John Iamarino Named Southern Conference Commissioner

SPARTANBURG, SC — John Iamarino, currently the commissioner of the Northeast Conference, has been named the eighth commissioner of the Southern Conference, which includes Elon University. Iamarino, who will officially start his job with the SoCon January 30, has served as commissioner of the NEC for the past nine seasons. He replaces Dr. Danny Morrison, who left his post at the SoCon this past June after four years to become the director of athletics at Texas Christian University.

Robert Vagt, president of Davidson College and chair of the selection committee stated, “The Conference engaged in a national search, and John was selected from among a group of very accomplished leaders in intercollegiate athletics. We were gratififed by the caliber of those who applied for the position, and are delighted to fill it with a person of John’s energy and experience.”

A search committee comprised of CEOs, faculty athletics representatives, athletics directors, and senior woman administrators recommended Iamarino to the Conference’s Council of Presidents, who ratified the decision.

“I am honored and excited about this opportunity to be commissioner of the Southern Conference,” Iamarino said. “This league has always emphasized academics and highly competitive athletics, and that is what strongly attracted me to the position. Our goal now is to continue to build on each of those areas.

“My wife, son and I are all excited about the move and I am ready to get started” Iamarino added. “I was impressed with all of the people that I met throughout the selection process, and I look forward to working with them and the entire Southern Conference membership for many years.”

In his nine years with the Somerset, NJ-based NEC, Iamarino promoted the conference through an ambitious agenda designed to improve the quality of competition, upgrade compliance-related matters and generally increase the marketing and brand awareness of the conference and its member institutions.

To improve the 21 championship NEC sports for the more than 2,200 student-athletes who compete, Iamarino helped secure professional facilities to accommodate baseball, indoor track & field, tennis and women’s swimming championships. Tournament gifts, awards, trophies and event programs were all systematically upgraded.

In basketball, Iamarino worked to obtain the league’s first package of televised games on Madison Square Garden Network. From a modest 12-game schedule in 1997-98, the NEC TV package steadily increased, reaching its all-time high of 30 games two years ago. In 2005, Iamarino spearheaded the production of NEC Countdown To Tipoff, a 30-minute basketball show that previewed this season, with distribution in all NEC markets. In addition to MSG, the NEC Television Network now includes a number of regional carriers, including Fox Sports Net New York, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and Comcast.

In football, Iamarino worked with league presidents and athletic directors in 2000 to implement a limited financial aid policy that permitted need-based athletics grants. Just last month, the need-based element was removed as NEC schools will now be able to award up to 30 full scholarships in 2006. Beginning in 2003, Iamarino worked to increase the exposure of NEC football by producing at least two football games per year for coverage on regional cable networks.

During his term at the NEC, the conference also launched a comprehensive website, hired the league’s first full-time marketing director, reached agreement with the Conference’s first official merchandiser, established a student-athlete advisory committee, and sponsored seminars designed for female and ethnic minority high school and college students interested in pursuing collegiate athletics as a career.

Iamarino is active nationally within the NCAA as a member of the Baseball Rules Committee, and is presently serving as Vice President for Division I-AA on the Executive Committee of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA). He formerly served on the Division I-AA Governance Committee and the NCAA’s Special Events Committee and was a television coordinator of two NCAA Basketball Tournament regionals.

Prior to his appointment at the NEC, Iamarino spent 13 years at the Sun Belt Conference in publicity, compliance and administrative positions. He entered the field of intercollegiate athletics as Assistant Sports Information Director at Georgetown University in 1979, working two years there before moving on to become Director of Sports Information at Jacksonville University.

Iamarino is a 1977 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, where he earned magna cum laude honors majoring in journalism. A native of Monsey, NY, he resides with his wife, Mary Ann, and nine-year old son P.J.

The Southern Conference, founded in 1921, is the fourth-oldest NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference in the country. Its 11 member institutions are located in five Southeastern states. Its members include Elon, Appalachian State, College of Charleston, The Citadel, Davidson College, Furman, Georgia Southern, UNC Greensboro, Chattanooga, Western Carolina and Wofford College.