Delta State University President William N. LaForge will add another prestigious leadership post to his list of accomplishments this week, as he officially takes office as the president of the Gulf South Conference at the league’s annual summer meetings. He has spent the past two years as vice president of the GSC.
“I am thrilled and honored to be able to serve the GSC and Delta State in this new capacity,” said LaForge. “I look forward to working with the CEOs, ADs and staffs of our member institutions, Commissioner Matt Wilson and the conference office staff in advancing the interests of the league. We are in a position of strength to expand and I welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues as we move the GSC forward.”
The president of the GSC oversees the board of directors for the league and is responsible for chairing all board and general session meetings; appoints all standing and special committees and their chairs; calls all special meetings of the conference and executive committee; represents the conference in all of its business; and is legally empowered to bind the GSC when the commissioner is unavailable.
The GSC, with offices in Birmingham, Alabama, sponsors 17 sports at the NCAA Division II level and features membership across Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee. In its 46-year history, the GSC has won 49 national team championships in 13 sports and more than 100 regional titles.
“The Gulf South Conference is lucky to have President LaForge serve as president of the GSC and chair of our board of directors,” said Wilson. “He is a great supporter of the Division II model and is a consistent advocate for the GSC, its member institutions and student-athletes. I look forward to working alongside President LaForge during his term.”
LaForge’s election as president of the GSC continues Delta State’s longstanding tradition of leadership within the league. In the summer of 1970, DSU was one of six charter institutions that formed the GSC. Since that time, the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen have won 44 league championships, including the 2015-16 women’s basketball and baseball titles.
“The GSC is one of NCAA Division II’s premier conferences, and President LaForge’s leadership will be a major asset to the league as we move forward,” said Ronnie Mayers, DSU director of athletics.
Earlier this spring, LaForge was selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Presidents Council, the highest governing body of Division II responsible for implementing policies adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors.
LaForge represents those active Division II institutions in Region 2, which include schools in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The council is a 16-member body that is based on a weighted regional representation by institutions and includes one president or chancellor per region for every 22 institutions in that region. In addition to setting policies adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors, the Presidents Council establishes and directs the general policy for Division II, with all other Division II committees reporting either directly or indirectly to it.