About the Conference

Founded in 1962, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) first began as a six-team league of Arizona, Arizona State, Brigham Young, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. As a premier NCAA Division I Athletic Conference, the WAC is now entering its 60th year of intercollegiate competition and has continued to evolve and feature some of the nation’s best programs. The WAC currently consists of 13 member institutions spanning from the Southwest to West Coast regions of the United States and includes Abilene Christian University, California Baptist University, Dixie State University, Grand Canyon University, Lamar University, New Mexico State University, Sam Houston State University, Seattle University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Southern Utah University (Joining July 1, 2022), Tarleton State University, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Utah Valley University. Headquartered in Denver, CO, the expansive geographic footprint of the WAC provides its student-athletes the opportunity to experience some of the nation’s most diverse campuses and scenic metropolitan areas.

The universities in the WAC are committed to advancing their programs to contend at the top levels of the NCAA, to excelling both on and off their respective fields of play, and to prioritizing a positive student-athlete experience. The WAC’s student-athletes work to achieve the highest levels of success with the academic support of their respective institutions and through the Conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (WAC SAAC). Further, the Academic Excellence Award is provided annually to the highest performing institution based on (1) GPA of undergraduate student-athletes (2) GPA of all undergraduates vs. undergraduate student-athletes and (3) most recent two-year average of institutional Academic Progress Rate scores.

The WAC sponsors championships in 20 Division I sports – 10 men’s and 10 women’s. In men’s basketball, the WAC has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Tournament in 28 of the past 46 seasons. In baseball, the WAC has boasted two national champions since 2003. In women’s basketball, the conference has had at least two teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament 10 times in 29 seasons, with a record five teams in 1998. The WAC also sent teams to three BCS football bowl games from 2007-10.

In keeping the student-athlete experience at its core and staying progressive as a Conference, in 2014, the conference launched the WAC Digital Network (WDN) to stream regular season and conference championship events. Today the WDN combines with the conference’s long-time multimedia partner ESPN to provide more than 500 live events annually to fans from all over the world. Included are team sports of football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, baseball and women’s volleyball in addition to other individual conference championships. 

Position Overview

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Commissioner is the Chief Executive Officer of the Conference. The Commissioner will work with the Presidents and Athletics Directors of each member institution to create initiatives and strategies designed to advance the mission and vision of the WAC in progressive and forward-thinking ways.

Duties/Responsibilities

  • Serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Conference and primary spokesperson for the Conference.
  • Understand and effectively communicate the unique qualities of the WAC that differentiate it from its peers.
  • Articulate a clear, strategic vision for the future of the Conference to mobilize support behind organizational goals.
  • Provide vision, leadership and collaborative decision-making with regard to all Conference matters including fiscal affairs, personnel, governance, strategic planning, public relations and general operations.
  • Leveraging the rich history and tradition of the WAC, implement and lead a transparent and forward-looking Conference evaluation process that aims high, projects clear outcomes and evaluates achievements with clearly defined metrics and goals.
  • Provide strategic thinking and leadership to enhance regional and national exposure for the Conference in a way that will inspire people with new ideas to plan and execute marketing strategies that will maintain and elevate brand presence both as a Conference and for the affiliated member institutions.
  • Implement effective communications and branding via social media, television, multimedia, and other traditional and emerging platforms.
  • Negotiate and administer television and multimedia agreements.
  • Proactively seek and obtain corporate support for Conference activities in a manner consistent with the Conference’s values.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, gender equity, and inclusivity that creates a welcoming environment with a sense of belonging for all Conference members and Conference office staff. 
  • In partnership with member schools, enhance the overall student-athlete experience, to include strengthening all sports to be competitive at the championship level through conducting first-class events and championships, as well as creating a Conference environment that ensures an exceptional academic experience for each student-athlete and supports student-athlete well-being. 
  • Leverage high political and business acumen to effectively navigate and manage the evolving landscape of collegiate athletics to include, but not limited to new legislation, the monetization of sports, regulatory industries, state and federal mandates, and distinct differences among member institutions.
  • Oversee Conference budgetary and financial matters, managing revenue generation, the disbursement of funds, and allocation of resources.
  • Provide appropriate communication and guidance to various membership constituent groups, especially the Conference Presidents, on current events and the general pulse of the collegiate athletic environment.
  • Manage and supervise Conference office staff who attend to the day-to-day needs of the membership, including sports administration (e.g. scheduling, officiating programs, conduct of Conference championships and meetings).
  • Supervise the planning, coordinating and conducting of the inter-institutional business of the Conference, including the planning and conduct of meetings of the Conference’s governance committees and sports management and affiliated groups.
  • Interpret and ensure compliance with Title IX, as well as Conference and NCAA rules, regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Serve on NCAA and professional organization boards and represent the Conference to build relationships with internal and external constituents, as appropriate.
  • Accept other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Board of Directors.

Qualifications/Experience

  • Proven track record in leadership, integrity, communications, and strong work ethic.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is highly desirable.
  • Substantial experience in collegiate athletics administration or equivalent experience in a related field.
  • Strong working knowledge and understanding of FCS and FBS football is preferred.
  • Strong knowledge and record of advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusive initiatives.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the holistic student-athlete experience.
  • Ability to serve as the public face of the Conference and constantly represent its brand.
  • Credible knowledge of branding, social media, television and multimedia platforms – experience in related contract negotiations.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to the rules and bylaws of the NCAA and Conference.
  • Strong public relations, oral and written communication skills, and networks and contacts.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of strategic planning and implementation of vision.
  • Revenue generation experience is preferred.
  • Proven ability to select, recruit, motivate, inspire, mentor, and retain high performing individuals, with an emphasis on racial and gender equity.
  • Strong skills in financial management.
  • Proven track record of managing, serving, and building consensus among CEOs (e.g. Presidents and Athletic Directors).

Application Process

The Western Athletic Conference invites nominations and applications or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the Conference.  Applications must include a cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, and list of references. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted to Parker Executive Search’s website by October 7, 2021. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.

For additional information please contact:

Daniel Parker, Vice President and Managing Director

DeLaina Jordan, Associate

danielparker@parkersearch.com | djordan@parkersearch.com

Parker Executive Search

770-804-1996 ext. 116 | 770-804-1996 ext. 119

The Western Athletic Conference is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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