The Big Sky Conference on Friday named Andrea Williams as the sixth commissioner in the 53-year history of the conference. She is the first woman to be named commissioner.

Williams, who spent the past 10 years as an associate commissioner with the Big Ten Conference, will begin her tenure July 1. Doug Fullerton, who has served as the Big Sky's commissioner for 20 years, announced his intentions to retire on Feb. 10.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected as the next commissioner of the Big Sky Conference, and I’m excited to guide the league into the next era of academic and athletic achievement,” Williams said. “I am grateful to the President’s Council and selection committee for the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of institutions that prioritize the student-athlete experience and higher education.”

In her new role as commissioner, Williams will draw on her experience with the Big Ten and its progressive initiatives that have focused on member institution cooperation, broad based programming, innovative television and technology platforms and athlete health and safety, to shape and develop her vision for the Big Sky.

The Big Sky valued Williams' experience in collegiate athletics, where she has served as the associate commissioner in charge of football and basketball operations for the Big Ten in Rosemont, Illinois.

“Andrea has made a substantial impact during her time at the Big Ten Conference,” said James Edward Delany, the current commissioner of the Big Ten. “Her diverse background in sports administration, event planning and operations allows her to work seamlessly with our member institutions and build relationships with countless external partners in our host cities.”

Williams is currently the chair of the NCAA WBCO, and is the past president of the Collegiate Event and Facility Managers Association, under National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She also volunteers at several major events such as the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Super Bowl and Transplant Games of America.

“We are thrilled Andrea has agreed to be the next commissioner,” said Scott L. Wyatt, chair of the President’s Council of the Big Sky Conference, and president of Southern Utah University. “She will bring new energy and vision to the conference as we continue to grow. As a former championship student athlete herself, we are confident she will help us focus on the student experience, while still increasing our competitiveness.”

Williams’ experience competing in two sports at the Division I level has provided her with perspective of the welfare of the student-athlete. She said, “I believe in the collegiate model and the benefit sport and academics plays in the lives of young adults.”

Williams earned a Master of Sport Administration in the School of Business from Ohio University in April 2016.

Gene Smith, Athletic Director at Ohio State University praised Williams, saying, “The Big Sky Conference is fortunate to have such a dynamic leader as Andrea Williams. Her NCAA and conference experience will significantly benefit all Big Sky members."

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