Pioneer Football League Names Greg Walter as Commissioner

The Pioneer Football League has a new Commissioner and it is a familiar face. Greg Walter will take over the top spot in the PFL after spending the previous decade as the conference’s associate commissioner.

The PFL is a non-scholarship, football-only conference with 11 current members. It began in 1993 after the NCAA mandated all Division 1 schools had to have all sponsored sports at the Division 1 level. Since 1993, the PFL has been run by Patty Viverito and Walter will have big shoes to fill as her successor. Viverito will continue to work with the PFL in an advisory role. Walter will not only be the commissioner of the PFL, but he will also be the associate commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference for baseball, basketball, and football starting on August 2.

Viverito oversaw multiple periods of expansion and temporary contractions during her time leading the PFL. The conference began with five members – Butler, Dayton, Drake, Evansville, and Valparaiso – before San Diego joined as the sixth member in 1993. Evansville dropped football after the 1997 season to put the PFL at 5 teams once again but a huge influx of members occurred prior to the 2001 season. Austin Peay, Davidson, Jacksonville, and Morehead State all joined the PFL to push the membership tally to 9.

Austin Peay left after the 2005 season while Campbell (2008) and Marist (2009) joined a few years later to put the PFL at 10 members. 2013 saw a brief spike to 12 members with Mercer joining for a year and Stetson joining permanently while the PFL champion was granted an automatic qualifying bid for the first time. Another set of departures occurred when Campbell left after the 2017 season followed by Jacksonville discontinuing football, putting the PFL at 9 members. However, in 2021 the PFL rose back to 11 schools with the additions of Presbyterian and St. Thomas.

The current 11 members (first season in the PFL) are Butler (1993), Davidson (2001), Dayton (1993), Drake (1993), Marist (2009), Morehead State (2001), Presbyterian (2021), St. Thomas (2021), San Deigo (1993), Stetson (2013), and Valparaiso (1993). St. Thomas may be the newest of additions but they have already won the PFL in 2022 and have been tabbed by the coaches to do so again in 2023.

Photo Courtesy of St. Thomas Athletics

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