Jeff Hurd is stepping down as commissioner of the WAC at the end of 2021, the conference announced Wednesday.
Hurd has run the WAC since 2012, but his 10-year run at the top is just a fraction of the story. He joined the league as director of conference relations way back in 1985.
"Jeff Hurd has done a remarkable job in leading the WAC to its current status. We are grateful to him for putting the WAC in the position of a very promising future as a conference," said outgoing Chair of the WAC Board of Directors, Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. "The debt of gratitude to him of our thirteen member schools is immense. As we look to his successor as Commissioner, we will build on the legacy of what he has dedicated himself to over many years. His service to this conference is unparalleled."
Hurd has seen the conference's entire roster turn over during his tenure, and 11 of the 13 current members came aboard during his run at the top. His time as commissioner will be remembered for reviving WAC football by adding Abilene Christian, Dixie State, Lamar, Sam Houston, Southern Utah and Stephen F. Austin. Cal Baptist, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Utah Valley also came aboard during his leadership. Only New Mexico State and Seattle pre-date Hurd's ascension to the commissioner's chair.
Of course, Hurd also had a front-row seat when the WAC disintegrated from a 16-team power when Utah, BYU and others split to form the Mountain West, though he wasn't in charge at that time.
"Commissioner Joe Kearney gave me the opportunity to come to the WAC, and I can't begin to name all of those who have positively influenced me throughout my career. Success in anything also does not occur without the assistance of many others. I have been extremely fortunate to have had outstanding mentors, business counterparts, office staff and friends along with great support from my wife Cheri and our family."
"I am extremely proud of what has been accomplished during my tenure, and the WAC always will be a part of me. I know the Conference is very well positioned to move forward."
With defending national champion Sam Houston, the WAC is expected to become an instant power at the FCS level when it kicks off this fall.