Doug Elgin has been at the head of the Missouri Valley Conference for more than 23 years, and has seen the highs and lows of intercollegiate athletics. He has guided the Valley to become one of the best mid-major men’s basketball conferences in the nation, and was instrumental in adding State Farm as a title sponsor for all 18 league championship sports.
The league has been represented well in the Men’s NCAA Tournament during Elgin’s regime. More recently, the Valley has had four of its schools advance to the Sweet Sixteen since 2006, and Valley schools have provided some of the most memorable moments in the tournament over that time. Bradley’s upsets of Kansas and Pittsburgh as a 13-seed in the 2006 tournament, and Wichita State joining them in the Sweet Sixteen earned both teams a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Northern Iowa’s beating of overall #1 seed Kansas in the 2010 tournament captivated the nation and kept Missouri Valley basketball on the map for years to come.
In addition to the success of the athletic teams, Elgin has overseen many proud administrative moments as Commissioner. His greatest accomplishments include the inclusion of women’s sports in the Missouri Valley in 1992 with the merger of the Gateway College Athletic Conference, the creation of the Missouri Valley Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997, and the recent marketing agreement with Learfield Sports, which should take the national awareness to another level.
Despite a lack of recent postseason basketball success, Valley fans know that the Commissioner and his staff are doing everything in their power to put the best product in the hands of the consumer. Fans have responded; the Valley ranked eighth in conference attendance in 2010-11, and Arch Madness had a total attendance mark of more than 50,000. Creighton led the charge, averaging 13,507 fans for their 22 home games.
On Elgin’s watch, the Valley has expanded its staff to accommodate the boom in technology, adding several positions in hopes of capturing a younger audience. Derrick Docket, the Director of New Media and Technology, is the latest addition – his job includes promotion of the league through social media sites.
Elgin was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer questions for the “Nine Questions With…” segment.