 2024

Flanagan's tenure has seen nine conference championships, one Elite Eight appearance by men's basketball, two Final Four appearances by women's volleyball and one national championship by men's golfer Joel Sylven.
Lori Flanagan

Lori Flanagan will retire as director of athletics at the University of Missouri–St. Louis after 18 years leading the department to success in competition and in the classroom. (Photo by Patrick Clark/Athlete’s Eye Photography)

By Luke Rinne, UMSL Athletics

University of Missouri-St. Louis Director of Athletics Lori Flanagan has announced her intention to retire. She will continue to serve in her position as the institution completes a national search for her successor. Flanagan is concluding an 18-year UMSL career that has elevated the athletics program regionally and nationally.

“It has been a privilege to serve the student-athletes, coaches and staff who have worked so diligently to compete athletically, while striving for academic excellence,” Flanagan said. “I appreciate the administrative support and leadership from the chancellor’s office and throughout the university that has allowed Triton Athletics to grow and prosper. There comes a moment in everyone’s career when you know it’s time for your journey to take a new path, and while it’s bittersweet to make this decision, I know it is the right one.”

Flanagan served as the interim director in August 2008 before succeeding Pat Dolan as the director in March 2009. Flanagan originally arrived at UMSL in August 2006 as the associate director of athletics, where she oversaw the department’s day-to-day operations and served as the chief financial officer.

“Our goal was to build the department into a competitive NCAA D-II program,” Flanagan said. “We raised the level of excellence as well as UMSL pride with additional resources, facility enhancements, alumni involvement and scholarship growth.”

Under Flanagan’s leadership, the Tritons have thrived in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, producing nine conference championships, three NCAA regional champions, one Elite Eight appearance by men’s basketball, two Final Four appearances by women’s volleyball and one individual national champion in men’s golfer Joel Sylven. Sixty-seven Triton student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

“Throughout her career at UMSL, Lori has generously shared her talents each day to transform the lives of our student-athletes with a laser-focused commitment on cultivating students by promoting academic excellence, strong character, sound ethics and fair play,” Chancellor Kristin Sobolik wrote in a message to campus announcing Flanagan’s retirement.
Earlier this year, Sobolik honored Flanagan as the inaugural recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal.

Flanagan pointed to the university’s commitment to providing the necessary resources to compete at conference, regional and national levels that has led to multiple coaches enjoying tenures of more than 10 years. That commitment also led to UMSL hosting the 2023 NCAA D-II women’s golf national championship, and hosting regionals and super regionals in both volleyball and softball.

Triton Athletics currently serves 290 student-athletes in 19 sports. Flanagan added men’s and women’s cross country and track & field in 2019, and restored men’s and women’s swimming in 2014.

Triton student-athletes also have achieved academically as 18 individuals have achieved Academic All-America status under Flanagan’s direction. The program as a whole has consistently maintained a cumulative grade point average above 3.5 while posting an academic success rate above 83 percent.

Prior to UMSL, Flanagan spent 14 years at Saint Louis University, joining the department in 1992 as assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator. She was promoted to senior associate director of athletics for administration in 1999.

Additionally, Flanagan served as liaison to the Atlantic 10 Conference and as the SWA to ensure program compliance within Title IX and gender equity. She was a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s National Tennis Committee from 2000 to 2004 and the NCAA Women’s Softball National Committee from 2005-06. She was also a member of the organizing committee for the 2001 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four and the 2005 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four, both of which were held in St. Louis. Flanagan also served as a member of the NCAA Peer Certification Review Team from 2000 to 2006.

Flanagan earned a bachelor’s in physical education at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master’s in athletic administration from Mankato State.

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