Doug Echols, the only commissioner in the history of the South Atlantic Conference, has informed the league's Presidents Council that he will retire June 30.
Echols, also the mayor of Rock Hill, joined the league in 1989 and is in his 19th year as commissioner.
The league was formed as a football-only conference in 1975 and became an NCAA Division II member in 1992. The conference offers 14 championships for more than 3,000 student-athletes.
Echols, 62, has more than 40 years of experience in education and athletic administration.
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During his tenure with the conference, he has served on numerous NCAA committees and is presently on the NCAA task force to review the membership structure.
"The association I have with the South Atlantic Conference has been most rewarding," Echols said. "My decision at this time allows there to be sufficient opportunity to search for my successor and for me to plan the next chapter in my life. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with the representatives of our member institutions and help provide quality intercollegiate athletics experiences for our student-athletes."
The conference will conduct a national search.
Jerry McGee, president of Wingate and chair of the SAC Presidents Council said, "Doug Echols' work on behalf of the South Atlantic Conference and its member institutions has been exemplary. We are grateful for his visionary leadership which has helped make the South Atlantic Conference one of the most respected leagues in the NCAA."
The SAC is an NCAA Division II associate with nine members in three states, including Brevard, Carson-Newman, Catawba, Lenoir-Rhyne, Lincoln Memorial, Mars Hill, Newberry, Tusculum and Wingate.