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Four Commissioners Honored by Division III Commissioners Association

Four Commissioners Honored by Division III Commissioners Association

The Division III Commissioners Association (D3CA) honored four commissioners, including the presentation of the inaugural Dennis Collins Award to Dick Rasmussen of the University Athletic Association and Steve Ulrich of the Centennial Conference.

"The 2019 award recipients from the Division III Commissioners Association represent some of the most accomplished and respected commissioners in our division's history," said Presidents' Athletic Conference Commissioner Joe Onderko.

Dennis Collins was the founding executive director of the North Coast Athletic Conference and served as the conference's leader for 25 years. He was also a founding member of the Division III Commissioners Association.
 
"Dennis unfortunately left us far too soon. He was known for his big personality and the willingness with which he offered assistance, guidance, and friendship to the members of this group, among countless others in our profession," said NCAC Executive Director Keri Alexander Luchowski, who joined the conference under Collins' leadership in 1999. "He was involved in a lot of things, but the D3CA was one of the most important professional organizations for him over his long, distinguished career and he would be incredibly humbled at the idea of a lifetime achievement award in his name. I know that he'd be extremely proud to have Steve Ulrich and Dick Rasmussen as the first recipients of this award."
 
"Steve Ulrich is one of the most respected people to ever serve as a Division III Commissioner," added Luchowski. "He is completing a long, successful, and distinguished career, which has only served to bolster the regard with which the position is held across the Division. He is a mentor, a colleague and a friend to all in the D3CA. Personally, he was one of the people who helped me realize I could do this job and I know he was that person for several others who've shared their stories with me. He was a confidante and friend to Dennis, and has been one to me as well. And I know others will say the same. He has served as a valuable resource for so many young, and not-so-young commissioners over the years; he has been our champion."
 
"Dick Rasmussen is simply synonymous with Division III administrators and commissioners. He has spent his career supporting and promoting all that we do in this profession," Luchowski said. "He too was a friend and treasured colleague of Dennis Collins and was also one of the founding members of the DIIICA. He willingly provides context and valuable counsel to the group as a whole and to many of us individually. Never rushing to judgement nor delivering a hasty opinion, he has served as our conscience. He makes sure that we carefully consider all sides of an argument. Personally, he treated me as a colleague even when I was one in title only; I will never be able to pay him back for all his kindness to me over the years. And again, I know many others can say the same. These awards are well-deserved recognition for all Steve and Dick have achieved and all they have given to our profession."
 
"I can think of no more deserving recipients of the inaugural Dennis Collins Award, given for lifetime achievement and service to the D3CA, then Steve Ulrich of the Centennial and Dick Rasmussen of the UAA," Onderko remarked. "Both have been involved in the association since its founding and belong on the 'Mount Rushmore' of Division III commissioners for their historical contributions."
 
Chris Martin of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin was the first full-time commissioner to be selected to chair the Division III Management Council, a historical achievement highlighting his outstanding resume as the recipient of the D3CA Distinguished Service award. Past president Chuck Yrigoyen of the American Rivers Conference was honored for an outstanding job leading the D3CA Executive Board as president for the past two years, while at the same time leading a successful rebranding of his conference.