The Sun Belt Conference has announced that they are extending the contract of Commissioner Keith Gill through 2030 after three years in the position and already once signed an extension through 2026.
According to Texas State President Dr. Kelly Damphousse, “Commissioner Gill has been a tremendous leader for the Sun Belt Conference, just as we expected he would be when we hired him. What we did not anticipate at the time was the impact of a global pandemic on athletics or how soon we would be dealing with realignment. In both cases, Keith provided excellent leadership to the SBC Board of Directors, our institutional leadership, and the conference staff. After convening a COVID mitigation plan, for example, the SBC was one of the first conferences to commit to playing a full slate of football games in Fall 2020, which provided our schools increased exposure through linear broadcasts.”
“During realignment, Keith kept campus leaders informed about the rapid changes taking place and ensured that the Sun Belt Conference was able to accomplish its goals of adding outstanding new partner universities that fit our strategic and geographic goals (and to complete our new conference structure in 2022). My fellow board members were very pleased when Keith agreed to extend his contract, and we are looking forward to his leading our conference forward as we face a continuously changing environment in intercollegiate athletics” said Damphousse.
“I am grateful to Dr. Damphousse and all of the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors for extending my opportunity to serve the conference and its 14 member institutions,” Commissioner Gill said. “I am proud of the way our membership has pulled together through the COVID-19 pandemic and realignment and look forward to the bright future that lies ahead for the Sun Belt.”
Gill has experienced unprecedented success since taking over the Sun Belt, including expanding the conference during this latest realignment period to 14 teams, adding James Madison, Old Dominion, Marshall, and Southern Mississippi. Gill also brought men’s soccer back to the conference, with the league starting play in 2022. The Sun Belt’s soccer league carries over 100 NCAA Tournament appearances collectively in men’s soccer.
In the College Football Playoff era, Sun Belt football has been one of the best conferences, carrying a .649 bowl winning percentage. Three teams in the league had double-digit wins in 2021.
Under Gill’s leadership, Sun Belt diamond sports have also had great success, with both baseball (4 in 2022) and softball (4 in 2021) being multi-bid leagues into the postseason. There have also been six postseason appearances from men’s basketball in the last three years.
Gill has also placed a huge emphasis on academic success for the conference, with personal development, branding, and inclusion also being major aspects of the conference’s success.
The Sun Belt and ESPN currently have a media rights deal in place through 2030-2031, with 18.2 million people tuning into SBC football last year. 2022 will be the 11th consecutive year that every team has a home game featured on an ESPN platform.
Gill guided the SBC through the COVID pandemic in 2020 and made sure the conference didn’t miss a beat, only having one football game canceled that season.
Off the field, Gill, the first Black Commissioner in FBS history, has done a lot of work in the field of inclusion. Gill launched CHANGE in 2020, which showed student-athletes the values of being civic-minded. Schools in the conference also visited many historic sites near their schools, called the SBC Civil Rights Trail.
Gill also serves on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee and the Division I Nominating Committee. In his career spanning over 25 years, he has served as associate commissioner for the A10, Athletic Director at Richmond, and spent time at Vanderbilt and Oklahoma.
Gill graduated from Duke in 1994 and got his Master’s from Oklahoma in 2006. He also played football for the Blue Devils.