Sun Belt commissioner Keith Gill signs contract extension

New Sun Belt Conference commissioner Keith Gill made a stop in Statesboro Monday (Source: WTOC)
New Sun Belt Conference commissioner Keith Gill made a stop in Statesboro Monday (Source: WTOC)(WTOC)
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 10:37 AM CDT
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Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in that role through at least June 30, 2026, the Sun Belt Conference has announced. Gill was named the Conference’s sixth commissioner on March 19, 2019.

“We are pleased to recognize Commissioner Gill’s leadership with this contract extension. His first year as commissioner was interrupted by the advent of the pandemic, which likewise consumed the entirety of his second year. In spite of that challenge, Keith continued to lead the conference forward, while also mitigating the impact of the pandemic,” stated Dr. Damphousse, Arkansas State University Chancellor. “He managed the Sun Belt’s response to COVID-19, allowing all SBC student-athletes to complete their seasons during their traditional competition calendar – no small accomplishment. As incoming President of the SBC Board of Directors, I look forward to working with Keith and his team as we expand the competitive success and visibility of our conference and its member universities.”

“In my role as the president of the Sun Belt Conference, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Keith Gill during his first two years as Commissioner,” added Dr. Savoie, President of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “Keith has had a positive impact on several fronts – strengthening the conference, raising our visibility, and providing crucial leadership throughout the pandemic. We’re pleased to offer him a two-year extension and look forward to the conference’s continued growth.”

“I am grateful to Chancellor Damphousee, President Savoie, and all of the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors for extending my opportunity to serve the conference as we provide invaluable experiences for our student-athletes and increase the visibility of all of our members,” said Commissioner Gill. “I’m proud of the ways in which our membership pulled together to allow all of our student-athletes to compete safely during their traditional seasons. We look to continue the momentum from our record-breaking 2020-21 academic year.”

From the beginning, Gill established priorities for the Sun Belt Conference emphasizing the academic success and personal development of student-athletes, implementing strategies aimed at boosting the league’s competitive success across all sports, and expanding the league’s national profile through branding and inclusion initiatives. Gill guided the conference through the COVID-19 crisis and his leadership made it possible for the membership to safely complete full seasons in all sponsored sports including 79 of 80 regular season conference football games.

Gill’s work regarding racial inequity and inclusion included the launch of the BE THE CHANGE initiative in June of 2020, demonstrating to SBC student-athletes the value of being civic minded throughout their lives. The conference also established and encouraged its teams and fans to visit the Sun Belt Conference Civil Rights Trail, which highlights historic sites and landmarks found in the geographic footprint of its member schools.

Earlier this year, he was appointed to serve a five-year term on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee through the 2025-26 season. Gill, the first Black Commissioner in FBS history, also sits on the NCAA Division I Nominating Committee through 2024.

A 25-year veteran of intercollegiate athletics, Gill previously served as Executive Associate Commissioner at the Atlantic 10 Conference (2017-19) and the Director of Athletics at Richmond (2013-17) and American (2007-12). He also worked in the athletic departments at Oklahoma and Vanderbilt, along with two stints in the membership services department at the NCAA national office.

Gill graduated from Duke University as a four-year football student-athlete in 1994 and received his master’s degree from Oklahoma in 2006.

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