Southland Conference Hires First African American Commissioner
Cresent City Sports reports Southland Conference Commissioner, Tom Burnett is going to retire after 19-years of service. Upon news of Burnett's retirement, Wednesday the league went on to announce that the Deputy Commissioner, Chris Grant would immediately become "acting" Commissioner. What a difference a day makes. Less than 24 hours later, Jay Clune, President of Nicholls State University and the chair of the conference’s governing board, announced Thursday that Chris Grant has officially been named the new Commissioner of the league.
Grant will be the first African American to hold this position in the Southland Conferences 58-year history. Clune released a statement and spoke about the historic moment saying,
“As we look ahead, we are truly excited that Chris will be leading us at a time of unprecedented change, and opportunity, in college athletics,” He continued. “A former student-athlete who has served at nearly every level of college sports and succeeded everywhere he’s gone, he has the right mix of innovative spirit, determination, and openness to collaborate that a strong commissioner needs.”
KPLC reports, Chris Grant graduated cum laude and was a member of the AD's honor roll at Kentucky State University, where also lettered as a four-football player. Since then Grant has worked his way to the top of the league, starting as an Ass. Athletic Director for Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. From there Grant became Director of Sports Services for the Conference USA, and in August this year joined the Southland Conference as Deputy Commissioner.
Commissioner Tom Burnett, who is also currently serving as chair of the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, will move into a role as a full-time senior consultant to the commissioner and the Board of Directors after the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament concludes. At which time Chris Grant will take on his new duties. Grant said of this sports history moment,
“I am humbled by the responsibility being entrusted to me by our conference presidents, and I am determined to live up to their expectations,” He added. “This is a time of great upheaval in college sports, but also one that, if we work together and navigate it successfully, is a time of great opportunity for our schools and, most importantly, for our student-athletes.”
We wish Chris Grant the very best in his new position and look forward to seeing the Southland Conference grow under his leadership. For more details on this story click here.