In his 21st year as commissioner of the Horizon League, Jonathan B. (Jon) LeCrone has been a driving force behind the development of the League.
Under his direction, the Horizon League vigorously continues to pursue its vision, which is to create a student-centered League that promises and delivers a holistic university experience for student-athletes.
“Our fundamental mission is to help educate young people,” said LeCrone. “Through athletics, we aspire to teach the values of learning, service to others and personal responsibility. Our goal is to help our member institutions add value to the educational experience.”
Named the League’s fifth commissioner on May 11, 1992, LeCrone’s 20 years of leadership have resulted in an expanded and stable membership, improved League championship events, a growing financial base, and greater national recognition for the Horizon League. His tenure is the fifth-longest among the 31 multi-sport conferences in Division I.
LeCrone recently completed a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council, which will be charged with developing the model of a Division I member. His appointment comes after a five-year term on the prestigious NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
A significant step toward a number of goals put forth by LeCrone occurred on June 4, 2001, when the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, founded in 1979, officially changed its name to the Horizon League. A driving force behind the name and image change, LeCrone and the Horizon League membership view the transformation as a renewed commitment to athletic success, community involvement, academic achievement and personal responsibility.
In the fluid climate of intercollegiate athletics, LeCrone continues to have his hand on its pulse. Under his leadership, the Horizon League added Youngstown State University as its ninth member in 2001 and expanded to 10 members with the addition of Valparaiso University in 2007. In 2002, he was one of four conference commissioners who joined with ESPN to create Bracket Buster Saturday (now Sears BracketBusters), one of the nation’s premier regular-season men’s basketball events.
LeCrone also implemented the Women’s Leadership Symposium, a biennial event first held in Indianapolis in 2001 with the purpose of enhancing the professional development and growth of women in athletics. More recently, he guided the Horizon League Long-Range Planning Committee through phase three of a long-range planning process.
LeCrone has also worked to enhance the Horizon League’s sales, branding and communications efforts. In 2011, he hired IMG College to coordinate the League’s multimedia rights and sales initiatives, and he has augmented the communications and multimedia staff to better serve the League’s information and public relations efforts.
In addition, LeCrone continues to be a leader in helping bring major NCAA championship events to Indianapolis. The Horizon League, along with national-runner up Butler University, co-hosted the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and successfully co-hosted the 2011 Women’s Final Four at Conseco Fieldhouse while Butler was playing in its second consecutive Men’s Final Four.
Prior to joining the Horizon League, LeCrone spent nine years as assistant commissioner at the Atlantic Coast Conference, serving on the staffs of former commissioner Gene Corrigan and his predecessor, the late Bob James. At the ACC, LeCrone was responsible for conference projects in television, marketing, and public relations, including coordinating the syndicated football television package, televising conference championship events, and developing revenue-producing projects. During his first five years at the ACC, his primary duties included the implementation of conference championship events and interpretation and enforcement of ACC and NCAA rules.
Prior to joining the ACC, LeCrone was assistant athletics director at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., for four years. He also spent a year in the Chicago Cubs organization as the business manager for the Class AAA team in Wichita, Kan.
A 1976 graduate of Wake Forest with a bachelor’s degree in English, LeCrone was a member of the Wake Forest baseball team. He received a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1978.
A native of Vandalia, Ohio, he is married to the former Lisa Dauria Knorr. LeCrone has three daughters, Alexandra, Megan, and Emery, one son, Weston, and one stepson, Maxwell.
Highlights of LeCrone's Tenure as Horizon League Commissioner:
- Spearheaded the transition of the name and image change from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference to Horizon League in 2001.
- Guided the League through a major expansion in 1994 that brought in current members Cleveland State, UIC, Green Bay, Milwaukee and Wright State.
- Was instrumental in the addition of Youngstown State University (2001) and Valparaiso University (2007) as the League's newest members.
- In the midst of a four-year appointment on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council.
- Recently completed a five-year term on the prestigious NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee.
- Has helped bring to Indianapolis the NCAA Men's Final Four in 1997, 2000 and 2006 and 2010, along with the Women's Final Four in 2005 and 2011. The Horizon League will serve as a co-host for the Men's Final Four in 2015 and the Women's Final Four in 2016.
- Was instrumental in the League signing a three-year extension with the ESPN family of networks. The current deal runs through 2013.
- Played a key role in the inclusion of Horizon League teams in the BracketBusters series beginning in 2003.
- Implemented the Horizon League Women's Leadership Symposium that has been held biennially since 2001.
- Served a six-year term on the Division I Men's Soccer Committee, including three as chair.