BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Greg Sankey has been named the eighth commissioner of the Southeastern Conference by the presidents and chancellors of the SEC, it was announced Thursday by Nick Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and president of the SEC presidents and chancellors.
Greg Sankey, in his 13th year as a member of the Southeastern Conference staff, has served as Executive Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for the league office since 2012. Sankey will succeed Mike Slive who has served as SEC commissioner since 2002 and who announced last October that he will retire effective July 31, 2015.
"The institutions of the Southeastern Conference searched for a commissioner who would carry forward the momentum of success enjoyed by the SEC over the last decade while also possessing a vision for change in the modern era of college athletics," said Zeppos. "Greg Sankey's experience with our institutions, his respect on the national landscape, his understanding of the balance of athletics and academics, and his passion for the welfare of student-athletes make him the perfect leader for the SEC."
Dr. David Gearhart, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas, served as chairman of a search committee that also consisted of Dr. Judy Bonner, President of the University of Alabama; Dr. Eli Capilouto, President of the University of Kentucky; Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State University; and Dr. Bowen Loftin, Chancellor of the University of Missouri.
"Greg possesses all of the traits we were searching for in the next commissioner of the SEC," said Gearhart. "He has shown tremendous leadership in his existing role in the conference office and he exudes a passion for the student-athlete that is critical for the new era of college athletics that we have entered. He is the right person to lead the SEC at an important time in our history."
Sankey has been an integral part of the SEC's efforts to reshape the league's governance, enforcement and compliance program, and he has also directed the SEC's championships staff. He is active within the NCAA committee structure, which includes his current service on the Division I Legislative Council, Committee on Academic Performance and the NCAA Committee on Infractions for which he currently serves as chairman.
"The universities of the SEC represent the greatest combination of academic and athletic excellence and I am honored to be selected to follow Mike Slive as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference," Sankey said. "The SEC is poised to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes for generations to come. We must ensure that the lessons they learn from their achievements in competition and in the classroom translate into success in life after college."
Prior to joining the SEC staff, Sankey was Commissioner of the Southland Conference for nearly seven years. He joined the Southland Conference staff in 1992 where he served as both assistant and associate commissioner before he was named commissioner in 1996.
Prior to his term at the Southland Conference he was director of compliance and academic services at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. While at Northwestern State, Sankey also coached the Demons' golf teams for two years. Previous to his tenure at Northwestern State, he was the director of intramural sports at Utica College in upstate New York.
A native of Auburn, New York, Sankey earned his master's degree from Syracuse University and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland. Sankey and his wife, Cathy, reside in Birmingham, Alabama, and have two daughters, Hannah Michelle (22) and Moriah Elizabeth (18).