THE CONVERSATION

"THE CONVERSATION" Episode #9, With Ricky Stokes, Associate Commissioner Mid-American Conference

February 13, 2020

Ricky Stokes, Associate Commissioner Mid-American Conference, For Men’s & Women’s Basketball

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Photo: Virginia Magazine

A native of Richmond, Va., Stokes graduated from the University of Virginia in 1984 and was a four-year letter winner in basketball.  Stokes played in a Cavalier school record 134 consecutive games, including two NCAA Final Four appearances.  As a freshman in 1980-81, Stokes was part of a Virginia team that featured Ralph Sampson and advanced to the NCAA Final Four with Indiana, North Carolina and LSU, before falling to the Tar Heels, 78-65, in the national semifinals.  As a senior in the 1983-84 campaign, Stokes, along with Rick Carlisle, Olden Polynice and Othell Wilson, advanced to the NCAA Final Four with Georgetown, Houston and Kentucky, before falling to Houston, 49-47 in overtime in the national semifinals.  Following his collegiate career, Stokes was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Stokes began his collegiate coaching career at Bowling Green in 1988 as an assistant coach before joining Wake Forest as an assistant in 1989.  Stokes spent eight years (1989-1997) at Wake Forest, where the Demon Deacons, along with Tim Duncan, won two ACC Championships and consistently advanced in the NCAA tournament.  Stokes returned to his alma mater, the University of Virginia, as an assistant coach in 1997.  After one season at Virginia, Stokes was named Associate Head Basketball Coach at the University of Texas in 1998.  The following year he was named the head basketball coach at Virginia Tech in 1999.  Stokes spent four years (1999-2003) at Virginia Tech as head coach and collected a career record of 46-69.  During his time in Blacksburg, Va., Stokes had his best season in 1999-2000 with a 16-15 record, including an 8-8 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference.  In Stokes final three years as head coach at Virginia Tech, the Hokies competed in the Big East Conference.

In 2003, Stokes joined South Carolina as an assistant coach and spent two seasons with the Gamecocks.  In 2005, the Gamecocks won the NIT by defeating St. Joseph’s.  Stokes was named head basketball coach at East Carolina in 2005 and stepped down after two seasons to join athletic administration.

Prior to joining the MAC, Stokes spent the last year at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Athletics in the role of Development Officer.  In that capacity, Stokes was responsible for the development and implementation of strategic fundraising initiatives to support budgets for seven varsity sports.  He also worked closely with the university head coaches to provide leadership and supervision for their respective programs.  During this past fiscal year, Stokes raised over $1.5 million for the University of Pennsylvania to serve over 300 student-athletes.

Stokes received his Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1988.  Stokes and his wife, Karen, have a daughter, Sydney.

Mid-American Conference

Founded in 1946, the Mid-American Conference is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships and is one of 11 members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in six (6) states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. In addition a 13th school – Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. — is an affiliate member for football only.

Current MAC schools that hold full membership and the year they joined are — East Division: University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947).  Temple University (2007) competes in the East Division in football only.

The conference office is based in Cleveland, Ohio.

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