MAC schools appoint Steinbrecher new commissioner

Thomas Gallick

The presidents of the Mid-American Conference schools named Jon A. Steinbrecher as the new commissioner of the conference Monday at a meeting in Indianapolis.

Steinbrecher had worked as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference for the past six years. Before his time at the OVC, he was commissioner of the Mid-Continent Conference, now named the Summit League.

Steinbrecher will succeed outgoing commissioner Rick Chryst when Chryst’s contract expires June 30. Chryst, who has served as the commissioner of the MAC since 1999, announced in January he would leave his position when his contract expired.

John M. Dunn, president of Western Michigan and chair of the search committee, said in a press release that Steinbrecher’s experience was key in the selection.

“Jon has a superior background at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics,” Dunn said. “He is a proven talent, an innovative thinker, with excellent administrative and academic credentials.

“Clearly, Dr. Steinbrecher shares the same values as the member institutions and its student athletes, and he will continue our tradition as one of the nation’s premier conferences.”

As commissioner of the OVC, Steinbrecher worked out a five-year contract with ESPN. The semifinals of the conference’s 2005 men’s basketball tournament was the first game ever broadcast on ESPNU.

Laing Kennedy, Kent State director of athletics, said he was impressed with Steinbrecher’s career so far.

“I think Jon brings experience,” Kennedy said. “He brings a very skilled (style) of management experience with high profile sports such as men’s and women’s basketball.”

Kennedy said he hopes Steinbrecher and the MAC work on a “comprehensive vision” for scheduling, including possible collaboration with conferences like the Big Ten, the Horizon League and the Summit League.

He said the commissioner position is important to any major positive changes to the future of the conference.

“I think (commissioner) is critical,” Kennedy said. “It’s a key appointment. I think (Steinbrecher) brings a lot to the job in his experience and his reputation nationally.”

In a press release from the MAC, Steinbrecher said he looked forward to leading the conference in the future.

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen to lead a conference well-recognized as a leader in academics and athletics,” Steinbrecher said. “I am excited to become a part of the proud MAC tradition and eager to get to work.”

Contact assistant sports editor Thomas Gallick at [email protected].