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Duer Sharp
Position: Commissioner
Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin

Duer Sharp was named commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2008 becoming the league’s fifth commissioner since its founding in 1920.

He fueled the SWAC’s potential, reaching achievements in technology and national media exposure, while preserving the rich tradition by developing its "Honor the Heritage" brand.

Sharp launched his athletic administration career at the Big Ten where he served as a Sports Management administrator from 1998-2003. Since then, Sharp has worked at the SWAC (assistant commissioner, associate commissioner), including a stint at Grambling State University as Interim-Director Athletics. Sharp was named Commissioner of the SWAC on January 2, 2008.

Sharp is actively involved in the Birmingham community. In 2009, he was named to the Birmingham Business Journal's "Top 40 under 40 List". Sharp is also actively involved in youth clinics, the Worship Center Christian Church and is a past Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Trustee.

Sharp is a native of Camden, New Jersey. He received an undergraduate degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991 and a graduate degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992. He was also a four-year starter for the Badgers football team (1988-1991). He was the recipient of Jay Seiler award for team leadership and was the recipient of Kappa Alpha Psi Tom W. Shick Scholarship awarded for intellectual vigor, concern for social justice and equality.

Sharp, his wife Sandy, and son, Sidney resides in Birmingham.


“Duer Sharp has made a substantial impact at the SWAC office and with its member institutions since he was hired as commissioner in 2008. As a former Wisconsin student-athlete and a member of the Big Ten staff for six years, we are proud of the many accomplishments during his career as an administrator. He has been a wonderful advocate and leader of young men and women during his stops at Grambling State and the SWAC, and has been a great colleague as part of the Collegiate Commissioners Association. We are thrilled to see a former Big Ten staff member find success, and know that the SWAC is well-positioned for the future under Duer’s leadership.”

-          Jim Delany


Big Ten Conference

“Duer and I share Birmingham as the home of our respective conference offices, so we have had the opportunity to visit on matters of mutual interest on a number of occasions.   I have enjoyed getting to know Duer, both personally and professionally.  He brings to his position experience as a former student-athlete, a conference administrator and an active participant on national committees, all of which bring valuable perspectives for the leader of a college athletics conference.”

-          Mike Slive


Southeastern Athletic Conference

“Duer was one of the student-athletes in our program at Wisconsin when I became the head coach. He was part of helping us lay the foundation for turning things around in not only our football program, but our entire athletic department. It has been great to watch his career develop over the years and I’m thrilled to see the positive impact he has made during his time as the SWAC commissioner.”

-          Barry Alvarez

Athletic Director

University of Wisconsin


·         Secured the newly created Celebration Bowl sponsored by ESPN showcasing the postseason champions of the SWAC and MEAC in Atlanta

·         In 2013, fostered deal to move top revenue championship events to professional sport venues in Houston. With football landing in NRG Stadium with men and women’s basketball arena moving to Toyota Center

·         Since move to Houston, generated an average of $50 million in economic impact combined as a result of the football championship game and basketball tournament

·         Negotiated extensions of ESPN and MEAC/SWAC Football Challenge agreements, beginning in 2008, through agreement with ESPN and their family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com) resulting in production and distribution of more than 30 athletic events

·         Created, developed and implemented SWAC Academic Performance Rate (APR) Task force

·         Developed the first-ever SWAC Sports mobile app for iPhone and Android

·         Created SWACTV, the first Conference-owned online streaming service, before rebranding the component to SWAC Digital Network.  Delivering live streams and replays of SWAC sporting events.  It has produced more than 100 webcast events including, SWAC football & basketball games of the week, baseball, volleyball and softball events. 

·         Implemented conference-wide video editing and exchange solution in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball

·         Implemented Commissioner’s All-Academic Team, recognizing and average of 700 student-athletes per year with GPAs of 3.0 or better

·         Active in the developing the HBCU Advisory Committee to Committee on Academic Performance (CAP)

·         Created, developed and implemented SWAC Mobile Marketing Tour presented by Verizon Wireless

·         Expanded SWAC social media reach and content on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.   SWAC currently ranks No. 1 in the FCS and No. 7 overall in total followers only behind Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big East and PAC-12


·         Administers over more than $1.6 million in NCAA-sponsored supplemental assistance to thousands of student-athletes

·         Engineering enhancement of championship/tournament experience for student-athletes and fans focusing on the upgrading of facilities, participant gifts and championships merchandise

·         Development of a comprehensive program to improve overall officials’ performance in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball (will develop same system in baseball for the upcoming season).

·         Unprecedented attendance growth in basketball tournament, since 2011 by an attendance increase of 56 percent.  SWAC attendance records have been set four of the last five years

·         Continued success in football, with conference being named FCS attendance leader 34 of the last 35 years including eight consecutive

·         Implemented conference-wide sportsmanship initiatives focusing on creating safer venues for visiting teams, officials and fans


·         Negotiated exclusive conference-wide footwear agreement with Nike USA, Inc. in 2008.  With economic impact to conference members in excess of $5.3 million.

·         Increased conference office capital reserve by 235 percent since 2007.

·         Restructured exclusive conference-wide apparel and equipment agreements with Russell Athletic, Inc. and Spalding providing all member institutions with game uniforms, sideline apparel and game products in football, baseball, softball, men’s, women’s basketball and track & field, resulting in impact of over $4.4 million to the conference.

·         Total partnership agreement impact during tenure (monetary & In-kind): $12.1 million


Full name: Duer M. Sharp

Hometown: Camden, New Jersey

Wife: Sandy Sharp

Children: Sidney


High School: Woodrow Wilson High School; Camden, New Jersey

College: University of Wisconsin, 1991; Bachelor of Arts, Afro American Studies

Graduate: University of Wisconsin, 1992; Masters of Arts, Afro American Studies


1988-1991 University of Wisconsin football team

Four-year starter (linebacker)


2008- Present Southwestern Athletic Conference - Commissioner

2007-2008 Southwestern Athletic Conference - Interim Commissioner

2005-2007 Southwestern Athletic Conference - Associate Commissioner

2005- 2006 Grambling State University - Interim Director of Athletics

2004-2005 Southwestern Athletic Conference - Assistant Commissioner

1998-2003 Big Ten Conference - Sports Management Administrator

1997-1998 Big Ten Conference - C.D. Henry Intern


Minority Opportunities Athletic Association - 2007-present

Black Coaches' Association - 1998 to present

Collegiate Commissioners Association - 2008 to present

Football Championship Sub-Division of Collegiate Commissioners Association-Vice President 2009-2010

Sports Management Institute - 2010

Division I Committee on Academic Performance, member - 2007 to 2011

Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, member - June 2007 to 2009

NCAA Championships/Sports Management Cabinet 2007-2009

NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males - 2003


In which city where the SWAC doesn't currently hold a championship, would you like to see a conference championship held?
Shreveport, La.
Dallas, TX
Atlanta, Ga.
Little Rock, Ark.
Memphis, Tenn.
Gulf Shores, Ala.
Mobile, Ala.
Nashville, Tenn.