Jim Sterk discusses the firing of Barry Odom. (photo/Matt Michaels)

Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk says he expects not only the football program but athletics as a whole, to be a Top 25 program consistently competing at a high level. During his Saturday press conference, he stressed again the major reason for the decision to make a change at head coach for the football program.

“I felt we lost momentum of the program and it would have been difficult under the leadership to continue to move forward,” said Sterk just hours after he informed Barry Odom he would not be back for a fifth season.

Because players were allowed to leave for break following the Arkansas game and headed in different directions, Sterk held a teleconference with the team to inform them of the decision.

Many of the players over the last few weeks have backed Odom and believed in his leadership. Sterk thought differently and had the backing of the school’s president and chancellor.

While Sterk will keep the coaching search confidential he did say he believes a candidate who shows strong leadership skills and had success as a head coach at a high level or a coordinator with a proven track record at a big-time program would be an advantage.

For the time being, assistant coaches remain employed and defensive line coach Brick Haley will head up the efforts to keep recruits informed and oversee that process until a new coach is hired.  Sterk said the new head coach will have full discretion over his staff.

Sterk is also using the same search firm that helped him employ Cuonzo Martin.

Watch Sterk’s press conference.