Great West Conference Leadership Selected for 2008-09 The President's Council of the Great West Conference has selected Dr. Robert Altenkirch from New Jersey Institute of Technology as the first chair of the newly expanded all-sports league, Commissioner Ed Grom announced Nov. 6. In addition, James W. Abbott from The University of South Dakota has been named vice-chair of the Presidents Council by a vote of the group. The Presidents Council met as a group for the first time in early October to discuss and ratify the conference's first Constitution and Bylaws. It was at that time that the Presidents Council selected Altenkirch to lead the conference through its first year of all-sports existence. "I look forward working with all the Presidents of the member schools as we embark on this inaugural year as an all-sports conference," Altenkirch said. "We want to build on the traditions of the football-only era and shape the Great West into a competitive, all-sport NCAA member conference." As written in the conference's Bylaws, the Athletics Directors from the institutions of the Presidents Council chair and vice-chair shall serve as chair and vice-chair of the Joint Council, a group made up of Directors of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrators from each institution. Lenny Kaplan from NJIT shall serve as chair of the Joint Council, with Joel Nielsen from South Dakota serving as vice-chair.