After a nationwide search, Rudy Keeling has been named ECAC commissioner effective May 1.
Keeling’s multi-divisional experience as an administrator and coach within intercollegiate athletics and past leadership positions within the ECAC and NCAA were distinguishing characteristics in the decision, according to the conference.
“After an extensive national search with many outstanding candidates, we are proud and excited to introduce Rudy Keeling as the next Commissioner of the ECAC,” said ECAC board of directors president Wayne Dean, senior associate athletics director at Yale. “Rudy is a seasoned and highly respected professional in the field of athletics. His extensive coaching and administrative experience makes him the perfect person to lead the ECAC and our membership into the future.”
Most recently serving as the director of athletics at Emerson College in Boston, Keeling brings to the ECAC over twenty-five years of experience in collegiate athletics. Named to the position at Emerson in October of 2002, Keeling, through cooperative work with the City of Boston, has overseen the development of multi-million dollar state-of-the-art athletic facilities. The creation of these structures has enabled the College to make significant enhancements to its Athletics Department and increase the number of varsity athletic teams.
“My association with Emerson College has been wonderful, and leaving will be difficult, but joining the ECAC as its Commissioner is one of the most exciting opportunities I have had in my professional career,” said Keeling. “In past years, the ECAC was looked upon as a giant in the world of intercollegiate athletics and now with the help of the Board of Directors and the Membership, we will seek to return the Conference to the heights it enjoyed in the past.”
In addition to his responsibilities at Emerson, Keeling served on the NCAA Division III Management Council as the Great Northeastern Athletic Conference (GNAC) representative. He was also a member of the ECAC Board of Directors where he served as chair of the marketing committee.
Steve Bamford, interim commissioner of the ECAC, said, “I am excited about the future of the ECAC under Rudy Keeling’s leadership as our new Commissioner. Having worked closely with Rudy over the past two years as a member of the ECAC Board of Directors, I can attest to his passion for the ECAC and his vision for its future.” Bamford added, “Rudy’s skills as a consensus builder and an attentive listener will serve him and the ECAC well as we move into the future.” Bamford believes that, “Rudy has the personal qualities necessary to impact positive change within the ECAC membership and establish a process for ‘re-inventing’ ourselves in terms of not only improving the quality of programs and services we now offer but also creating and implementing new value-added initiatives that the membership may not currently receive from their respective conferences.”
A graduate of Quincy College, where he majored in history, Keeling began his professional career in 1980 as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. In addition to his assistant coaching responsibilities, he planned and created the Academic Assistance Program for Student/Athletes. In 1986, he was named the assistant men’s basketball coach at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.
In 1988, Keeling began his head coaching career at the University of Maine, Orono. He guided the Black Bears until 1996, when he was named the head men’s basketball coach at Northeastern University in Boston, a position he held until April, 2002. Throughout his tenure as a head coach, Keeling has demonstrated his high level of commitment to the academic and athletic success of student-athletes, graduating almost every student-athlete he ever coached.
Keeling will become the seventh commissioner of the ECAC. In his first few months at the ECAC, Keeling plans to spend time in the various regions of the membership for a purpose of interacting with athletic directors as well as conference commissioners to create a clear vision for the future of the ECAC.
Steve Bamford, who served as interim commissioner since January 2006, will assume the role of senior associate commissioner, effective May 1.