AAC commissioner welcomes East Carolina, Tulane and TulsaPublished 2:25pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014
I want to take the opportunity this morning to welcome three outstanding institutions — East Carolina University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa — as new American Athletic Conference members. We also welcome presidents Steve Ballard of ECU, Michael Fitts of Tulane, and Stead Upham of Tulsa and athletic directors Jeff Compher, Rick Dickson and Derrick Gragg, respectively. We have gotten to know and work with each of them, and we are privileged to have them with us.
Our new schools will bring energy, strong athletic programs and academic quality to our distinguished Conference. We have enjoyed a remarkable inaugural year. We quickly established ourselves as one of America’s premier conferences, and we are firmly in the power conference conversation. We will accept nothing less than excellence.
We also take satisfaction in the knowledge that our conference composition as of today will be our composition going forward, with the notable exception of adding the United States Naval Academy next summer. We will be delighted to welcome this great national institution whose students are the best America has to offer. I want to take a moment to salute outgoing superintendent, Vice Admiral Mike Miller, who has been instrumental in building the foundation of our reinvented conference and whose friendship and support has meant a great deal to all of us. I also would like to recognize and thank Dr. Scott Cowen, who is retiring as president of Tulane University after a long and distinguished career, and who was instrumental in bringing Tulane into our conference as well as providing valuable guidance and support.
Our new schools will enjoy unprecedented television coverage, which will serve to build their identities and their brands. They will become better known nationally, and viewers around the country will see the quality of their programs. They will be joining a group of schools determined to continue to challenge for championships and national recognition.
We as a conference will move forward with confidence, energy, dedication, commitment and tremendous optimism. Our student-athletes will continue to compete at the highest level in the classroom as well as on the fields and courts.
On behalf of the American Athletic Conference, I take great pride in extending a warm welcome to our new schools, and wish them well in the intense and rewarding competition ahead. We all know that the best is yet to come!