ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Valley Conference's Joe Mitch has retired after 27 years of service to the league.
"I've had a great run with the Missouri Valley," Mitch said, "and I want to thank Commissioner Doug Elgin and member institutions for the privilege of working in the conference office all these years. I look forward to the next chapter of my life but I will always have a special place in my heart for the Missouri Valley Conference."
Mitch started as assistant commissioner in 1985 when the league office relocated to St. Louis from Tulsa and was promoted to associate commissioner in 1988. He has served as tournament director for the men’s basketball tournament that annually is in the top 10 nationally in attendance among Division I conferences, and he also handled baseball for the conference, serving as tournament director, arranging league schedules and overseeing the assignment of umpires for conference games.
“Joe Mitch dedicated more than a quarter of a century of his professional life to the Missouri Valley, and his love for the league has always been very obvious," says Doug Elgin, MVC Commissioner. "He’s had a tremendous impact on our conference in so many areas. He has a network of national colleagues, media representatives and friends that is second to none. Above all, he is a wonderful person who is beloved in our conference, and he will forever be a member of the Valley family.”
Mitch was tournament manager of seven NCAA tournaments (the 1993, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2010 Midwest Regionals and the 2002 Midwest First/Second Rounds), was local media coordinator for the 1978 NCAA Final Four in St. Louis and three NCAA Midwest Regionals (1975, 1979 and 1982) and has worked numerous other NCAA basketball tournaments as a media relations specialist. He participated in a presentation to the NCAA that helped St. Louis land the 2005 Men's NCAA Final Four, where he served as chair of the games management committee for the St. Louis LOC. Overall, Mitch has been involved in various capacities in 36-straight NCAA Final Fours.
Additionally, Mitch oversaw promotions, marketing, sponsorships and television advertising sales for the conference, and he is credited for originating the idea of a Hall of Fame for the conference. Mitch helped pioneer the league's in-house television network and spent nearly 20 years selling the advertising for the network, which included games on FOX Sports Midwest, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and ESPNU. His sales leadership helped generate more than $1.5 million annually.
Mitch’s professional career spans 43 years, most of which has been in intercollegiate athletics. He was assistant commissioner with the Metro Conference from 1976 to 1983 and has held sports information positions at four institutions: Illinois-Chicago (1968-70), Southern Illinois (1970-73), Dayton (1973-75) and St. Louis (1975-76). He also served as communications manager for the St. Louis-based Sports Time Cable Network from 1983-85 and briefly worked at Southwestern Bell Publications (1985) before joining the MVC.
A 1968 graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Mitch currently serves as executive director of the 900-member USBWA. He’s held that position since 1983.