BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference today announced the departure of Duer Sharp as Commissioner of the Conference. After 10 years of serving as Commissioner, Mr. Sharp is leaving the Conference to pursue other opportunities. His departure is effective as of December 31, 2017.
“On behalf of the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, we thank Mr. Sharp for his outstanding leadership to the Conference,” said Chairman of Council of Presidents and Chancellors Dr. Andrew Hugine. “During his tenure, the conference experienced significant growth in programs and exposure nationally. As Mr. Sharp pursues other interests, we wish him well.”
Edgar Gantt, who has previously served as the Associate Commissioner of the SWAC, has been named the Interim Commissioner.
“Our focus at the SWAC has always been to ‘Honor the Heritage’ by preserving our rich history and traditions,” Sharp said. “I want to express my gratitude to all of the Council of Presidents during my tenure for the opportunity. I also want to thank all of the league office staff members and student-athletes, past and present, that helped build the SWAC brand through their hard work and effort.”
Sharp was named the fifth SWAC commissioner in 2008. Under his leadership, he helped secure the Celebration Bowl sponsored by ESPN after extending the conference’s relationship with the network. The partnership culminated national televised coverage of more than 30 athletic events.
Additionally, Sharp formed partnerships with the NBPA and the NFL to provide professional development and internship opportunities for student-athletes, rising administrators and coaches.
In 2013, he spearheaded the SWAC football and basketball championship’s move to Houston landing both events inside professional sports venues. The following year, the football championship made its first appearance inside NRG Stadium followed by the men and women’ s basketball tournament at Toyota Center. He also led the enhancement of the conference brand through its digital, social media, and mobile platforms while creating the SWAC Digital Network.