Joel Thornton
Joel Thornton is beginning his fifth season at MCU as Associate Athletics Director for External Relations having been appointed to the position in August, 2008. 
Under the direction of MCU athletics director Kevin Imhoff, Thornton coordinates Cougar Center scheduling with the volleyball and basketball coaches, NAIA and NCCAA eligibility and compliance, athletic promotions and marketing efforts, and student workers and oversees sports information efforts as well as sports event operations.
    "For the past 12 years, MCU has built a base from which to build a successful athletic program," said Thornton when he was hired. "Now is the time for MCU to take another step forward and also build its tradition. My goal is to reach out to Mid-Continent alumni and the western Kentucky community in order to both strengthen the bond between those who already love MCU and cultivate and foster new relationships that will help the University grow."
     After graduation, Thornton joined the Mississippi Army National Guard and served for a total of 12 years, including nine years as a full-time National Guard security technician. Reaching the rank of staff sergeant, Thornton was mobilized for both Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
     At age 30, he decided to attend Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he rediscovered his faith in Jesus Christ and rededicated his life to God's service. He became involved in Belhaven's athletics program while a student and at various times, served as assistant men's basketball coach, public address announcer for volleyball, basketball, and baseball games, and sports information intern. He parlayed his experience into a volunteer football coaching position at University Christian School in 2003, and became a substitute teacher and assistant baseball coach at Pisgah High School for the 2005-06 school year.
     Later in March, 2006, Thornton was appointed Sports Information Director, serving until August, 2008, when he accepted an appointment from Mid-Continent University to become its Associate Athletics Director for External Relations.
     Joel and his wife Tracy, who also works at Mid-Continent, reside in Mayfield, Ky.