ATLANTA - The ASUN Conference announced Monday that Jeff Bacon will serve as its fifth full-time commissioner as the ASUN Presidents Council concluded its search to replace current Commissioner Ted Gumbart. Gumbart announced his plans to retire at the end of the current academic year. Bacon joins the ASUN after 19 years with the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and is set to begin his new duties no later than July 1, 2023.
"I'd like to thank the entire ASUN Conference President's Council and all members of the search committee, led by President Ken Kitts, for welcoming me to this exciting conference," Bacon said. "I must also take a moment to congratulate Commissioner Gumbart on an incredible career and legacy. Finally, I would like to thank MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher for his mentorship in preparing me for this opportunity. This is a conference comprised of institutions that are progressive in thought, situated in several major markets within a broad footprint, and are growing…all of which ensures that we are poised for success in the years to come. I look forward to representing our administrators, coaches and most importantly our student-athletes. Let's shine together."
Bacon's responsibilities with the MAC included oversight of Football and External Relations, management of the MAC Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament, coordination of NCAA Championship bids and events, strategic planning, revenue generation, and management of affiliate memberships. He also served as liaison to the MAC Council of Directors of Athletics and as Director of the MAC Academic Consortium. He is the former Chair of the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Committee and is a member of the Akron Sports Alliance.
"Jeff Bacon is an exceptional talent and a tremendous hire for the ASUN Conference," said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. "He is thoughtful, detail-oriented, and creative. Jeff earned my trust and the trust of our membership early on, and he has since been involved in virtually all aspects of our Conference operations. I look forward to continuing to watch his career and wish him and his family the very best as they embark on this new opportunity."
The commissioner search committee, chaired by University of North Alabama President Ken Kitts, paired with Parker Executive Search, led by Vice President Daniel Parker, to identify potential candidates. The committee included Austin Peay State University Athletic Director Gerald Harrison, Bellarmine University Senior Woman Administrator Pam Stackhouse, Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin, Jacksonville University President Tim Cost, Queens University President Dan Lugo and Stetson University Faculty Athletics Representative Mike Bitter.
"As chair of the search committee, I join my colleagues in welcoming Jeff Bacon to the ASUN family," said Kitts. "We had a very broad and deep pool of applicants for this important position. Jeff's experience, knowledge, and professional network make him ideally well-suited to lead our conference to the next level of excellence in collegiate athletics."
Before joining the MAC, Bacon practiced law in Independence, Ohio. A native of Solon, Ohio, Bacon earned his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Kent State University and his Juris Doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law. He currently resides in Hudson, Ohio, with his wife Jessica, and three children, Caleb (21), Chloe (12) and Cecily (6).
"Jeff is well-qualified, highly respected, and enthusiastic about taking the helm of the ASUN Conference," said ASUN President Susan Donovan."I think the search process enabled us to spend quality time thinking about the future of the conference and working together toward greater excellence and exposure to the strengths of our institutions, our athletic departments, and our student-athletes."
The ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements, and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams: Students First. Rise. Connect. Impact. Member institutions are supported by the conference to help establish intercollegiate athletics programs committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN leads by example by embracing a student-first culture for its student-athletes. The academic success of student-athletes was front and center in July 2022 when the ASUN announced that 70.01% of its student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA for the 2021-2022 academic year. This was the fifth time in the last six years that the ASUN was at or above 70%. In total, 2,521 ASUN Conference student-athletes registered at least a 3.0 GPA.
A formal press conference to introduce Commissioner Bacon will be scheduled and announced in the near future.
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The ASUN, a Division I conference member of the NCAA, boasts a membership of institutions that share visionary leadership, bold ambition and creative innovation. As a nimble adaptive conference, unafraid to blaze a national pathway for better service to our student-athletes, teams, and institutions, the ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams. Students First! Rise. Connect. Impact. #ASUNBuilt by Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.), Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), Central Arkansas (Conway, Ark.), Eastern Kentucky (Richmond, Ky.), FGCU (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jacksonville (Fla.), Jacksonville State (Jacksonville, Ala.), Kennesaw State (Ga.), Liberty (Lynchburg, Va.), Lipscomb (Nashville, Tenn.), North Alabama (Florence, Ala.), North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), Queens (Charlotte, N.C.) and Stetson (DeLand, Fla.).