Valdosta Daily Times

March 28, 2014

Matt Wilson named GSC commissioner

Staff Reports
The Valdosta Daily Times

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Gulf South Conference selected Matt Wilson as the seventh commissioner of the league in March 2014. Wilson will assume his duties on May 1.

A 15-year sports administration veteran, Wilson brings a wealth of conference office experience with him to the GSC. He spent the last nine years at the Atlantic Sun Conference, most recently serving the membership as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate Commissioner. Under his day-to-day guidance, the A-Sun launched a four-year initiative to create ESPN caliber productions through on-campus resources. Halfway through the project, four A-Sun schools regularly provided ESPN with live content distributed through ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.  Wilson also organized the conference’s regional basketball television package, delivering a full slate of Friday night basketball games for distribution throughout the Southeast.

Furthermore, Wilson managed the conference’s communications and championships staff. In the last two years, the A-Sun’s in-house media production plan led to the creation of the most original basketball championship content in the nation. As the tournament director for the conference’s basketball championship, he guided a transition to a campus hosting model in 2014 that resulted in the largest tournament crowds in recent conference history. Additionally, Wilson served as the lead administrator in the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse to the conference sponsorship list, filling a void in the southeastern Division I landscape.

During his tenure at the A-Sun, Wilson served as the tournament director and administrative liaison for 13 different sports.  Prior to joining the A-Sun in 2005, Wilson spent six years at Belmont University, rising from Assistant SID to Assistant Athletics Director.

Wilson is a member of NACDA and serves on the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee.  The Columbia, Tenn. native graduated from Belmont University in 1998 with a B.A. in History.  He and his wife, Sara, have two children, Mia and Yates.

 “The work put in by Nate Salant, the office staff and the vital personnel on each campus turned the Gulf South Conference into one of the premier conferences in the nation,” stated Wilson. “Our goal will be to strengthen that position by facilitating competition for our member institutions resulting in memorable experiences for our student-athletes while preparing them to be impactful members of their community after graduation.”

“The opportunity ahead of us is exciting. We have strength in numbers, strength in competition, strength in personnel and strength in diversity. I am excited to help lead us into this next step in the development of the GSC and feel that my previous experiences will be beneficial to the conference as a whole.”

Dr. Judy Bense, President of the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Chair of the GSC Board of Directors, and a member of the Search Committee stated, “There was an outstanding pool of well qualified applicants for our Commissioner position, however, Mr. Wilson had excellent experience in a strong athletic conference commissioner office, a wide range of professional development, a great personality and an eagerness to take the reins of our historic and powerful conference. The Board of Directors were unanimous in their ratification of Matt and we are fortunate to have him join us in this leadership role. Nate Salant has been our Commissioner for over 20 years and he has shepherded the conference to a high level and he leaves it in great shape. We will miss him and thank him for all he has done for us.”

The Gulf South Conference is a charter member of NCAA Division II dating back to its creation in the summer of 1970.  The league is currently composed of eight full-time members, one associate member and four future members.  Shorter University and Union University will gain official membership in 2014-15, followed by Lee University in 2015-16 and Mississippi College in 2016-17.