Amy Huchthausen is in her fifth year as commissioner of the America East Conference. She was named to the position in September, 2011, becoming the conference’s fourth commissioner and first woman to lead the league. Huchthausen received a contract extension in July, 2015, that positions her to continue leading the league through June, 2020. She was recently recognized as a 2016 Forty Under 40 honoree by Sports Business Journal after being named a Game Changer by the same publication in September, 2015.
The 2014-15 academic year saw many initiatives find success under Huchthausen’s leadership. The America East debuted a revised postseason format for men’s basketball that saw each game played on the home court of the higher seed. In its first year, the #AEPlayoffs resulted in 21,292 attendees, the fourth largest in conference history and a 244 percent increase from 2014. Additionally, the league formally established the America East Academic Consortium, which will create academic partnerships across all nine institutions under the direction of each campus president and provost. Further, the conference’s partnership with the You Can Play Project, a groundbreaking relationship in which the America East is the only Division I conference to partner with the organization, reached new heights as YCP Nights were hosted at each campus during the men’s and women’s basketball season. This expanded awareness for the shared values of America East and You Can Play continues to demonstrate the conference’s commitment to respect and diversity. Finally, the conference office headquarters relocated from Cambridge, Mass., to the Seaport District of Boston, Mass. in January, resulting in expanded and contemporary space for the conference staff to call its home.
During her first four years as commissioner, America East has made progressive strides in numerous areas to raise the conference’s profile. National television exposure in men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s lacrosse has increased significantly through the league’s partnership with ESPN. The America East launched its digital network, AmericaEast.TV, in August, 2013, which showcases a variety of conference sports on one platform, making the availability of free live and on-demand content more accessible to fans. Additionally, the conference has created a robust and innovative social media strategy as it continues to elevate its external presence. Further, in an effort to grow its corporate partner program, the league is working with Shamrock Sports and Entertainment, which has already resulted in new corporate sponsors Under Armour and BookMyGroup.
Under Huchthausen’s leadership, the conference continues its emphasis on its brand platform centered on “Building the Complete Student-Athlete” through the three pillars of academic achievement, athletic excellence and leadership on and off the field. This dynamic rebranding initiative was unveiled on August 20, 2013, is the foundation upon which league decisions are made and has resulted in innovative programs and partnerships such as the creation of a Continuing Education program, reaching emerging leaders in athletics administration and coaching. In line with building for the future, the conference added its first member in 10 years, when the University of Massachusetts Lowell joined the conference on February 14, 2013.
Along with leading America East, she is currently a member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) Board of Directors. In addition, she recently completed a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and served on the NCAA Transfer Issues Working Group in 2015, following her service as chair of the NCAA Leadership Council Transfer Issues Subcommittee in 2013-14.
Huchthausen came to the America East after spending over five years at the NCAA national office, the last four as a Director of Academic and Membership Affairs. While at the NCAA she helped lead and coordinate internal operations for the department’s senior management team and provided leadership to several key Division I and Division III governance committees.
Before joining the NCAA as an associate director in 2006, Huchthausen worked as an assistant commissioner with the America East, assistant director of compliance and governance at the Atlantic Coast Conference, director of compliance at the Missouri Valley Conference and compliance assistant at the Big East Conference. She also served as a member of the Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet and Legislative Review & Interpretations Committee.
In 2003, she was honored by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, with the Multicultural Alumni Award which recognizes multicultural graduates who have achieved distinction in their fields. Additionally, she was awarded the 2001 NACWAA Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year Award that recognizes leaders who demonstrate leadership, tenacity, courage, conviction and perseverance.
A native of Richfield, Minn., Huchthausen earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she was a two-time captain of the softball team and two-time all-conference recipient. While a student-athlete, she served on the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and NCAA Division III Management Council.