Hot Mic with Dom Izzo: Douple is the reason the Summit League is a mid-major power
The conference has trimmed its footprint and become a basketball powerhouse
14 years ago this month, North Dakota State began a brand new journey.
The still Division 1 transitioning Bison were new members of the Summit League, a league that itself was brand new. The conference had just changed its name from the MidContinent Conference in an effort to become a top mid-major league.
The man behind that change was Tom Douple, who announced today he was retiring as conference commissioner in October.
When Douple took over the league, it stretched from Utah to Louisiana.
Former Bison coach Saul Phillips could tell stories for hours about NDSU's basketball teams trying to get to Cedar City, Utah and Shreveport, Louisiana.
But over the last decade, the footprint of the league has shrunk and all the while, improved its reputation as a great basketball league.
If you need further proof, look at the Summit League basketball tournament in Sioux Falls. The tournament has produced great games and finishes. The Premier Center has routinely been filled for a women's basketball game at 1pm on a Tuesday. That's a huge success.
Challenges await with perhaps teams leaving, but Douple has seen it all. And his conference now is at its Summit.