Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson announced on Wednesday that he will be stepping down on December 31st, 2022.
“It has been an honor to be part of the Mountain West Conference and direct its growth since 1998, the year in which the Conference was formed,” said Thompson. “To work with our conference staff and the leadership of our member institutions through the years as we have pursued our collective vision has been a rewarding experience. I am grateful to every person and institution who has been a part of our journey and I wish them—and the Conference—the very best in the years ahead.”
Thompson became the Commissioner when the Mountain West Conference formed back in 1999. Under his guidance, the conference recently signed a $270 million deal in television rights. Members of the conference have been to five BCS/NY6 Bowl games.
Thompson also spearheaded growing the conference with conference realignment, growing the conference to where the football side would grow to have a conference championship game that began in 2013.
Having served the last 24 years with the MWC, and the American South Conference prior to that, Thompson is the only conference commissioner in the country that has more than 30 years of experience.
“The entire Mountain West Conference owes a debt of gratitude to Craig for his selfless service over the history of our conference,” said University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes, Chair of the Conference Board of Directors. “His fingerprints are on every accomplishment and every initiative we have undertaken, and he has positioned the Conference to continue to be among the nation’s elite. We look forward to celebrating Craig this fall and during our 25th anniversary year, and although his departure will leave a void, we are grateful that Craig will be available as a consultant to the MWC as we navigate the changes taking place in college athletics. We wish Craig and Carla and their children all the very best.”
“Craig has provided important leadership to the MWC since its inception,” said UNLV President Keith Whitfield, Vice-Chair of the Conference Board of Directors. “We are stronger because of his work as we go forward into a quickly changing landscape in the NCAA and the College Football Playoff discussions.”
The 66-year-old Thompson graduated with a degree in Journalism from Minnesota and served as Director of Communication for the Metro Conference in Atlanta and was the assistant sports information director at Kansas State.