Gary Newsome, Olivet's athletic director, is the new commissioner of the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA), effective May 5, 2014. He will oversee the operations of the 13-team Association, filling the position left vacant by the retirement of James D. Houdeshell, who helped National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools in three states form the MSFA in 1993.
“I am very honored and humbled to be chosen by the MSFA coaches to sit in the commissioner’s chair,” Newsome said. “History shows us that the MSFA has been the strongest NAIA football conference in America over the past 20 years. Knowing that I cannot replace someone like Dr. Houdeshell, I just hope to serve the coaches and universities in the MSFA with never tiring energy and to be their biggest cheerleader. And I can’t wait to get to Daytona [NAIA championship] and cheer on the next MSFA/NAIA football champion.”
As he continues in his role as Olivet’s athletic director, a position he has held for six years, Newsome will also continue to serve on the NAIA National Administrative Council’s Awards and Statistics committee.
During 2012–13, the Tigers won their fourth consecutive CCAC All-Sports Cup and fifth in six years; finished sixth in the NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings; had six of nine teams finish first or second during the regular season; and had seven teams win their respective tournament championships. ONU also sent 13 teams to NAIA National Tournaments.
As the Tigers’ head football coach for nine years, he was named MSFA Coach of the Year twice, guided his team to the NAIA playoffs, had a league championship and two runner-up finishes, as well as two NCCAA Victory Bowl titles. His teams won 46 games, 15 more than any coach in Olivet history.
A 1974 Olivet graduate, Newsome earned a master’s degree from Chicago State University in 1982. While an Olivet student, he was a four-year starter in baseball, as well as being the team’s MVP his senior year and leading hitter his junior year. He later returned to Olivet to serve as head baseball coach and the football team’s defensive coordinator from 1980 to 1981. His 1981 team won a then-school record 21 baseball games and advanced to the NAIA District 20 playoffs.
Newsome also has a wealth of administrative experience during his 25 years of service in the Ohio public school system, where he served 14 years as a public school administrator. As a high school football coach at Paint Valley and Chillicothe, he took his teams to 110 victories, two undefeated seasons, and four playoff appearances. He won eight honors as Coach of the Year. He also coached in the Ohio North-South All-Star game twice and was inducted into the Paint Valley Hall of Fame. In addition to football, he also coached men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, wrestling, swimming, tennis and track.