NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference announced on Tuesday that Keith Gill has been named the league’s sixth commissioner.
“On behalf of the Sun Belt Conference’s presidents and chancellors, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Keith Gill as the next commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference,” said Georgia State and Sun Belt President Dr. Mark P. Becker. “Keith is a proven leader with deep experience across the many dimensions of intercollegiate athletics. Combining that with his passion, integrity and enthusiasm, Keith will be an outstanding leader as the Sun Belt continues on its rising trajectory.”
“I am honored and excited to have been selected as the Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference and I am grateful to President Becker and all of the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors for allowing me this opportunity,” said Gill. “I look forward to serving and working with them, their outstanding institutions, the administrators and coaches of the conference and the student-athletes that continue to push the Sun Belt to the pinnacle of intercollegiate athletics.”
With his appointment, Gill will become the first African-American commissioner of a NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision conference.
Gill replaces outgoing commissioner Karl Benson, who announced his decision to stepdown as commissioner this past August. Benson, the only individual to be a commissioner of three I-A/FBS conferences, will begin to transition out of his role as it was mutually agreed that Gill’s start date will be May 1.
A veteran of intercollegiate athletics for nearly 25 years, Gill comes to the Sun Belt from the Atlantic 10 Conference where he currently serves as Executive Associate Commissioner.
At the A-10, Gill works directly with longtime commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade and serves as the primary liaison to the A-10 Men’s Basketball Advancement Committee which is responsible for identifying initiatives and strategies to ensure A-10 men’s basketball remains a top seven league and increases the number of A-10 at-large teams that annually advance to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Gill supports the A-10’s digital and television broadcast strategy while also providing regular NCAA governance updates to the A-10 Council of Presidents.
Prior to his time at the A-10, Gill was a director of athletics for 10 years, serving at the University of Richmond for five years and American University for five years.
While at Richmond, he was appointed as the A-10’s representative on the NCAA Council and served as the governing body’s Vice Chair. He also was the Co-Chair of the NCAA Ad Hoc Transfer Issues Working Group in 2015. Gill was honored as an Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by NACDA in 2015.
Under Gill’s watch, Richmond’s athletics programs won 14 conference championships and produced 19 All-Americans. Additionally, the athletics department also made numerous improvements to its athletics facilities, including a complete renovation of the Spiders’ basketball and multi-purpose arena, the Robins Center.
In five years at American, Gill led the athletics department to unprecedented heights, highlighted by 25 team conference championships, 16 individual conference champions and 25 All-Americans. In Gill’s first two seasons, the men’s basketball team won the Patriot League title, earning the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2009.
More than 250 American student-athletes flourished in the classroom under Gill’s guidance as 16 teams earned a combined grade point average over 3.0 for 23 consecutive semesters. In 2011-12, 121 student-athletes were named to the university’s Dean’s List as the department posted a combined 3.36 GPA.
Prior to his time at American, Gill spent three years at the University of Oklahoma from 2004-07. In Norman, he oversaw major portions of Sooner athletics, including men’s basketball, women’s soccer and baseball, as well as the supervision of personnel, budgets, facilities, fundraising, student-athlete issues and the selection and evaluation of coaches for those sports. He worked with Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and senior staff in overseeing the strategic and annual planning process for the department.
Prior to Oklahoma, Gill served two stints at the NCAA national office from 1995-99 and 2000-04. During his second tenure, he was in the role of director of membership services, developing and communicating policies related to Division I intercollegiate athletics, including governance, rules compliance, diversity, gender equity, academic integrity, student-athlete welfare, fiscal integrity, strategic planning, sportsmanship and legislation. Gill oversaw and ensured the effective operation of the athletics certification program and managed a staff of 35 that provided education and guidance to Division I institutions conducting their periodic self-studies. During his first stint at the NCAA office, Gill worked as a membership services representative.
Between his time at the NCAA office, Gill was an Assistant Director of Athletics at Vanderbilt University, working with the director of athletics to implement the annual planning process to help 16 athletics teams achieve their academic and competitive goals. He worked with the National Commodore Club and the major gifts, media relations and marketing staffs and the athletics committee as a part of the Vanderbilt Board of Trustees.
A 1994 graduate of Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology, the Orlando, Fla., native was a four-year letterman in football. He received a Master’s Degree from Oklahoma in 2006.
***Courtesy Sun Belt communications