Summit League Commissioner Douple announces retirement

Sports

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (SUMMIT) — Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple announced his retirement Wednesday morning after 16 years of leading the League and its membership, which brings a close to a career in athletics that spanned 44 years. Douple’s retirement is effective Oct. 1.

“I would like to thank the Presidents’ Council for the great opportunity provided to me in serving as the Commissioner of The Summit League,” Douple said. “I am truly appreciative and have enjoyed working with all the outstanding leaders in the League — including 123 different administrators. In spearheading the League over that time, I worked with 43 Presidents, 42 Athletic Directors, and 38 Senior Woman Administrators.”

Douple began his role with the League in September of 2005 and quickly put into motion “The Summit Plan” that was highlighted by a new name and logo that was the centerpiece of a complete re-brand of the League in 2007 from its former name, the Mid-Continent Conference.

During his time with the League, eight new members were added and two former members returned to enhance the geographic footprint, which in turn helped push the League’s postseason basketball tournaments into the premier events that they currently are today. The 2022 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will be the 14th-consecutive held in Sioux Falls.

“After spending more than four decades of my professional life dedicated to athletics, I am ready to retire and move on to the next phase of my life,” Douple added. “I have immensely enjoyed my time in the athletic field. I take considerable satisfaction in the way the staff has tackled the many challenges presented to us along the way. And, it is personally very rewarding to have played a role in the growth and development of The Summit League during my tenure.”

One of Douple’s final impactful moments on the college athletics landscape was spearheading the efforts to help the University of St. Thomas become the first athletic department in NCAA history to make the jump from the Division III level to the Division I level. The Tommies officially joined the League in July of 2021.

“I am walking away with so many unforgettable moments and lifelong friends. I have also been blessed to work with great staff over the years,” he said. “As I officially say goodbye to the Commissioner post, I believe the current staff can accomplish the League’s mission and ensure The Summit League flourishes in the future.”

The Presidents’ Council appointed Myndee Kay Larsen as the interim commissioner. Larsen has worked with the League since October of 2006 and has been the deputy commissioner since March of 2018.

What People Are Saying About Commissioner Douple
Dr. Dean Bresciani, President of North Dakota State University

“Commissioner Douple’s extraordinary 44-year career, including 16 years of impactful service to The Summit League, represent an accomplishment and contribution that few ever achieve. He has provided the guidance for our League to succeed and be recognized at a truly national level that we have not previously enjoyed. I can think of no greater accomplishment for a league commissioner.

“Over the course of his time as Commissioner, and my 11 years working with him as the President of North Dakota State University, I have come to think of him both as a respected colleague and steady friend. On both of those fronts, he will be greatly missed.”

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center
“I have had the true pleasure of working with Tom over the past four years, two of them in my role as chair. The continued growth and success of the Summit League is a true team effort, but Tom’s leadership has been inspiring. Having worked even more closely with the leadership team since the very beginning of the pandemic, it is clear that our presidents/chancellors, our athletic directors and Tom’s team have joined together even more tightly. We are very grateful to Tom for his dedication and wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Dr. Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor of the University of Denver
“For the past 16 years, Tom has wonderfully led The Summit League as Commissioner and in that time has achieved phenomenal success. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Commissioner Douple for the past two years and I admire the work he has done to lead our league.”

Danielle Surprenant, Director of Athletics at Western Illinois University
“I want to thank Commissioner Douple for his leadership over the Summit League for the last 16 years. Under his direction, the league has seen substantial growth, and he has been the driving force behind its success. 

“Commissioner Douple has left a lasting impression on our campus at Western Illinois, and he will be greatly missed. I will always be thankful for his guidance and support and wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter.”

Dr. Billy Wilson, President of Oral Roberts University
“Tom Douple is a champion of a man and has done a championship job in leading The Summit League. The League has progressed on every front under Tom’s leadership and we deeply appreciate his hard work.”

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