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D2 CCA Announces Barry Blizzard as 2016 Award of Merit Recipient

June 22, 2016

CLEVELAND - Barry Blizzard, former Commissioner of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), was named the 2016 D2 CCA Award of Merit recipient by the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2 CCA) Officers. He was presented with his award on Tuesday, June 21 at the D2 CCA Meetings at Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona, Arizona.

The Award of Merit is the highest honor presented by the D2 CCA and is reserved for those individuals who have made the most exceptional contributions to the entire NCAA Division II membership and Division II student-athletes.

After moving into the commissioner’s seat at the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Blizzard served as president of the NAIA Commissioner Association from 1992-94 and was selected as the NAIA National Athletics Administrator of the Year in 1992. Also while serving as commissioner in the NAIA years of the WVIAC, Blizzard served as NAIA District Eligibility Chair.

Blizzard conducted an intensive research project from 1992-94 to give guidance to the WVIAC Board of Directors on a possible move from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. The result of that research led to a move by the WVIAC to NCAA Division II in 1995.

Once the NCAA Division II move was completed, Blizzard became active in the NCAA Division II Commissioner’s Association, first chairing the committee to develop the NCAA Division II Model Conference Document. The document, which Blizzard authored, was later adopted by the CCA and became part of the NCAA Division II strategic plan. Blizzard later went on to serve as president of the Division II CCA from 2002-04. During his tenure at the helm of the CCA, he led the group in formulating their new corporate partner program which continues today to be successful. In 2009, he also began the corporate partner program for the WVIAC which annually generates over $75,000 in cash and kind for the conference annually.

Also active in NCAA committee service, Blizzard served on an association wide football task force and completed a four-year term on the Division II Membership Committee in 2012. He also served two stints on the Division II Nominating Committee, a group which he chaired in his first term.

Prior to joining the WVIAC, Blizzard served as assistant athletic director and sports information director at Bluefield State College for two years and then athletic director at that school for fourteen years before taking over as the fourth commissioner of the WVIAC in 1987.

In his years as athletics director at Bluefield State, Blizzard chaired the WVIAC athletics director’s committee on three occasions and served as president of the NAIA national athletics director’s association in 1986-87. Also during his time as athletics director, he served on a special task force to re-write the mission and purpose statements of the NAIA.

Blizzard’s mark may still be found in documents that he helped author regarding the model DII conference office, work on the DII membership white paper, and he is still active as a sought-after consultant to NCAA DII member schools.

Blizzard joins an impressive group of individuals who have received the D2 CCA Award of Merit: Noel Olson, former Commissioner of the North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (1998); Bob Vanatta, former Commissioner of the Sunshine State Conference (1999); Fred Jacoby, former Commissioner of the Lone Star Conference (2000); Sonny Moran, former Athletic Director at Morehead State (KY) University (2001); Bill Moore, former Commissioner of the New England Collegiate Conference (2002); Mike Racy, former NCAA Vice President for Division II (2003); Dr. Adam Herbert, former President of the University of North Florida (2004); Dr. Kent Wyatt, former President of Delta State University (2005); Don Landry, former Commissioner of the Sunshine State Conference (2006); Dr. Charles Ambrose, former President of Pfeiffer University (2007); Arend D. (Don) Lubbers, former President Emeritus of Grand Valley State University (2008); Doug Echols, former SAC Commissioner (2009); Tom Brown, former GLIAC Commissioner (2010); Terri Steeb, Vice President of NCAA Division II (2012); Nancy Mitchell, former Executive Director of the DII CCA (2013); Robert Hiegert, former CCAA Commissioner (2014) and Butch Raymond, former commissioner of the NSIC (2015).