By Steve Wilson, Park (Mo.) Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Communications
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Will Wolper has been selected and hired as the first full-time commissioner of the American Midwest Conference (AMC), effective June 15, 2014. He replaces longtime AMC commissioner Lowell Pitzer, who will remain in an advisory role during the beginning stages of Wolper's tenure with the conference.
Wolper was hired by a committee of AMC members, including presidents, faculty athletics representatives, directors of athletics, and sports information directors, led by Dr. Dianne Lynch, Stephens College President, who chairs the AMC's Council of Presidents.
"We looked for a candidate with experience, energy and a clear vision for conference direction," Lynch said. "We attracted an exceptional pool of candidates, and at the end of the process, it was clear to the committee that Will had all of the qualities we needed."
Wolper comes to the AMC after seven years (2007-2014) as commissioner of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), where he oversaw day-to-day operations of the 10-institution NCAA Division III member. While with the SLIAC, Wolper oversaw championships and scheduling for 12 conference sports, supervised the legislative and compliance processes, and was liaison between member institutions and the NCAA national office.
"I am honored to be selected as the first full-time commissioner of the American Midwest Conference and eagerly look forward to this journey," Wolper said. "The AMC is in a great position because of the work of Lowell Pitzer, but with the position becoming full-time, I will be able to provide additional member support and introduce new initiatives. This is a challenge I have been successful in accomplishing in the past, and I look forward to accomplishing it with the members of the AMC."
He also served on the NCAA Division III Financial Aid Committee, Division III Conference Commissioners Association, the Division III Conference Commissioners Diversity and Well Being Committee, and the National Association of Division III Athletics Administrators committee.
"It will be no easy task to fill Lowell's shoes," Lynch added. "But we think Will has the talent and strategic skills to lead us forward. Lowell has graciously offered to work with Will through the transition, so we can all be assured that he will share his wisdom and experience as our longstanding commissioner."
Prior to his work with the SLIAC, Wolper spent six years (2001-2007) as the Director of Information and Assistant Commissioner of the Iowa Intercollegiate Conference, three years (1998-2001) as Director of Media Relations for the United Hockey League, and a year (1997-1998) as Assistant Manager of Media and Public Relations for the American Hockey League.
"The vision for the conference's future that was shared by administrators during the interview process aligns perfectly with my vision for the AMC," Wolper said. "It includes being nationally recognized for competitive athletic programs and a leader on the administrative front, maintaining the philosophy with in the NAIA's Champions of Character program, and most importantly, ensuring we provide our student-athletes with the best possibly experience academically and athletically."
Wolper officially begins his duties with the AMC June 15, and will work with former commissioner Pitzer in his initial transition.
"I have to say that the AMC is in a great place because of Lowell Pitzer's work," Wolper added. "I've had numerous conversations with Lowell over the past several years, since the geographic footprint of both the AMC and SLIAC caused us to use the same coordinators of officials, and I've gotten to know him in the process of coming to the AMC in the past couple of months. I have developed a great admiration for Lowell, his wide knowledge of the conference, and his passion for both the conference and the NAIA. He has left big shoes to fill, but I plan to pick up where he left off and continue to move the AMC forward as one of the elite NAIA conferences."
A Massachusetts native, Wolper will office in the St. Louis area, where he resides with his wife, Robyn, and their two sons, Ben (10) and Jonah (8).