Release by Conference Carolinas
HIGH POINT, N.C. – After conducting a national search led by the Coleman Lew Canny Bowen executive search firm, Conference Carolinas announces the appointment of Christopher Colvin as its new commissioner effective June 1st.
"We are greatly appreciative of the leadership that Alan Patterson provided the conference for so many years. We are excited to now welcome Christopher Colvin to Conference Carolinas and look forward to working with him to build champions of body, mind, and soul," said Jeff Eisen Vice President for Athletes at the University of Mount Olive.
Dr. Todd Voss, President of Southern Wesleyan University, chaired the search committee, charged with identifying the next leader for Conference Carolinas.
"As we got to know Chris in this process, it became patently clear that he would be perfect for this role. His driving force is to support a conference that puts student-athletes first in every way, and his heart is aligned so clearly with our vision of seeking ways to build champions with a focus on the body, mind, and soul. We are excited to have Chris lead our conference in the years ahead!"
With over 20 years of athletic experience in a small college setting, Colvin, a native North Carolinian that has lived in the Carolinas for over 30 years, understands the role intercollegiate athletics plays in the region. Colvin recently completed his fourth-year at the helm of the Nichols College (MA) athletic department, leading the Bison through a significant transformation in both competitive success and institutional alignment.
"I would like to thank Dr. Todd Voss, the Presidents Council and the rest of the search committee for granting me the tremendous honor to lead Conference Carolinas," said Colvin. "I am excited to work with a group institutions that are aligned in their focus of growing the entire person and have a strong faith-based mission. This aligns well with my personal values as well as my belief that participation in intercollegiate athletics teaches tremendous life lessons for student-athletes."
While at Nichols College, Colvin led the Bison's 21 Division III sports programs in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. He created the Bison Club, Nichols' first modern Athletic Booster Club, resulting in a 350% increase in department revenue.
The Bison saw unprecedented competitive success during his tenure, with 10 total CCC Championships in men's and women's tennis, men's basketball and men's ice hockey. The 2017-18 year proved to be a banner year for the Bison under Colvin's leadership, with four CCC championships, in one year, for the first time in school history. They finished in the Top 25% of the Learfield Director's Cup, the highest finish in school history. In 2018-19, the men's basketball team advanced to the Elite 8 under a first-year head coach.
Additional highlights for Colvin while at Nichols included oversight of the athletics recruitment process which produced a record-breaking class in 2018. He created a cross-departmental Female Student-Athlete Recruitment Task Force to work towards improving female student-athlete recruiting, leading to a 50% increase in the number of female student-athletes in the class. He implemented a new fan affinity program, Nichols Nation, through a mobile application that rewards students with points and prizes for attending Bison athletic events. He also placed significant focus on student-athlete mental health issues, contracting a Sports Psychologist to work with student-athletes, teams, and coaches.
During his tenure at Nichols, he remained very active within the NCAA, serving as a member of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis National Committee (2018) and the NCAA Division III Football East Region Regional Advisory Committee (2016 and 2017).
Prior to his time at Nichols, Colvin served as the Associate Athletic Director at Furman University, where he was second in command for the Paladins 20-sport Division I program in the Southern Conference. His responsibilities included management of the Paladins' $20 million Athletics Department Budget, including daily monitoring, budgeting, forecasting and analyzing of department expenses and revenues.
Among other responsibilities, he also served as the primary Athletics Department liaison to the offices of Human Resources, Admissions, and Financial Aid and Student Life.
"I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of Commissioner Alan Patterson who has led this league for over three decades, added Colvin. "My goal is to help our member institutions continue to use intercollegiate athletics to further and enhance the mission of their institutions as our student-athletes become 'Champions in Body, Mind, and Soul'" in their pursuit of athletics and academic excellence."
Colvin graduated from Furman in 2000 with a degree in Business Administration and Communications and earned his master's degree in Industrial Statistics from the University of South Carolina in 2005. He will be joined by wife Megan and children Lanie (8), David (7), and Gracyn (5).
Colvin takes over leadership of the conference from Dr. Alan Patterson, who will retire in May after 32-years of service as Commissioner. During Dr. Patterson's tenure, the conference has thrived, with the number of conference-sponsored championships increasing from 14 to 23, and Conference members winning national championships in basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and soccer. Under Patterson's leadership, the conference has operated under various names, including Carolinas Conference, Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference, and Conference Carolinas, and has included twenty-six different institutions. Dr. Patterson led the conference through the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II in the 1990s, establishing the league as a premier destination in the Southeast.