Following approval by the league’s Board of Directors, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has announced that Tracy Dill will begin serving as its Interim Commissioner beginning Aug. 1. Dill, who retired as Bemidji State University’s Athletic Director on June 30, replaces outgoing Commissioner Jennifer Flowers who resigned the position in mid-June after piloting the WCHA for three years. Flowers joined Southwest Minnesota State University as its Director of Athletics and officially began those duties on July 1.
“I am excited about this opportunity to continue working with some great colleagues. We have wonderful student-athletes and coaches in this league and I will continue working and advocating on their behalf,” Dill said. “Jen Flowers did a terrific job during her time with the WCHA and has put us in a great position to continue as the premier women’s college hockey league in the country. The bar has been set pretty high and I look forward to working alongside our talented and dedicated staff to uphold those standards.”
Dill has been involved in college athletics as a player, coach, and administrator for more than 40 years. He spent the last nine years at Bemidji State, managing what was arguably the most successful overall athletic program in its history. While there, Dill oversaw an era of change for BSU’s Division I ice hockey programs, guiding the men’s program in its transition from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association into the revitalized Central Collegiate Hockey Association, and hiring Jim Scanlan as head coach of the women’s program. During Dill’s tenure, the men’s program advanced to the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Prior to his tenure at Bemidji State, Dill was at St. Cloud State University, another WCHA member institution, for more than 25 years in various capacities, including coaching and administration.
“We have attracted a seasoned professional in Tracy Dill. Tracy was a consensus choice to fill this role and is highly regarded by his peers,” said Kevin Buisman, Director of Athletics at Minnesota State and current WCHA Board Chair. “He is passionate about the sport of hockey and he will be an outstanding ambassador and representative of the WCHA.”
Buisman indicated that the work of the NCAA’s Transformation Committee, currently in the process of a historical re-drafting that body’s Constitution, made an interim appointment the right strategy at this time.
“We feel we are moving in a direction of deregulation that may create a different type of responsibility at the conference office level,” Busiman explains. “There are also some uncertainties about how potential changes regarding roster sizes, scholarship allowances, and staffing plans will impact hockey, as well as other sports. We need a clearer picture about multi-divisional status and single sport conferences. All of these issues will eventually resolve, but the group felt pausing right now and pumping the brakes on a national search was the right approach at this time.”
Buisman indicates the WCHA will likely begin a national search for a full-time replacement at a date to be determined next spring. “At some point, the work of the NCAA’s Transformation Committee will provide a much clearer picture about the future of intercollegiate athletics and will help better define the landscape we will operate in and the skill set we are seeking in our next leader.”