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National Collegiate Hockey Conference names first commissioner

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference — the new eight-school Division I men’s hockey conference that will start play in the 2013–14 season — today announced veteran sports executive Jim Scherr will serve as its first commissioner.

Scherr has more than 20 years in sports management leadership, including serving as chief executive officer of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and executive director of USA Wrestling. He was introduced at a news conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the conference will be headquartered.

“I am honored to have been selected by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference to become its first commissioner,” Scherr says. “I am grateful to the athletic directors and coaches of our conference’s member institutions for their support, confidence and trust. We have just 21 months before we drop the puck to launch our first season and there’s a lot to accomplish. This is a once-in-a-career opportunity, and I look forward to leading a conference — including the eight outstanding hockey programs with their coaches, staffs, student-athletes and fans — that has the potential to become the premier single-sport conference in intercollegiate athletics.”

The eight member institutions of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference are: University of Denver, Colorado College, Miami University, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University.

Scherr will immediately begin building a staff and working on several organizational functions and projects, including hockey operations and competition, business development and marketing initiatives.

Scherr served as CEO of the USOC from 2005–09, overseeing 45 Olympic sports and directing the day-to-day operations of an organization dedicated to providing unparalleled service and support to America’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. During that time, the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team collected 110 medals — the most ever for an American Olympic team in a non-boycotted games. At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Team USA finished an impressive second with 25 Olympic medals — the highest total for an American team in a Winter Games held outside of the United States.

Scherr was interim CEO of the USOC from 2003–05 and led the organization through a critical period that resulted in the most comprehensive reorganization of its governance and management structures in history, culminating with sweeping changes to the USOC constitution and bylaws and the appointment of a new, 11-person board of directors in May 2004. He was chief of sport performance for the USOC from 2000–03.

A former Olympian and a world silver and bronze medalist in men’s freestyle wrestling, Scherr served as executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990–2000. He successfully reorganized and restructured the national office, resulting in record levels of athlete and coach memberships, initiated a financial turnaround and spurred an upsurge in wrestling participation and medals.

Most recently, Scherr was founder and CEO of 776 Original Marketing in Colorado Springs, a company he started in 2009 to provide marketing and public relations services. Clients have included national governing bodies, international federations and other sports organizations.

Scherr has been inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Nebraska Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was NCAA Division I wrestling champion for the University of Nebraska in 1984, USA Wrestling Man of the Year in 1994 and a member of the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team in 1986, 1988 and 1989.

Scherr graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1985 and earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1989.

“The selection of Jim Scherr as our first commissioner is the culmination of a thorough, national search to identify an exceptional sports business executive who will provide the leadership, vision and credibility to make our new conference the benchmark for excellence in collegiate hockey,” says Brian Faison, athletic director at the University of North Dakota. “While the position attracted dozens of very impressive candidates, Jim distinguished himself as someone who exceeded the leadership criteria established by our athletic directors. Jim’s depth of experience will serve the conference well, and we are delighted he has agreed to accept this important position.”


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