History of the Division II CCA

Initiated in 1992 to promote its member conferences and institutions, the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (DII CCA) has made its mark in providing a united front for NCAA Division II athletics.   Created after the break-up of the College Division Commissioners Association, the DII CCA continues to create lines of communication and opportunities for its member conferences.

            During the spring of 1991, Bob Vanatta, commissioner of the Sunshine State Conference, solicited interest from other Division II commissioners in the development of an association whose sole interest related to Division II. At the 1992 NCAA Convention, twelve Division II commissioners voted to organize the DII CCA.

            Vanatta was named the organization’s first president. His first action was to establish an eight-person steering committee to oversee the development and objectives of the association. The first scheduled meeting of the DII CCA was held February 15, 1992 in Kansas City. At the first meeting key NCAA staffers met with the commissioners, establishing a valuable line of communication.

            In June 1992, Vanatta resigned his post as president. Noel Olson of the North Central Conference was elected to serve as the association’s second president. South Athletic Conference Commissioner Dough Echols was elected vice president and Joanne Fortunato of the New England Collegiate Conference was named secretary/treasurer. Olson oversaw the DII CCA’s inclusion as an affiliate member of the NCAA by the end of summer 1992.

            The DII CCA became involved in the key issues facing the NCAA in the early 1990’s , including institutional and coaches certification, gender equality regional basketball alignments and NCAA restructuring.

            In December 1993, Olson created a liaison system to establish lines of communication with specific groups that had interests in Division II. Additionally, a Long Range Planning Committee chaired by Leon Kerry of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association was established to narrow the focus of the DII CCA and encourage national awareness of Division II. The Committee highlighted the restructuring process, the reduction of NCAA bureaucracy and the marketing of Division II as key issues for the DII CCA.

            Doug Echols was named the DII CCA president in 1995. Jim Jorgenson of the Northern California Athletic Conference Commissioner was named vice president and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Commissioner Kurt Patberg was tabbed secretary/treasurer.

            During Echols’ tenure, the association focused on the NCAA restructuring process, as well as the NCAA championship committee structure. Woody Hahn replaced Echols as president in 1996. Hahn, commissioner of the Pacific West Conference, was assisted by Don Landry of the Sunshine State Conference in his capacity as vice president.  Patberg continued as secretary/treasurer.

            In 1996, the NCAA awarded the right to manage Division II’s only exempt-status preseason basketball tournament to the DII CCA. In an effort to showcase the wealth of talent in Division II, eight teams would compete in the preseason tournament in both men’s and women’s basketball. Disney Sports became the host of the tournament in 1997 and moved the 16-team field to Orlando and its showcase facility located in the Wide World of Sports complex.

            In early 1998, Don Landry was named president of the DII CCA. Tom Brown of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was named vice president, while Kurt Patberg continued his role as secretary/treasurer. Landry’s tenure saw tremendous maturation of the association as it became more involved in NCAA governance and decision making.

            On July 1, 2000, Brown became president of the association. Barry Blizzard of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was named the vice president and Alan Patterson of the then named Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference was tabbed as secretary/treasurer.

            In September 2000 the association named the first Division II Regional and National Division II Scholar-Athletes of the Year. The Scholar Athlete awards allow the DII CCA to showcase the incredible academic talents of Division II’s athletics.

            Barry Blizzard was tabbed as the DII CCA president in 2002. During Blizzard’s term in office, the association developed a corporate marketing strategy to explore collective sponsorships for the member conferences. It was during this period that the DII CCA created a consultant position to assist with planning and scheduling the association’s business. Jim Johnson and Bob Oliver, both formerly of the NCAA staff, served as consultants initially, with Johnson taking over the role solely when Oliver became commissioner of the Central Atlantic Conference. Johnson oversaw the development of a strategic plan to help guide the direction of association.

            Brown and Blizzard worked closely with NCAA Division II Governance resulting in the association having unprecedented input in the restructuring of the Division II Enhancement Fun and subsequent distributions.

            Following Blizzard as president was Bob Hiegert from the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Hiegert established an operating system for the DII CCA to allow the association to conduct its meeting and business in a more efficient manner. Jim Naumovich served as vice president during Hiegert’s term in office. Also during Hiegert’s term, the DII CCA added Nancy Mitchell, NCAA Division II Chief of Staff from 1996-1999, as an executive consultant to the association.

            In the Summer of 2006, Jim Naumovich, commissioner of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, was named president of the DII CCA. Mike Marcil, commissioner of the Sunshine State Conference, became vice-president and Alan Patterson was asked to continue as secretary/treasurer. Naumovich led the DII CCA in its support of the new NCAA Division II Strategic Initiatives implemented by the NCAA Division II Presidents Council.

            Also during Naumovich’s tenure as president, the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic was expanded to include games in Anaheim, just outside Disneyland, in addition to those conducted each year at Walt Disney World in Florida.

            Mike Marcil succeeded Naumovich as president in July 2008, with Butch Raymond of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference serving as vice-president. Alan Patterson continued in the role of treasurer.

            Under Marcil’s leadership, the DII CCA worked closely with the NCAA DII Governance staff and governing bodies to move forward in the DII values embodied in the national DII Strategic Positioning Platform. With Marcil’s departure from the Sunshine State Conference in the summer of 2009, Naumovich agreed to step back into the role of president.  In October 2009, the CCA voted to change Nancy Mitchell’s title  to Executive Director.  In July 2010 Butch Raymond assumed the role of president and Steve Murray of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference assumed the role of vice-president.  Alan Patterson continues in the role of treasurer.  Key issues for the CCA include the impact of DII membership growth and conference realignment.



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