Founding Commissioner Hannan Recognized By D2CCA
Richard Hannan served as GNAC commissioner from 2001 to January 2012.
Richard Hannan served as GNAC commissioner from 2001 to January 2012.

Monday, March 20, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – Richard Hannan, the founding commissioner of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, has been selected to receive the Division II Conference Commissioners Association’s (D2 CCA) Meritorious Service Award.

Hannan is among six recipients of the award in 2023, which recognizes a commissioner with 10 or more years of experience once they leave the position for the time and dedication they have made to Division II. The award can also be given to other individuals including, but not limited to, conference office staff, institutional staff members or NCAA staff members. Award selections are made by the D2 CCA’s Awards Committee and approved by the full D2 CCA membership.

Hannan retired in 2011 after over 10 years as commissioner of the GNAC and more than three decades in intercollegiate athletics. During his tenure with the conference, GNAC teams earned 53 Division II top 10 finishes, including Division II championships for Seattle University in men’s soccer in 2004 and Seattle Pacific in women’s soccer in 2008. He also oversaw the addition of men’s and women’s indoor track and field and men’s and women’s golf to the conference’s initial offering of 12 championship sports and the addition of Montana State Billings as a conference member in 2007.

Hannan was also responsible for the development of a television package with Fox Sports and later ROOT Sports, making the GNAC one of the very few Division II conferences in the country to have a weekly basketball game of the week televised on a major cable network. He also worked with the Spokane Sports Commission to bring the 2011 and 2013 Division II Cross Country Championships to Spokane.

Before helping start the GNAC, Hannan served as the interim athletic director at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. Hannan had previously served as athletic director and head basketball coach at LCSC from 1974 and 1989.

The LCSC program realized substantial growth in Hannan’s tenure. He helped to organize the Lewis-Clark State Warrior Booster Club and oversaw the addition of men’s and women’s tennis as varsity sports. Hannan served as the host athletic director for the NAIA National Baseball Tournament for six years and helped organize the tournament’s honorary coach program. During his tenure, the LCSC baseball program won four NAIA championships.

Hannan also served as athletic director at Division I schools Weber State and Southwest Texas State. At Weber State, Hannan implemented a student advisory board and created an academic support system for student-athletes. He balanced the athletic department budget despite of a $183,000 revenue shortfall and developed coaches’ television shows. He also created a radio broadcasting program, which brought game broadcasts, promotions and marketing in-house.

At Southwest Texas State, Hannan was responsible for creating and developing the school’s first endowment fund, doubling revenue production for the athletic department. He initiated a television broadcast program for football, the format of which was later adopted by the Southland Conference. He also developed and implemented a program to eliminate Title IX department deficiencies.

Hannan was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame for meritorious service in 1991. He was elected to the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) and the Lewis-Clark State Warrior Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Columbia Basin College Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2018, Hannan was recognized by his alma mater, Eastern Washington University, with the Eastern Athletics Service & Contribution Award.

Also receiving D2 CCA Meritorious Service Awards in 2023 are Ralph McFillen of the MIAA, Tim Selgo of Grand Valley State University, Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State University, Marvin Vanover of the Peach Belt Conference and Dr. Sue Willey of the University of Indianapolis.