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Longtime Heart Commissioner Lori Thomas to Step Down After Successful Tenure with the Conference

Longtime Heart Commissioner Lori Thomas to Step Down After Successful Tenure with the Conference

After nine years as the leader of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, commissioner Lori Thomas has announced her resignation as Heart Commissioner to pursue a new opportunity in the world of sports.

"I have cherished my time in the NAIA for 25 years with over nine of those years as Heart Commissioner," said Thomas. "I want to thank the Heart Presidents, Administrators, and Coaches for supporting the Heart initiatives through the years to make this conference one of the best. I will always be a fan of the Heart!"

Thomas has served as the Heart Commissioner since 2014. As the first female commissioner in NAIA history, she completed a rebrand of the conference, led the first-ever ESPN "Game of the Week" for football, increased the slate of championships sports to 26, developed the Heart Conference Network, Heart Association of Student-Athletes and most recently partnered with Wellness U which offers every Heart student-athlete (over 6,000) a mobile app that provides mental wellness resources.

"Lori has provided exceptional leadership during her years of service. Her vision for the Heart has inspired our members to adopt high standards of excellence on behalf of our student-athletes" stated Dr. David Spittal, MNU President and Chair of the Heart Council of Presidents.

Thomas started her career with the NAIA in 1998 as a Marketing Assistant and was quickly promoted through the ranks to her final position as Senior Vice President for Membership and Character Initiatives. Her responsibilities included leading efforts for membership recruitment and retention, achieving greater efficiencies and consistency in the delivery of the Champions of Character program and advancing student-athlete experiences within national championships.​

In 2003, Thomas was inducted into both the National Junior College Athletics Association Hall of Fame and Johnson County Community College Hall of Fame for the sport of volleyball. She was inducted into Idaho State University's Hall of Fame the next year for volleyball and basketball.

In 2015, Thomas was selected as the Women Leaders in College Sports "Administrator of the Year". She will be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in April of 2024 in Kansas City, Mo., for Meritorious Service.

The Heart will be seeking a new Commissioner with a projected start date of February 1, 2024.

For a complete job description, please click here.

Interested applicants shall provide a (1) Letter of Interest; (2) Current Resume; (3) References and (4) A one page statement about your vision for the Conference and NAIA athletics.

All application materials shall be submitted to Comprehensive Athletics Consulting, LLC (CAC) at Questions about the position can be directed to CAC at

Applications will be received until November 24, 2023.