Tom Douple enters his 14th year as Summit League commissioner and has been instrumental in the growth of the league. Under his direction, the league has added seven new members and implemented The Summit Plan, which included the league's new name and logo, along with a branding plan and institutional commitments on staffing and scholarships.
Selected as the league's fifth commissioner in September 2005, Douple led the enhancement of The Summit League’s membership and geographic footprint with the additions of the University of Denver, IPFW, the University of Nebraska Omaha, University of North Dakota (2018-19), North Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and the return of Oral Roberts University. Douple spearheaded the re-branding of the league in 2007 when the Mid-Continent Conference, founded in 1982, officially changed its name to The Summit League. Included with the name and image change, The Summit Plan developed a strategy that placed a renewed emphasis on improving the academic and athletic performances of the student-athlete at the league’s member institutions.
Under Douple’s stewardship, The Summit League has enjoyed a successful renaissance with unprecedented achievement. Headlining the league’s success and development is its premier event, The Summit League Basketball Championships, which continues to solidify itself as one of the nation’s premier tournaments. Called “March’s best-kept secret” by USA Today, all six of the highest total attendance figures in league history have come during the six years in Sioux Falls, S.D. Beyond the record attendance marks, the event established benchmarks with national coverage of all men’s and women’s games and all-time high corporate sponsorships and revenues. In 2015, the tournaments will be showcased in Sioux Falls’ brand-new 12,000-seat Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
The Summit League has achieved its highest rankings in men’s basketball, softball and volleyball during Douple’s tenure. Teams have earned a final national ranking in eight different sports, won two NCAA Regional Championships and advanced in five additional NCAA team championship tournaments. Individually, eight of the league’s 10 NCAA Champions have come since 2007. Academically, The Summit League has had 50 teams attain maximum/perfect NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores in the past three years and 61 squads receive NCAA Public Recognition Awards for APR in the top 10 percent of their sport since 2010. A total of 63 Academic All-America selections, including two Capital One Academic All-Americans of the Year, have hailed from Summit League institutions since 2007.
Douple presided over a renewed commitment to athletics facilities by the league’s member institutions that is evidenced by an ongoing league-wide construction boom. Among the array of projects across the league’s campuses are four new or drastically renovated basketball facilities that will open over the next few seasons starting in 2014-15.
While Summit League commissioner, Douple also served on the NCAA Championships Cabinet. He completed a four-year term on the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification in 2013 and a three-year term on the NCAA Leadership Council in 2011.
In 41 years of athletic administration experience, including 33 at the Division I level, Douple has served as Director of Athletics at Southern Utah University and Southeastern Louisiana University. He also had stints as an assistant athletics director at LSU, his alma mater, and Cornell University.
Prior to his selection as Summit League commissioner, Douple spent five years at Southern Utah where he oversaw the upgrade of the university's athletics facilities, which included the opening of a new academic center, new weight room and new training facility. He led the effort to add office areas for baseball, softball, soccer, golf and tennis, as well as renovate the football and basketball offices and basketball locker rooms. Additionally, Douple guided SUU through the NCAA Certification process in 2005.
During Douple's tenure, the Thunderbirds claimed 22 conference championships and three Sportsmanship Awards. Southern Utah saw a substantial increase in fundraising through marketing, promotional and corporate partnership programs implemented during Douple's time in Cedar City.
Douple was a driving force behind the creation of the Great West Football Conference and served as its chairman. His duties with the Great West Football Conference included the development and implementation of the league's constitution, by-laws, scheduling, policies and procedures.
While at Southeastern Louisiana, Douple was instrumental in facility improvements for five different sports. He served as president of the Louisiana Athletic Directors Association, was a member of the Athletic Management magazine editorial board and was a member of the Board of Directors for both the Louisiana Games and Louisiana Senior Games.
At LSU, Douple served as an assistant supervisor of athletic facilities and later as an assistant athletic director. With the Tigers, he assisted in hosting numerous SEC championship events and nationally-ranked sports programs. Coinciding with his time at LSU, Douple spent a total of 20 years officiating track events, including SEC Championships and NCAA National Championships.
Douple was the associate director of athletics at Cornell for three years. During his tenure at the Ivy League school, he assisted in managing 36 privately-funded intercollegiate athletic programs.
Prior to entering college athletics administration, Douple began his career as a teacher and a coach for eight years in the East Baton Rouge (La.) school district.
A native of Lebanon, Pa., Douple is a 1976 graduate of LSU, where he earned a degree in industrial education. He was a varsity track athlete for the Tigers, earning All-SEC Track & Field honors in 1975 and posting school-record times in the two-mile run and the four-mile relay. Douple was also team captain of the cross country squad.
Douple and his wife, Anita, have three daughters, Stephanie, Amy and Emily, and two grandsons, Bryce and Myles. The Douples reside in Sioux Falls, S.D.