Former Missouri Southern coach and Athletic Director Sallie Beard has joined the impressive ranks of those who have helped define athletics in Missouri.

Beard was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as part of the fourth-annual Women’s Sports Luncheon presented by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation on March 30 in Springfield, Mo.

“If you had told me when I was a student at Missouri Southern that I would have been fortunate enough to have the career that I would have, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Beard said. “As I reflect on my career, I feel very fortunate to have the breadth of experience I was afforded. I am humbled and honored by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame deciding to recognize my career.”

Beard served Missouri Southern State University as both coach and athletic director for 37 years before her retirement in 2009. She single-handedly created women’s athletics at Missouri Southern when she started the first women’s sports teams, serving as head coach of basketball, softball, tennis, and track and field. For 25 years, she was the women’s athletic director. In 2001, she was named the first athletic director to oversee both the men’s and women’s athletic programs at the university.

In 2014, Beard was awarded the Nike Lifetime Achievement Award by NACWAA, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. She is a member of the Missouri Southern State University Athletics Hall of Fame and the Joplin Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2010 she was inducted into the inaugural class of the MIAA Hall of Fame.