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Kent Paulson Retires After A 14-Year Stint As Frontier Conference Commissioner

WALLY FELDT, Frontier Conference Press Release:

WHITEFISH, Mont., Apr. 11, 2023 – Frontier Conference Commissioner Kent

Paulson announced his retirement at Tuesday afternoon press conference in

Helena, Mont. His retirement will effective June 30, 2023.


Paulson, began his term in 2009, is the longest-serving commissioner in the

history of the conference. Carroll College president and Frontier Conference chair

of the Council of Presidents Dr. John Cech said Paulson will receive the title of

Frontier Conference Commissioner Emeritus.



“Kent’s leadership over the past 14 years has truly defined the Frontier

Conference,” Cech said. He has worked tirelessly to serve the 10 institutions in

four states which comprise the conference. The Council of Presidents, which I

have the pleasure of leading, wanted to express our deep appreciation to Kent for

his leadership, and we are honored to acknowledge his unwavering commitment

to the conference by conferring upon him the title of Frontier Commissioner

Emeritus.”


His career highlights are many including the expansion of the conference,

brokered the webcasting of conference events, the increase in corporate

sponsorship, the development of a fall Media Day, established Frontier

Conference scholarships presented through the Montana Coaches’s Association

(MCA), instituted the Ron “Swede” Kenison award, and the Frontier Conference

Service Award, and established a sports chair system. This just a sampling of the

Paulson’s accomplishments during his tenure as conference commissioner.

Bottom line, the conference is better.


In addition, Paulson worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with

the conference presidents, chancellors, athletic directors, athletic trainers, and

coaches to establish health protocols ensuring the conference member colleges

and universities, their teams and athletics were operating in a safe environment.



He is the recipient of many awards including the MCA Outstanding Contributor

Award, the MCA Distinguished Service Award, the National Association of

Intercollegiate Association (NAIA) Award of Merit and the NAIA Charles M.

Morris Administrator of the Year.


“Kent Paulson exemplifies all that is good about the NAIA, the Frontier

Conference, and college athletics,” Jim Carr, President of the National

Association of Intercollegiate Athletics said. “Kent has spent his entire

professional career as a servant leader and has had a positive impact on countless

students, coaches, and administrators. On behalf of the NAIA, I wish Kent and

his wife Joan the best as they enjoy retired life with their family.”


Paulson is completing his 50th year in education. Paulson spent 14 years at

Whitefish High School, nine as assistant principal and five as principal. A veteran

of the Montana high school coaching ranks, Paulson taught and coached track

and basketball at both Troy and C.M. Russell High Schools.


Paulson was previously active with the Montana High School Association. He was

a former MOA basketball official, a basketball tournament manager, and is a

respected track and field official.


Paulson graduated with a bachelor of science degree in education from Western

Montana College (Montana Western) in 1973, and earned a masters of education

from the Dillon school in guidance counseling in 1979.



He received his secondary principal endorsement from the University of Montana

in 1980. Paulson and his wife, Joan, are the parents of three children Kale, Krista,

and Kurt, who is the head men’s basketball coach for Carroll College.


“We are extremely appreciative of Kent’s commitment and enthusiasm for the

Frontier Conference and NAIA Athletics over the past 14 years,” Montana

Chancellor Dr. Les Cook said. “A solid foundation has been established and the

momentum will continue as the conference expands. His support of member

institutions and more importantly, our student athletes has been exemplary. We

are forever grateful to both he and Joan for their dedication and support.”


A search for Paulson’s replacement will begin immediately with Carroll College

President John Cech and Montana Tech Chancellor Les Cook co-chairing the

search. The search committee will be made up of chancellors, presidents, and

athletic directors representing the conference.


The position is full-time and the physical location of the commissioner is flexible

but they must reside in Montana. Additional information about the search will be

posted to the Frontier Conference website at frontierconference.com.





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