Gary Karner retiring as WIAC Commissioner

Will step down in August, 2020
Gary Karner retiring as WIAC Commissioner

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) announced Tuesday Commissioner Gary Karner will retire effective August 14, 2020.

“I am extremely fortunate and humbled to have had the privilege to serve as the commissioner of the WIAC for the past 23 years,” said Karner.

“During my tenure I strived to do whatever was necessary to put our students-athletes, coaches and teams in the best possible position to succeed and achieve their goals.

In that regard, I owe a great deal of gratitude to the many chancellors, faculty athletics representatives, athletics directors, coaches and student-athletes who shared a common vision and unwavering commitment to establishing the WIAC as the most accomplished DIII conference in NCAA history.”

“Gary has provided outstanding leadership for the WIAC for over two decades and is regarded as one of the nation’s most highly-respected NCAA Division III commissioners,” stated UW-River Falls Chancellor, Dean Van Galen.

“Over the past 23 years, Commissioner Karner has led the WIAC with great vision and unwavering integrity, always demonstrating a strong commitment to our student-athletes.

On behalf of all of the WIAC chancellors who have worked with Commissioner Karner, I thank Gary for his distinguished service and wish him the best in the next chapter of his life.”

Dr. Karner was named commissioner in June 1996 following eight-years as a member of the NCAA national office staff and will retire as the longest serving commissioner in conference history.

The most immediate task undertaken by Karner in 1996 was to merge the men’s (Wisconsin State University Conference) and women’s (Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) conferences into a single conference resulting in the formation of the WIAC in July 1997.

During Karner’s tenure, the WIAC has captured 76 NCAA Division III National Championships—a number that surpasses the total number of championships won by all but one of the other 43 DIII conferences in their respective histories.

An additional 501 WIAC student-athletes have captured NCAA individual titles over the past 23 years.

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