Peach Belt Conference Administration
David Brunk is in his sixth year as commissioner of the Peach Belt Conference. He came to the PBC after serving as commissioner of the Northeast-10 Conference for the previous nine years. Brunk is only the second commissioner the conference has ever had in its 20-year history.
Under Brunk's leadership, the PBC has expanded to its largest membership ever with 14 member schools as Young Harris College joined the league in the fall of 2012. Brunk has also overseen the establishment of the conference's corporate partnership program and led the PBC to new endeavors in community engagement, outreach and charitable giving.
He has also seen a restructuring of the league's championships, establishing three new championship sports including men's and women's outdoor track and field, which will hold its first championship in the spring of 2013.
Brunk was the first full-time commissioner for the Northeast-10 beginning his tenure in 1998. Under his leadership, the NE10 has added five new institutions and expanded the number of championship sports offered to 23, currently the most offered by any NCAA Division II conference. The NE10 has also led the nation consistently in graduation rates and academic success rates and has been brought to the forefront in the region and the nation.
Brunk began his career in intercollegiate athletics at Morehead State University where he served as Director of the Eagle Athletic Fund before being named Assistant Athletic Director. He also served as the school's head softball coach for two years. He moved from there to work for the NCAA for eight years, beginning work in compliance services which was later merged into membership services. He left the NCAA offices to join the Northeast-10 just prior to the NCAA's move to Indianapolis.
Prior to his involvement in intercollegiate athletics, Brunk owned and operated several minor league baseball franchises for the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He garnered numerous awards for overall business and marketing/promotional excellence.
Brunk has been highly involved within the NCAA committee structure. He currently serves on the Division II Membership Committee and has served as chairman of the Division II Management Council and served on the Division II Convention Planning Project Team, the Division II Community Advisory Group, the Division II Media Advisory Group, Division II Identity Subcommittee and the Division II Game Environment Advisory Group.
Brunk is a graduate of Ball State University and holds a Master's degree in Sports Science and Sport Management from the United States Sports Academy. He and his wife, Brenda, have two daughters, Ashley and Alexis.
Diana Kling, Associate Commissioner
Diana Kling enters her eighth year as Associate Commissioner for the Peach Belt Conference and also serves as the Senior Woman Administrator. She came to the league office after five years as a compliance specialist at the University of Florida.
Kling began her tenure at the Peach Belt as Director of Compliance before being elevated to Assistant Commissioner in 2008.
Kling was involved in all areas of compliance and eligibility for the Gators program including student-athlete certification, financial aid, waivers and records. She conducted education programs dealing with NCAA Rules, gambling and sports agents and administred conference and NCAA championships events. She also compiled and edited UF’s compliance policies and procedures manuals and coordinated the school’s YES Clinics.
Her role for the Peach Belt focuses on compliance and eligibility issues for the more than 1,500 PBC studentathletes. She also assists the compliance teams at the 13 PBC member institutions and administers the NCAA coaches certification test as well as the National Letter of Intent program among other duties. She also established and coordinates the league's annual Women in Athletics Seminar and serves as chair of the NCAA legislation committee.
A native of Auburn, Ohio, Kling graduated from Pepperdine in 1994 with a degree in business administration and received her MBA from Ashford University in 2008. She and her husband Steve have a son, J.T.
Ken Gerlinger, Assistant Commissioner for Communications
Ken Gerlinger enters his 12th year as the Assistant Commissioner for Communications for the Peach Belt Conference. He joined the league after serving for three years as the Sports Information Director at Charleston Southern University.
Gerlinger began his time at the Peach Belt as Director of Media Relations and was elevated to Assitant Commissioner in 2008. At the Peach Belt he coordinated the first live televised basketball championship games, has overseen the PBC website through three evolutions and has coordinated media efforts with 14 member schools. In 2009 he was honored with a 'Best in the Nation' writing award for event coverage by CoSIDA.
Gerlinger began his sports information career at the College of Charleston where he served as a student assistant and later as assistant SID from 1991-95 where he became the primary contact for the women’s basketball and golf programs. He also assisted with the men’s basketball program and served the team at their first NCAA tournament appearance.
From there, Gerlinger moved on to Clayton State University, which began its membership as a part of the Peach Belt Conference during his tenure. He spent two years with the Lakers, earning a publication award for the 1996-97 basketball media guide and was also recognized for his website design.
Gerlinger returned to his native Charleston in 1997 to begin work at Charleston Southern where he served as the radio voice for the Buccaneer basketball team for the 1997-98 season.
He has also done statistical work for the Charleston RiverDogs and Augusta Greenjackets Class A baseball teams, the Arenafootball 2 Charleston Swampfoxes and the Southern Conference baseball tournament. In 1996, he was a volunteer for the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he did courtside basketball statistics in over 20 games including stats for the Dream Team and U.S. Women’s National Team.
Gerlinger received a B.S. in business and a B.A. in communications from the College of Charleston in 1994. He and his wife, Sara, are expecting their first child in the summer of 2013.
Laura Buckalew, Director of External Operations
Laura Buckalew joined the Peach Belt Conference in November of 2012. She comes to the league from the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.V., where she served as an event coordinator.
Buckalew will serve as the Director of External Operations for the Peach Belt where she will market and promote the league, maintain the league’s corporate partner program, oversee all community engagement initiatives and serve as the PBC liaison to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), conference officiating bureaus , and manage the league internship program. In addition, Buckalew will assist with conference championships, coordinate special events, and develop the league’s multimedia and social media strategies.
Buckalew was a four-year letterwinner on the University of Charleston volleyball team and was named a team captain. She also lettered three times on the school’s rowing team and later served as a graduate assistant rowing coach at the University of Alabama.
A native of Charleston, W.V., she has worked with USA Triathalon, the USOC Warrior Games, the Honda Indy Car Grand Prix and as as a volleyball camp counselor. She spent two seasons working with the West Virginia Power minor league baseball organization and was the southeast regional regatta director for the US Rowing Association in Aiken, S.C., for three years.
Buckalew received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Sports Administration from the University of Charleston and her master’s of Human Environmental Science: Sport Management from the University of Alabama.
Kristen Jones, New Media and Interactive Programming Intern
Kristen Jones begins her second full year at the Peach Belt Conference office. She conducts the PBC's social media program and manages the Peach Blog. She is also the primary editor and photographer of the league's video content and assists with website updates, championship administration and serves on the PBC SAAC committee.
In addition to her role at the PBC office, Jones also serves as a graduate assistant coach on the Augusta State softball team.
Earning her B.S. in Kinesiology from Augusta State in 2012, Jones lettered in softball for four years, making an immediate impact starting in all 55 games her freshmen year to lead the team in homeruns.
Jones played and started in all 218 games of her career and totaled 31 home runs, 150 RBI and posted a .317 career batting average. She was an All-American, named to the All-Southeast Region twice and earned PBC All-Academic honors during her tenure.
She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology and is president of the Augusta State Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).