COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Board of Directors announced today that longtime Miami University administrator Josh Fenton has been named conference commissioner. Fenton will begin his appointment as commissioner on July 15.
Fenton played an integral role in the formation and development of the NCHC, involved with athletics director meetings and assisting legal counsel in drafting documents creating the conference. Fenton also helped secure CBS Sports Network as the conference’s national broadcast partner, created the operating financial models, secured the Target Center in Minneapolis as the tournament championship site and served as the conference’s liaison on legal and financial matters.
“Josh brings solid administrative experience, an exceptional business mind, a real depth of knowledge of the workings of the NCHC and a passion for the game to the position of commissioner,” said North Dakota Athletics Director and NCHC Chair Brian Faison. “He has been heavily involved with the work of creating the conference since the very beginning. That background means the NCHC won't miss a beat in getting ready for our first season of competition.”
Fenton has a wealth of intercollegiate athletics experience, most recently serving as senior associate athletic director for finance and administration at Miami. He was responsible for assessment and management of the athletic department’s $21 million annual budget and was the sport administrator for men’s ice hockey, football, field hockey and men’s golf. Fenton served on the athletic director’s executive leadership team and was the athletic department’s liaison to the university president, vice-president for finance and university general counsel.
“I am excited, honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead eight great institutions and their hockey programs into the inaugural season,” said Fenton. “I am appreciative of the support of each institution’s president or chancellor, athletics director, hockey coach and faculty athletic representative as we develop the best conference in college hockey. I want to thank Jim Scherr for laying the foundation for the conference’s early development, and to Brian Faison for having the vision to lead the board of directors through the conference’s early evolution. We will work tirelessly to create a conference which will engage our passionate fans and provide our student-athletes with life enriching experiences. My wife, Lindsay, and our two sons are excited to immerse ourselves into the collegiate communities this great conference represents, including our new home in Colorado Springs.”
Fenton’s duties at Miami also included negotiation and management of department contracts, key prospect and donor relations, selling of naming rights, oversight of personnel management, and the supervising of strength & conditioning and equipment services areas. Specific to hockey, Fenton assisted in bringing the 2014 NCAA Ice Hockey Regional to Cincinnati, negotiated Miami’s participation in the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago, and led discussions to secure Bauer Hockey as the official team equipment supplier. He has also represented Miami at Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and NCHC meetings, along with serving as a current member of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee.
Fenton was appointed to his most recent role at Miami in 2012 after spending the previous two years as Miami’s associate athletic director for external relations. From 2010 to 2011, Miami saw a 20-percent increase in football season ticket sales and a 65-percent increase in overall football revenue. Additionally, Fenton was integral in developing the ticket sales strategies for the men’s hockey program, consistently selling out Steve Cady Arena since it opened in 2006. He was involved in donor strategies for numerous sports programs, resulting in over $3 million raised for scholarships, salaries and capital projects.
Fenton joined Miami in 2002 as a volunteer assistant hockey coach while completing his master’s degree. Upon completion of his degree, he was hired as the ice hockey program’s first director of hockey operations, while also doubling his time within the department’s sponsorship area as an assistant director of corporate relations. In 2006, Fenton was promoted to assistant athletic director where his focus was sport administration (ice hockey, men’s golf, baseball, volleyball, and field hockey) along with overseeing all department strategic planning.
Fenton is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and most recently served on the CCHA Executive Committee in 2012 and 2013.
A native of Litchfield, Minn., Fenton received a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2001 from Iowa State University, where he was a member of the men’s golf team. He earned his master’s degree in sport studies from Miami in 2004. His family includes his wife, Lindsay, and sons Ryan (3) and Luke (1).
Fenton replaces Scherr, who resigned as NCHC Commissioner in May to accept the position of chief operating officer with the European Games.
The NCHC, which begins its inaugural season in 2013-14, includes member institutions Colorado College, Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, and Western Michigan.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Brad Bates, Boston College Athletics Director: “There would be no NCHC without Josh Fenton. From the very origins of the concept of the league to the press conference in July of 2011, Josh’s leadership was inspiring, his commitment unwavering, his passion uplifting, and ultimately his perseverance drove an idea to reality. He is savvy, bright, motivating, tenacious, competitive and genuinely cares about the game and the student-athletes. He is a rising superstar in college athletics. The member institutions have an extraordinary individual leading them into the inaugural season and every constituent of the NCHC can be confident that Josh Fenton will compel the conference to realize their lofty visions.”
Rico Blasi, Miami University Head Men’s Hockey Coach: “Josh has been a big part of Miami hockey for the last 12 years. He has served as a coach, director of hockey operations and senior associate athletics director. He is very dedicated and hard-working, and leads with detailed integrity and passion. He will be a huge asset to our conference.”
Brian Burke, Director of Player Personnel, 2014 U.S. Olympic Team: “Josh Fenton is a bright leader who has a tremendous amount of integrity and vision. This is an excellent hire to lead the conference and is great step forward as they begin their inaugural season.”
Joel Maturi, assistant to the President, University of Minnesota: “The NCHC found a perfect fit to lead the conference when it selected Josh Fenton as its commissioner. Josh’s knowledge of the sport, coupled with his expertise and experience in financial management, marketing and revenue generation, are what is needed as the conference embarks on its inaugural season.”