NORFOLK, Va. -- Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, who has completed his 19th year as commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, announced Wednesday that he is retiring in December.
Thomas is the longest-tenured commissioner in the 50-year history of the MEAC. The Council of Presidents and Chancellors will conduct a national search for a successor, which will begin immediately.
As the MEAC’s third full-time commissioner, Thomas's leadership was instrumental in helping the conference ascend to national prominence on the athletic field and in the classroom.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as commissioner of the MEAC for almost 20 years,” Thomas said. “But first, I must pay homage to my parents, Russell and Marjorie Thomas, for setting the direction, expectation and accountability for my brothers, sisters, and myself. Without their guidance, discipline, and unconditional love, I would dare to think the path I would have taken. The accomplishments and recognition achieved by the conference during this time could not have been possible without the incredible support of our member institutions and everyone associated with the MEAC.
"To the MEAC Staff, thank you for always working to make the MEAC better. By any objective measure, we have achieved that. I’d like to extend a special thank you and recognition to MEAC Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer & Senior Woman Administrator Sonja Stills, who has been with me since my first day as Commissioner. She has been loyal, a progressive thinker, student-athlete centric, creative, passionate and a consummate professional and a dear friend. I have no doubt that the MEAC and its member institutions will continue to do great things and I will always cherish the friendships and memories made during my time as commissioner.”
Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, chair of the MEAC Presidents and Chancellors Council, said, "Congratulations to Commissioner Dennis Thomas on his retirement notice. He has served the MEAC for the past 19 years with distinction, dedication, and unyielding commitment. I commend his unparalleled leadership, experience, and innovative stewardship of the MEAC as it enters its 51st year of intercollegiate competition. While Dennis will be sorely missed by the MEAC family of institutions, we wish him Godspeed as he starts his well-earned retirement journey.”