CLEVELAND Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, with 15 years experience as a Division I commissioner, was appointed commissioner of the Mid-American Conference today by the league Presidents at a meeting in Indianapolis, and following an extensive national search.
Dr. Steinbrecher comes to the MAC after serving six years as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference. Prior to the OVC, he served as commissioner of the Mid-Continent Conference (now known as the Summitt League).
“Jon has a superior background at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics,” stated Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn, chair of the search committee. “He is a proven talent, an innovative thinker, with excellent administrative and academic credentials. Clearly, Dr. Steinbrecher shares the same values as the member institutions and its student-athletes, and he will continue our tradition as one of the nation’s premier conferences.”
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen to lead a conference, well-recognized as a leader in academics and athletics,” stated Dr. Steinbrecher. “I am excited to become a part of the proud MAC tradition and eager to get to work.”
At the OVC, Dr. Steinbrecher significantly increased the conference’s national television coverage in negotiating a five-year contract extension with ESPN. The 2005 OVC Men’s Basketball Tournament Semifinal was the first-ever sporting event televised on ESPNU.
He has also spearheaded numerous external projects benefiting the league, including streaming video with the 2006 establishment of OVCSports.TV, which has streamed over 800 events. In 2008, Steinbrecher negotiated a partnership with IMG College to manage the OVC’s multimedia rights and sponsorship sales.
Dr. Steinbrecher headed the efforts of Nashville and the OVC in bidding for and ultimately securing the rights to host the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four for Nashville.
In addition to his work at the Mid-Continent and the OVC, Dr. Steinbrecher has served on several NCAA committees, including the Division I Basketball Issues Committee, serving as a member of subcommittees for both men’s and women’s basketball. In 1999, he became the first non-FBS (Division I-A) commissioner elected as president of the Collegiate Commissioner’s Association (CCA). In 2007, Dr. Steinbrecher was appointed to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Academic Enhancement Group by NCAA President Myles Brand; the group was charged to develop strategies to enhance academic performance and graduation rates in Division I men’s basketball. In September 2008, he began a three-year term on the NCAA Division I Legislative Council, of which he was named vice chair.
Prior to being named Mid-Continent Conference Commissioner in Nov. 1994, Dr. Steinbrecher had previously served the league as Director of Communications, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Assistant Commissioner. He joined the Mid-Continent staff in 1989 after previously serving in the athletic departments at Houston Baptist University, Indiana University and Davidson College.
Dr. Steinbrecher is a 1983 graduate of Valparaiso University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education and journalism. In 2006 he was bestowed an Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater.
Steinbrecher graduated with a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1984 and was awarded the doctorate of physical education in sports administration from Indiana University in 1989.
An all-conference and an academic all-conference selection in football, a conference champion in tennis, Dr. Steinbrecher was named Valparaiso’s and the Heartland Collegiate Conference’s Student-Athlete of the Year in 1983.
In 2006, he was inducted into the Watauga County (N.C.) Sports Hall of Fame.
Active in the community, Dr. Steinbrecher is the past chair of the Board of Education at Our Savior Lutheran Academy in Nashville. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Nashville Sports Council, serving as the chair of the Events Committee. Dr. Steinbrecher is also on the board of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Dr. Steinbrecher and his wife Anne have three children, daughter Grace and twin sons, Matt and Will.
Steinbrecher follows Rick Chryst, who served as the MAC Commissioner since 1999. Dave Reese served as the MAC’s first commissioner from 1946-64, followed by Bob James (1964-71), Fred Jacoby (1971-82), Jim Lessig (1982-90) Karl Benson (1990-94), Jerry Ippoliti (1994-99), and Chryst.