Southern Conference Selects Partnership of CSS and Buffkin / Baker for Commissioner Search

The Southern Conference announces that the partnership of College Sport Solutions (CSS) and Buffkin/Baker has been selected to manage the search process to replace retiring Southern Conference Commissioner, John Iamarino. CSS successfully completed the recent search for Commissioner of the Big Sky Conference along with many head coach and athletic administrator positions. Buffkin/Baker is currently conducting the search for the Chancellor of Western Carolina University along with numerous other academic positions.

CSS and Buffkin/Baker offer the rare combination of experience and successful placement in both the athletic and academic world of higher education. The lead consultant of the search will be founder and president of Collegiate Sports Solutions, Jeff Schemmel. Schemmel launched CSS in 2013 after having held leadership positions as Athletic Director at San Diego State University and Associate Commissioner of Conference USA.

Dr. Brian Noland, President of East Tennessee State University and the Chair of the Presidents Council, stated, “After careful vetting of search firms, the Southern Conference Commissioner Search Committee chose CSS to manage the search process. The committee was very impressed with not only the successful searches that CSS has completed but also the vast experience of Jeff Schemmel as an athletic director and major conference official. When you add the expertise of Buffkin/Baker on the academic side, the Search Committee felt CSS was the right fit for this search.”

In regards to the search, Schemmel emphasized, “The Southern Conference is one of the premier FCS conferences in the country. Men’s basketball had a breakout year in 2018-19, ending as the 12th ranked RPI conference in the country. The conference is nationally recognized for the academic quality of its member institutions and their commitment to the academic success of the student athlete. We are honored and excited to assist the Southern Conference’s efforts in identifying its next leader who can build on this success and chart the course for even greater achievement in the future.”

The Southern Conference is composed of ten member institutions. located in six contiguous states. The SoCon is the fifth oldest continuing conference in NCAA Division Athletics having been founded in 1921. The member schools are:

1. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
2. The Citadel
3. East Tennessee State University
4. Furman University
5. Mercer University
6. Samford University
7. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
8. Virginia Military Institute
9. Western Carolina University
10. Wofford College

For additional information as to applying for the position go to the Southern Conference webpage ( or email College Sports Solutions (CSS) at and Buffkin / Baker at

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