Keenum named to commissioner search committee

Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum, right, with outgoing Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, left. Keenum has been named to the search committee charged with choosing Slive's successor. PHOTO: Beth Wynn | Public Affairs

The Southeastern Conference is set to launch a national search to name its next commissioner with the recent announcement that Mike Slive will retire next July, after 13 years in that position.

Nicholas S. Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and current chair of the SEC's Presidents and Chancellors, has appointed a committee to search for the eighth commissioner in the history of the league. David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, will serve as chairman of the committee that will also include Judith Bonner, president of the University of Alabama; Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky; Mark E. Keenum, president of Mississippi State University; and R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the University of Missouri.

"The SEC has enjoyed an era of unprecedented success under Mike Slive and at the same time has been a leader in dramatic change in the landscape of college athletics under his direction," Zeppos said. "It is critical to have an efficient transition of leadership in order to continue our success on the fields of play as well as to identify a staunch advocate for academic achievement, integrity and sportsmanship. Our objective is to seamlessly maintain our conference's participation in shaping the future of intercollegiate athletics."

"Mike Slive has done an incredible job as SEC Commissioner. He is revered throughout college athletics. Finding the right person to carry on the leadership of the Southeastern Conference, an unquestioned leader in intercollegiate athletics, is a major undertaking as the position is vital to the continued positive transformation of the conference and intercollegiate athletics as a whole," Gearhart said. "I'm honored to have been selected by Chancellor Zeppos to lead this important committee."

Zeppos said the committee will work closely with athletic directors, faculty representatives, senior women administrators and student athletes in the search. He also said the presidents and chancellors hope to select the new commissioner in a timely manner to allow a transition period before Slive's retirement on July 31, 2015.

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