NEW ORLEANS -- Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters says he will retire July 1.
The league made the announcement Wednesday.
The 62-year-old Waters became the Sun Belt commissioner in 1998 and under his leadership the league began playing Division I-A football in 2001 and signed an eight-year television deal with ESPN.
The conference has added Troy, Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas and Florida Atlantic during his tenure.
The Sun Belt currently has nine football members and 12 for basketball and other sports.
Troy Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. will lead the search for a new commissioner.