Special to the E-T
Lone Star Conference
Fred Jacoby, the first full-time commissioner of the Lone Star Conference, passed away Saturday morning in his home after a multi-year battle with multiple myeloma.
Jacoby, 80, was forced into retirement soon after being diagnosed in October 2005 with the disease, which is a form of cancer that affects bone marrow.
“I’m saddened to hear of Fred’s passing, but I’m glad to know that his long struggle ended peacefully,” said Stan Wagnon, current LSC Commissioner and former assistant to Jacoby. “The Lone Star Conference was very fortunate to be a part of Fred’s legacy and I feel blessed to have worked with and learned from such a great man.”
“He’ll be missed but his influence will live on in collegiate athletics,” added Wagnon.
Wagnon, only the second full-time commissioner of the league, is one of eight current collegiate commissioners who worked under Jacoby.
The legendary Jacoby retired in June 2006 after guiding the NCAA Division II conference for 12 years.
Jacoby’s tenure with the LSC started after his retirement as commissioner of the Southwest Conference (SWC) in 1993. He assumed the position of Commissioner for the LSC in 1994 and became commissioner of the NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference in 1996, holding both posts simultaneously until retiring from both in June.
During his tenure, Jacoby led the LSC in active expansion of its membership. The league, which admitted its first non-Texas member in 1984, grew to 17 members in four states before settling into its current membership of 15 institutions in three states — New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Jacoby first became well known in this region while serving as commissioner of the Southwest Conference from 1982 to his retirement from the conference in 1993. During his tenure at the SWC, Jacoby witnessed 42 of the Conference’s 62 national championships in 13 different sports.
Jacoby had more than 50 years of experience in full-time coaching and collegiate athletics administration. His career included 10 years on the high school coaching level, eight years as an assistant football coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and 37 years as a college commissioner beginning as the first commissioner of the Wisconsin State University Conference (1966-71). He served as commissioner for the Mid-American Conference (1971-82) and the Southwest Conference (1982-93).
Jacoby was presented the NACDA NIT/Athletics Director Award at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention in June 2002. The award recognized Jacoby’s extensive work in collegiate athletics at the institutional, conference and national levels.
The Logan, Ohio, native served as Chair of the National Letter of Intent Program for the longest tenure in its history - 22 years from 1973-95. Jacoby is past president of the Collegiate Commissioners Association, Chair of NCAA committees on Membership Structure, Postgraduate Scholarship, Research, and Championship Standards. In past years, he also served on the Length of Season, Officiating and Junior College Relations committees and was Secretary-Treasurer of the College Football Association.