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Tackling Today’s Challenges With The Big West’s Dan Butterly

Guest Dan Butterly, Big West
min watch


Big West Conference Commissioner Dan Butterly joins ADU’s Steph Garcia Cichosz at the 2023 NACDA Convention to reflect on the challenges of today’s athletics landscape from the conference perspective. Butterly shares insight into how he and the Big West staff address student-athlete well-being and evolve the championship experience. Butterly: “I’ll attend games without [our institutions] knowing I’m there… I can hide behind a hat and attend a game and watch what’s going on and get a sense of what the experience is like and that’s what I try to do… you get a real sense of what it’s like without the Commissioner being there and then when you indicate you are coming, there’s a whole different mindset – ‘Oh my gosh the Commissioner’s here.’ I’m not that kind of commissioner. I’m the kind of guy that just wants to sit in the stands and watch a game.”

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - There is so much going on in the intercollegiate athletics landscape right now - what is the biggest challenge for a conference commissioner right now?
  • - Walk us through the process of establishing consensus around some of the big moves happening at the conference level while ensuring that these changes stay true to the personality of the Big West.
  • - How do you navigate the different institutional personalities across the league? How do you tailor your communication style to accommodate those different personalities and leadership styles?
  • - There's a huge emphasis in the industry right now on student-athlete wellness and the Big West just partnered with IntelliSport Analytics to conduct a comprehensive student-athlete experience study with all 11 member-institutions. Why did you choose to do this under the conference umbrella?
  • - How do you keep the student-athlete experience as your top priority from your vantage point as Commissioner? How do you keep a connection with them?
  • - You've been called a "servant-leader" - what does that really mean to you?
  • - How do you prioritize wellness for your staff and how do you live that out yourself?
  • - On the hardest days of your job, how do you reset, recharge, and rejuvenate so that when you come back the next morning, you're ready to go?
  • - What's the biggest misconception about life in a conference office?
  • - What is the start of the academic year like for you? How are you in all places at once?
  • - From your vantage point in the conference office, what is going great right now in college athletics?