areas of expertise
- Strategic Planning
- Executive Searches
- Operational Review
- Ph.D, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Master’s, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- B.A., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Gary Karner is the former commissioner of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). The WIAC is arguably the preeminent Division III conference in the country.
Karner has served as the president of the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators, the executive committee of the NCAA Division III Commissioner’s Association, the NCAA Interpretations and Legislation Committee, and the Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Committee. He is a current member of the NCAA Division III Baseball Committee.
During his tenure as commissioner, the WIAC solidified its status as the premier Division III conference in the country, as evidenced by the 44 NCAA National Championships the conference captured.
He was responsible for merging the former Wisconsin State University Conference and Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference into the WIAC. He also brokered an agreement (the first-ever in the history of Division III athletics) to have selected WIAC events, including all of the conference championships, televised on FoxSports Wisconsin, a regional sports network.
Prior to serving as commissioner of the WIAC, Karner spent nearly eight years with the NCAA national office as a compliance representative. With the NCAA, he played a key role in the development of the institutional compliance review process as well as the NCAA Division I Athletic Certification Program. He also served as an NCAA liaison to a number of NCAA committees, the PAC-10, Big Sky, WAC and Big West conferences, and the College Football Association (CFA).
Karner spent nearly 13 years in public education as a teacher, coach, and administrator in Wisconsin and Colorado. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1975 and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978 and 1984, respectively.
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