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COMMISSIONER MOVES: GLIAC's Dell Robinson Now Executive Search Consultant

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September 17, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Dell Robinson (Right), now an executive sports consultant after 7 years in Bay City heading the GLIAC, & Jeff Ligney (Right), interim commissioner.

Dell Robinson, commissioner of the Great Lakes Athletic Conference (GLIAC), 1110 Washington Ave., Bay City, and a Bay City resident since 2009 has moved on and is now an intercollegiate athletics executive search consultant with Spelman Johnson in Northhampton, Massachusetts.

Robinson, a native of Cleveland, was graduated from Ohio University, Athen, Ohio, in 1988. He was a walk-on on the football team and played on special teams.

He earned a graduate degree in sports administration at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, in 1992, and was the director of compliance and enforcement for the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Birmingham, Alabama, 1992-1996. He was assistant commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference, Englewood, Colorado, for nearly three years

He was associate commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, Cleveland, Ohio, for nearly 10 years, immediately preceding his seven years in Bay City as GLIAC commissioner.

"I have been in athletics for about 25 years, Robinson summarized his career. "Working in four conferences has allowed me to observe more than 60 public and private institutions, embracing all of the institutions' missions, sports programs, and offerings. My experience stretches from the Midwest to the West Coast."

Another Bay County resident, Tom Brown, of Linwood, a former Northwood University official, served 17 years as GLIAC commissioner, increasing its membership from 10 to 14.

The early career of Brown, a former Bad Axe boys' basketball coach, was profiled by the Huron Daily Tribune when he retired from GLIAC in 2009: "He started his own consulting firm, and has served in various capacities with Northwood University, including professor, men's basketball coach, athletic director, business manager, director of finance and operations, executive vice president, chancellor/chief operating officer, and president."

Brown, the longest-serving GLIAC commissioner, received the Tom Donahue Service Award from the organization. He helped form the conference when he was a Northwood official.

The GLIAC made history when it hired Dell Robinson as Commissioner. Robinson became the first ethnic minority to serve as D-II commissioner of a non-historically black college or university conference when he began his duties on July 1, 2009, and served through June 2016.

The GLIAC staff consists of Jeff Ligney, Interim Commissioner; Danielle Harris, Asst. Commissioner for Compliance/Championships; Chris Roekle, Director of Strategic Communications; Marcus Thatcher, Intern; Mike McCann, Supervisor of Football Officials; Kim Vieira, Supervisor of Soccer Officials; Jeanne Skinner, Supervisor of Volleyball Officials; Rob Doss, Supervisor of Women's Basketball Officials; Bill Ek, Supervisor of Men?s Basketball Officials; Linda Strapp, Supervisor of Women?s Lacrosse Officials; Bill Gomoluch Supervisor of Softball Umpires, and Rich Fetchiet, Assignor of Baseball Umpires.

Ligney, Bay City native, and All Saints Central graduate was the GLIAC's first full-time employee. Ligney recently concluded terms on the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Committee and the NCAA Statistics & Records Advisory Board. In 2012 he was elected to serve as President of Division II Conference Information Directors Association.

Founded in 1972, the GLIAC grew from five charter members -- Ferris State, Grand Valley, Lake Superior, Northwood, and Saginaw Valley -- to a 16-school, two-division alignment of nine Michigan and seven Ohio colleges, all of them in the NCAA Division II category.

Last year five GLIAC member schools announced they were leaving the conference in 2017 for the new Great Midwest Athletic Conference, including the University of Findlay, Hillsdale, Lake Erie, Ohio Dominican and Walsh.

The remaining GLIAC members include two Ohio schools -- Ashland and Tiffin, as well as Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Hillsdale, Lake Superior, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Northwood and Saginaw Valley.

The Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) was named the 24th NCAA Division II conference and operates in the Great Lakes and East South Central States regions of the United States. The G-MAC began conference play in the 2012-13 academic year hosting 12 championships and continued to work through the educational assessment program. The conference received approval and began as an active Division II conference in 2013-14, hosting 17 championships.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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