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John Iamarino has served as the eighth commissioner in Southern Conference history since his appointment on Jan. 2, 2006.
Since then, the Conference has signed an agreement with ESPN to produce more than 1,800 live events; launched the SoCon Digital Network, now in its fifth year of existence; created a Hall of Fame featuring the likes of Jerry West, Arnold Palmer, Sam Huff and Steph Curry; increased the number of championship sports to 22; and successfully returned the men’s and women’s basketball championships to the city of Asheville, North Carolina.
The Southern Conference has consistently ranked among the leaders in all of Division I in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR), a predictor of graduation rates. To build on the academic reputation of the league, the SoCon Academic Exchange was created in 2014-15. Through the efforts of the chief academic officers and provosts, the Academic Exchange has initiated leadership and development program for faculty, as well as the first undergraduate research forum in the Conference’s history.
Iamarino also advocated for creation of the league’s Pinnacle Award in 2016. The award is presented to the student-athlete on the championship-winning team in each SoCon sport with the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA). Additionally, the Conference annually recognizes an outstanding faculty and staff member at each institution with engraved plaques presented at home basketball games.
Iamarino has spent the past 34 years at the conference level, previously working at both the Sun Belt and Northeast conferences. Prior to joining the SoCon, he served as commissioner of the Northeast Conference for nine years. During that time, the league launched its first website, approved athletic aid in the sport of football, increased television coverage on the Madison Square Garden Network from 12 to 30 basketball games, started its first coverage of football on regional television, and initiated its first concentrated marketing and merchandising efforts.
At the Sun Belt, he spent 13 years in a variety of publicity, compliance and administrative positions, rising to the level of associate commissioner in 1988. When the original Sun Belt merged with the then-American South Conference in 1991, Iamarino was the lone staffer from the original organization to move to the new Sun Belt, heading the transition team for the first true merger of two Division I conferences.
He entered the field of intercollegiate athletics as assistant sports information director at Georgetown University in 1979 before moving on to become sports information director at Jacksonville University for three years.
Iamarino is a native of Monsey, New York, and a 1977 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, where he earned magna cum laude honors majoring in journalism. An amateur baseball historian, he is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and has written articles for SABR as well as Baseball Digest magazine. He resides in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with his wife, Mary Ann, and their son, PJ.