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Kyle Kallander

Commissioner
Big South Conference

Kyle B. Kallander is in his 22nd year as Big South Conference Commissioner in 2017-18, a tenure that has seen year-to-year growth in marketing and television, an enhanced digital presence as well as unparalleled success on the field and in the classroom.

Kallander’s development of a long-term strategic plan, which allows the Big South to position itself as unique amongst its peers, brought football to the Big South in 2002 as well as women’s lacrosse in 2012-13 -- with both sports enjoying national success within five years of existence.  He embarked on an updated strategy in 2015 to transform the Big South into the premiere non-FBS conference in the Southeast and spearheaded the most comprehensive rebranding of the league’s identity in 2017.

He has solidified membership to double-digit totals for nine consecutive years with the additions of High Point, Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian College and Longwood -- as well as the return of charter member Campbell University in 2011.  Kallander’s long range vision has also included technological advancements, as the conference introduced its first live streaming event in 2005 and has consistently provided video offerings of more than 800 annually through a partnership with the member institutions, as well as the creation of several online and social media platforms.  Ongoing equipment upgrades will allow these productions to become “TV-ready” in the near future, while the emphasis on video integration has allowed the conference to expand its reach globally as well as serve as a model for peer conferences to emulate.  Kallander has also pushed initiatives around student-athlete wellness, such as an annual Health & Safety Summit that began in 2016, and has emphasized diversity within the conference with the creation of the Big South “Connection” networking event in 2017.

Kallander has presided over some of the most pivotal events in the league’s history both athletically and academically.  During his tenure, the Big South:

  • Has had one team National Champion (baseball);
  • Has had six individual National Champions;
  • Had a Big South member ranked No. 1 in the national polls in 2014 and 2015 (football);
  • Has reached the NCAA “Sweet 16” in men’s soccer, women’s basketball, baseball and women’s lacrosse;
  • Started football and reached the FCS playoffs in five years and eventually gaining an automatic bid;
  • Had two teams reach the FCS playoffs in the same year three times, and advancing in the playoffs five consecutive years;
  • Had a team advance to the FCS quarterfinals three times (2013, 2014 and 2015);
  • Has had three teams qualify for NCAA competition in the same sport in the same year (men’s soccer and men’s golf);
  • Has had a softball team reach the Regional Championship game four times;
  • Has had a women’s golf team advance to the NCAA Championship three times in six years;
  • Has placed two teams in the NCAA Baseball Regionals eight times;
  • Had members defeat the No. 1-ranked football and baseball team in the nation;
  • Had its first-ever NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament first round win;
  • Has had a baseball team earn a No. 1 seed and host an NCAA Regional and Super Regional;
  • Had an individual reach the round of 32 in the NCAA Men’s Singles Championship;
  • Had its first All-Americans in men’s and women’s cross country;
  • Had a league-record 42 student-athletes earn All-America distinction in 2011-12;
  • Has had women’s basketball, men’s soccer, softball, baseball, women’s soccer, volleyball and women’s lacrosse televised for the first time;
  • Had a Big South-record 13 student-athletes achieve Academic All-America status in 2003-04 and 2013-14;
  • Had its first-ever national finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year;
  • Saw seven programs receive at-large NCAA postseason berths in 2012-13;
  • And has utilized live video streaming of conference events to elevate the league’s exposure to new audiences via new integrated digital platforms

The conference has produced more All-Americans since Kallander took office, while increasing its share of Academic All-Americans and All-District selections.  For the last three years, more than 50 percent of the league’s student-athletes have achieved at least a 3.0 grade point average -- including a record 59.96 percent in 2016-17, while several student-athletes have been recipients of various Postgraduate Scholarships during his timeframe.  Kallander has also successfully integrated the conference’s profile with the member institutions’ general student body, notably through the development of the Big South Academic Consortium, which sponsors the annual Academic College Bowl among league members and the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Furthermore, the Big South has been providing a Graduate Fellowship for postgraduate studies to one male and one female graduating student-athlete for more than a decade.

 Nationally, Kallander has been heavily involved in several organizations and committees.  He currently sits on the NCAA Football Oversight Committee and served on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee -- including Chair for the 2011-12 season.  He also previously served on the NCAA/USOC Task Force, which examined the decline of Olympic sports programs at the nation’s college and universities, chaired the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee, and served on the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics.

To this day, Kallander continues to secure aggressive television packages through relationships with ESPN/ESPNU/ESPN3 and Stadium.  The partnerships have brought the Big South new and enhanced television exposure for its member institutions and student-athletes, and coupled with the conference’s free online channel, the Big South Network, the league’s exposure is now seen by a worldwide audience.  Kallander successfully negotiated a seven-year TV deal with ESPN through 2019, which has expanded the number of Big South events on ESPN platforms and features an average total of 62 Big South broadcasts annually.  The agreement includes six events per season on ESPNU -- four of which are primetime men’s basketball telecasts.  At least 417 conference events will appear on ESPN platforms during the life of the deal.

Named the Big South’s third commissioner on June 24, 1996, Kallander formed the Big South Marketing Group (BSMG) upon his arrival, a partnership with member institutions that enables the conference to develop an integrated marketing strategy and offer comprehensive corporate partnership packages.  The Big South Business Group (BSBG) was also created, involving the Chief Financial Officers from each member institution.  The BSBG explores ways that members can benefit through working together and with conference corporate partners.  Kallander has overseen a revision of the league’s governance structure and has been instrumental in securing record sponsorship revenues throughout his tenure, and has been innovative in developing and executing a public relations plan for the Big South, which has resulted in increased exposure, both on a regional and national level.  On the field, the conference has added four Championship sports under Kallander -- men’s and women’s indoor track & field, football and women’s lacrosse.
 
Kallander came to the Big South after serving as Southwest Conference Commissioner during the 1995-96 season.  Under his guidance, the Southwest generated more than $22 million in revenue, an all-time record.  Kallander was also directly responsible for negotiating and implementing television agreements with CBS, Raycom and Prime Sports Southwest for the 1995-96 football and basketball seasons.  He successfully administered the league’s postseason basketball tournaments, which attracted its largest attendance since 1990, and also served as Tournament Director for the 1996 NCAA Men’s Basketball Midwest Region First and Second Round Games in Dallas.

He began his collegiate athletics career at his alma mater, the University of Washington, in 1985, where he served as Director of Advertising & Promotions, as well as Director of Compliance, before joining the Southwest Conference in 1992 as Assistant Commissioner.
  
Kallander received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education in 1980, and a Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology in 1982, from Washington.  He is married to the former Lisa Dallosto and has two children, Stefan, 27, and Tristan, 24.