The Big South Conference has named Sherika A. Montgomery as its new Commissioner following a national search.
Montgomery, a former women’s basketball student-athlete and Big South staff member from 2010-17, becomes just the fourth commissioner in the history of the Big South, and will officially begin her duties on May 15. She replaces Kyle Kallander, currently the second-longest tenured NCAA Division I multisport conference commissioner, who is retiring at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season after 27 years leading the conference. He will be inducted into the Big South Conference Hall of Fame on June 1.
Montgomery comes to the Big South from the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), where she was appointed Deputy Commissioner this past year. She joined the MVC staff in the summer of 2021 as Associate Commissioner and Senior Woman Administrator. During her time at the Valley, Montgomery has been responsible for the organizational leadership of Conference operations, including administrative oversight of the Conference’s governance structure, facilitation of constituency communication, execution of future strategic initiatives and the primary sport administrator for basketball.
In her current role, she serves as liaison to the Conference’s Chief Executive Officers and Directors of Athletics, with additional areas of leadership responsibilities within NCAA national matters, student-athlete experience enhancements, and Conference diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
“Announcing the Big South’s next commissioner is something that hasn’t happened in nearly 30 years, yet here we are,” said Dondi Costin, Big South Conference President and President of Charleston Southern University. “Kyle Kallander has captained the ship with a remarkably steady hand during the most turbulent waters in the history of college athletics. No one could have led this conference better than Kyle, so finding his successor was always going to seem like mission impossible. But we found the perfect candidate in Sherika Montgomery, whose meteoric rise from Big South student-athlete to Big South Commissioner offers the clearest possible evidence that the Big South Conference is in fact ‘Where Winners Are Made.’”
“I would like to extend my immense gratitude to the Big South Conference Chief Executive Officers and Search Committee for entrusting me with this tremendous opportunity,” said Montgomery. “I am absolutely honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead the next generation of Big South leaders. As a former Big South student-athlete, I was fortunate to be led by consummate administrators, championed by supreme coaches – on and off the court – and surrounded by fellow fervent student-athletes committed to excellence. In reacquainting myself with the mission of the Conference, I am yet again reminded of the immense opportunity to serve and ensure the Big South continues to be ‘Where Winners Are Made’ for years to come. I am especially grateful for Commissioner Kallander, his visionary leadership and invaluable mentorship. I look forward to returning to the Big South and joining industry leaders in creating meaningful intercollegiate athletics opportunities focused on optimal student-athlete experiences personally, academically and athletically.”
Montgomery brings extensive experience that spans a dozen years. Prior to arriving at the Missouri Valley Conference, Montgomery served as Assistant Director of Enforcement (Investigations and Processing) at the NCAA. In her role at the national office, she was responsible for thoroughly and timely investigating and processing potential violations of NCAA legislation involving all three NCAA divisions and all sports. This included compiling and evaluating evidence of infractions, drafting necessary submissions, and presenting information and evidence to the NCAA Committee on Infractions. In addition to her enforcement responsibilities, Montgomery served as liaison to the inaugural NCAA Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete Engagement Group, which provided an amplifying voice for the sport of women’s basketball on key initiatives, legislation and various issues. Montgomery also served as chair of the NCAA People of Color Employee Engagement Group and was a member of the Women’s Employee Engagement Group’s Leadership Council.
“Sherika Montgomery is an outstanding choice to be the next leader of the Big South Conference,” added Missouri Valley Commissioner Jeff Jackson. “Her professionalism, knowledge and experiences as an administrator and student-athlete in the Big South will only lead to a bright future for the membership of this storied conference.”
“What a great day for the Big South!,” commented Kallander. “Sherika Montgomery is an amazing talent and will be outstanding in leading the Conference into the future. She has tremendous people skills, wonderful insight and integrity, and has the intangibles that are often overlooked in great leaders. She just gets it. Plus, to have an alum of the Big South return to take the reins is truly special. On a personal note, I am so proud of Sherika. We could tell when we initially hired her to join the Conference staff that she was a shooting star and would rapidly rise to the top. It is no surprise to me that she is now the fourth Commissioner of the Big South Conference!”
Montgomery was at the Summit League from 2018-19, serving as Associate Commissioner for Governance and Compliance. She also served as Associate Athletic Director for Student Success at Big South member institution Winthrop University from 2017-18. Prior to her stint at Winthrop, Montgomery spent seven years as a member of the Big South Conference staff. She started in 2010 as a compliance and administrative assistant before being promoted to Assistant Director of Compliance in 2011.
Montgomery was elevated to Director of Compliance & Administration in 2013 and spent her final three years as Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator.
While at the Big South, Montgomery served as a two-time chair (2016-2018) of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics during her service from 2014-2018 and was also a member of the inaugural NCAA Board of Governors Ad Hoc Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity. She was named to the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond list by Diverse Education in 2016.
Montgomery is currently a cohort member of the 2022-23 NCAA Pathway Program, a yearlong initiative designed to prepare senior-level athletics administrators for the next career step as directors of athletics or conference commissioners.
A former women’s basketball student-athlete at Big South member Gardner-Webb University, Montgomery earned her master’s degree in Sports Science and Pedagogy in May of 2011, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management from the institution in 2009.
Submitted by the Big South Conference