April 16, 2007

Rudy Keeling Named ECAC Commissioner

CAPE COD, Mass -- After a nationwide search by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Board of Directors, President Wayne Dean, a Senior Associate Athletics Director at Yale University has announced the naming of Mr. Rudy Keeling as Commissioner of the ECAC effective May 1, 2007.

Keeling's multi-divisional experience as an administrator and coach within intercollegiate athletics and past leadership positions within the ECAC and NCAA were distinguishing characteristics in the Board of Directors decision for the Commissioner appointment.

“After an extensive national search with many outstanding candidates, we are proud and excited to introduce Rudy Keeling as the next Commissioner of the ECAC” says Dean.  “Rudy is a seasoned and highly respected professional in the field of athletics.  His extensive coaching and administrative experience makes him the perfect person to lead the ECAC and our membership into the future.”

Most recently serving as the Director of Athletics at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, Keeling brings to the ECAC over twenty-five years of experience in collegiate athletics.  Named to the position at Emerson in October of 2002, Keeling, through cooperative work with the City of Boston, has overseen the development of multi-million dollar state-of-the-art athletic facilities.  The creation of these structures has enabled the College to make significant enhancements to its Athletics Department and increase the number of varsity athletic teams. 
“My association with Emerson College has been wonderful, and leaving will be difficult, but joining the ECAC as its Commissioner is one of the most exciting opportunities I have had in my professional career”, says Keeling.  “In past years, the ECAC was looked upon as a giant in the world of intercollegiate athletics and now with the help of the Board of Directors and the Membership, we will seek to return the Conference to the heights it enjoyed in the past.”

In addition to his responsibilities at Emerson, Keeling served on the NCAA Division III Management Council as the Great Northeastern Athletic Conference (GNAC) representative.  He was also a member of the ECAC Board of Directors where he served as Chair of the Marketing Committee. 

Steve Bamford, Interim Commissioner of the ECAC, stated, “I am excited about the future of the ECAC under Rudy Keeling’s leadership as our new Commissioner. Having worked closely with Rudy over the past two years as a member of the ECAC Board of Directors, I can attest to his passion for the ECAC and his vision for its future.”  Bamford added, “Rudy’s skills as a consensus builder and an attentive listener will serve him and the ECAC well as we move into the future.”  Bamford believes that, “Rudy has the personal qualities necessary to impact positive change within the ECAC membership and establish a process for ‘re-inventing’ ourselves in terms of not only improving the quality of programs and services we now offer but also creating and implementing new value-added initiatives that the membership may not currently receive from their respective conferences.”

A graduate of Quincy College, where he majored in history, Keeling began his professional career in 1980 as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. In addition to his assistant coaching responsibilities, he planned and created the Academic Assistance Program for Student/Athletes.  In 1986, he was named the assistant men’s basketball coach at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

In 1988, Keeling began his head coaching career at the University of Maine, Orono.  He guided the Black Bears until 1996, when he was named the head men’s basketball coach at Northeastern University in Boston, a position he held until April of 2002.  Throughout his tenure as a head coach, Keeling has demonstrated his high level of commitment to the academic and athletic success of student-athletes, graduating almost every student-athlete he ever coached.  

On May 1st, Rudy Keeling will become the seventh commissioner of the ECAC and the first African-American to assume this prestigious position.  In his first few months at the ECAC, Commissioner Keeling plans to spend time in the various regions of the membership for a purpose of interacting with Athletic Directors as well as Conference Commissioners to create a clear vision for the future of the ECAC.  

Steve Bamford, who served as Interim Commissioner since January 2006, will assume the role of Senior Associate Commissioner, effective May 1st. 

Thoughts on Rudy Keeling

“NACDA is pleased that long time member Rudy Keeling has been selected as the new commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).  The ECAC is a proud and storied conference and I feel confident that it will maintain its illustrious place in intercollegiate athletics under the guidance of its new leader.  Once again we congratulate and wish Rudy Keeling the best as he takes over the reins.”
Michael Cleary
President & Director
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA)

“Rudy Keeling will provide great leadership to the ECAC.  Without question, he is strong and determined, very bright and clearly passionate about intercollegiate athletics.  Rudy's vast experiences in both administration and coaching will serve his unique constituency.”
Kevin White
Director of Athletics
University of Notre Dame

“I have known Rudy Keeling for a very long time in his roles as head Men’s Basketball Coach and Director of Athletics.  There is no one better qualified for the ECAC Commissionership at this particular time than he.  He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in not only New England Athletics, but East Coast Athletics as well.  He will be able to easily interact with coaches and athletic administrators as both a peer and colleague.  Rudy’s experience as a Division I Head Men’s Basketball Coach and a Division III Director of Athletics provide him with the knowledge to communicate with the membership on all levels (Div. I, II, III) and finally this hire makes Rudy Keeling the first African-American Commissioner in ECAC history, and also the only African-American Commissioner in a non-historically black college and university Conference affiliate.  I truly commend the ECAC Search Committee for their due diligence in this hire.
Eugene Marshall, Jr.
Deputy Athletic Director
United States Military Academy
President, Board of Directors-Black Coaches Association

"Rudy Keeling is a highly respected administrator with a broad range of experience.  He will bring a new direction and focus to the ECAC and I look forward to working with him in the future."
David R. Brunk
Northeast-10 Conference

“Rudy Keeling and I have been friends for over 20 years and we both come out of the College Basketball Coaching Fraternity. When he made the move to athletic administration several years ago, I knew then it was only a matter of time before he ascended to the higher ranks of athletics governance and oversight. His selection as commissioner will benefit the ECAC as well as place another qualified person of color in a position to not only serve as a role model but also as a  mentor for those to follow. His emergence is an example to all who wish to serve in our profession.”
Clint Bryant
Athletics Director
Augusta State University
Board President
Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA)

“I have known Rudy for a number of years both as a Head Coach and as an Athletic Director. The common thread that I have observed over time is that Rudy is a proven leader! His dedication to his responsibilities and his ability to create a shared agenda is outstanding! The ECAC has done a great job in its selection of Rudy and will benefit from the huge network of professional colleagues that he will bring to the table. In short, this is a great day for the ECAC and an even better day for celebrating a true professional who is Rudy Keeling. I look forward to working with Commissioner Keeling in the future!”
Sean Frazier
Director of Athletics
Merrimack College

“One of the neat things is when you find out that what you’re looking for is right in your back yard.   Rudy has already demonstrated the capacity to work exceptionally well with coaches, students, faculty and staff, and I have complete confidence in his ability to be an effective leader of the ECAC.  He will put in the energy that needs to take place. He will be fair and will do a good job. You know what you’re getting with Rudy.  He’s a good man. I look forward to working with Rudy, for whom I have the utmost respect.”
Dr. Cathie Schweitzer
Director of Athletics
Springfield College

“I have had the pleasure of working with Rudy Keeling on several ECAC Committees over the past three years.  Rudy is well-acquainted with NCAA programs in Divisions III, II and I.  He has a warm countenance and possesses strong communication skills.  He will bring a fresh approach to the position of commissioner and will certainly relate to the present needs of all members of the ECAC family.”
Bill Moore
Little East Conference

"Rudy Keeling is a standout choice for the ECAC.  I am sure his approach will be inclusive of the ECAC's constituents in all three divisions.  He is a very capable leader who understands the organization and can move it forward."
Donna M. Ledwin
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference