Reposted from CCAA Release
Walnut Creek, Calif. —
California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Commissioner Robert J. Hiegert announced today that he will retire as commissioner following a 15-year tenure with the conference.
Hiegert's retirement ends a 50-year association with the CCAA that began as a student-athlete, continued as an assistant coach, head coach and director of athletics before being named the conference's first full-time commissioner in 1998.
"I am extremely indebted to the CCAA for the opportunity it has given me as student-athlete, coach, director of athletics, and finally as commissioner," Hiegert said. "It has been a tremendous journey and along the way I have had the extreme fortune of experiencing every aspect of intercollegiate athletics, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
"I am proud of the successes the CCAA and its membership have had across the board and the ability of the institutions to work collaboratively for the betterment of the conference, stay positive and move ahead as the landscape of intercollegiate athletics has changed," Hiegert added.
Upon taking over as commissioner on a permanent basis on May 23, 1998, Hiegert immediately oversaw the expansion of the CCAA, which consisted of seven southern California institutions, to a 12-member league following the merger of five Northern California Athletic Conference institutions.
Hiegert also opened the conference's first fully operational administrative office to serve the membership, synchronized and enhanced the conference governance and parliamentary procedure, expanded and enhanced conference championship offerings, oversaw the successful classification of the CCAA as a non-profit corporation, secured several corporate sponsors, including Apple and Hilton, spearheaded and oversaw the creation of a strategic plan aimed at further developing the CCAA as a strong intercollegiate athletic conference, served as President of the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association (2004-06), played a key role in the establishment of the Disney Division II West Coast Tipoff Classic basketball tournament as well as the reinstatement of the CCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Championship Tournaments.
Under Hiegert's leadership, CCAA teams won 24 NCAA Division II national championships, including six since 2008.
"Bob (Hiegert) has been an excellent leader for the CCAA over the past 15 years," Dr. Rollin C. Richmond, Humboldt State University President and chair of the CCAA's Presidents/Chancellor's Group, said. "He was a very knowledgeable commissioner, but more importantly cares about the people who are the student-athletes.
Over the past 15 years, Bob has been a valued member of the CCAA."
"Bob has dedicated his entire career to the CCAA, first as a student-athlete, then coach, administrator and finally Commissioner," Chico State Director of Athletics and 2011-12 CCAA President Anita Barker said. "Bob's vision led the CCAA to its place today as the top Division II conference in the country. Commitment to the student-athlete experience has been the guiding force behind his leadership.
"As Bob moves to his next life adventure, he will be missed. We thank him for his wisdom, passion and complete dedication to the CCAA," Barker added.
Hiegert's association with the CCAA began in 1959 at Cal State Northridge, formerly known as San Fernando Valley State College (SFVSC), where he was a four-year starter in baseball and was named the Matadors' Athlete of the Year in 1963. A 1964 SFVSC graduate with a bachelor's degree in physical education, Hiegert completed his master's degree in 1966.
Following a stint in the Los Angeles Angels' organization, Hiegert returned to Cal State Northridge in 1965 and, in 18 seasons as the school's head baseball coach, led the Matadors to a 609-411-9 record (.596), two NCAA Division II Championships (1970, 1984), five regional titles, 11 postseason berths and six CCAA crowns. He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Cal State Northridge Hall of Fame in 1999.
Initially named Cal State Northridge Men's Athletic Director in 1978, Hiegert held the post until assuming the Director of Athletics post for both departments (men and women) from 1988-95 before serving as an associate professor of kinesiology at the University from 1995-98. He also administered the transition of the athletics department from Division II to Division I status.
During Hiegert's tenure as director of athletics, Cal State Northridge won 25 Division II national championships and 49 conference titles between 1978 and 1990. Within its first five years at the Division I level, CSUN's men's volleyball team (1993) and softball team (1994) played for national championships.
"I have known Bob Hiegert for several decades," former longtime Cal State Bakersfield Director of Athletics Rudy Carvajal said. "There are several characteristics that set him at the highest level of our profession. He really, really understands intercollegiate athletics. He gets it, from every perspective. He is a visionary of our time and able to translate that vision in a constructive form to enable those under his leadership to excel.
"He has been able to accomplish more with fewer resources than anyone I know," Carvajal continued. "With Bob's retirement, the CCAA is losing not only a great leader (arguably one of the best in the country) but also a person that has advanced the Mission of the CCAA with great integrity and excellence. Simply put, he is the best!"
"Bob has been a mentor for me as I moved into the position of conference commissioner of the Northern Sun Conference," Butch Raymond, President of the Division II Conference Commissioners' Association and Commissioner of the Northern Sun Conference, said. "When I came to the DII Conference Commissioners Association, Bob was very helpful to me as a listening board. He is very honest and has tremendous integrity and is a straight shooter. He will tell you the truth even though sometimes you don't want to hear it," Raymond added.