The search is underway to fill a key position within the Ohio Capital Conference.

Dave Cecutti, the only commissioner in conference history, announced Jan. 14 that he will be stepping down effective June 1 after nearly 13 years with the organization. The OCC, which was founded in 1966, did not have a commissioner until Cecutti accepted the position in September 2007.

Mike Ulring, the executive president of the OCC, will help lead the search to find Cecutti's replacement.

"We're going to get focused on the next commissioner," said Ulring, the principal at Dublin Coffman. "I say this as the principal of Coffman High School: when somebody leaves, our goal is to get better. People are really hard to replace, but you have to go into it with the mindset that we're going to get better. We're going to find somebody that makes us even better. It's not going to be easy.

"I hope (the search) will attract some quality individuals who have some great experience."

Ulring added that finding a replacement with Cecutti's knowledge of the area's prep sports scene will be a challenge.

"Dave is the only commissioner we've ever known," Ulring said. "Dave has so many great contacts and he knows so many people in the sports world. There are so many intangibles that he brought to the conference. It's an important position and he did an amazing job with it. Replacing him is going to be a huge task."

Westerville Central athletics director Andy Ey, who was part of the committee that appointed Cecutti as commissioner and has worked closely with him throughout his tenure, again will assist in the search.

"It's not a full-time job," Ey said. "It has to be someone who either has a flexible schedule with their full-time position or someone who is retired (such as) a retired athletics director or retired principal or retired superintendent that has some interest and has some ability to be the commissioner of a conference."

Ulring said the search committee hopes to find someone with the same passion and drive for student-athletes as Cecutti.

During Cecutti's tenure, the conference has expanded from 30 to 32 schools -- adding Canal Winchester, Hilliard Bradley, Olentangy Berlin and Olentangy Orange and losing Mount Vernon and Watkins Memorial -- and has increased its number of sanctioned sports to 25.

Cecutti also has played a key role in four conference realignments, including the one that will take effect next school year. The previous three occurred in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

His duties also include helping to organize and oversee meetings for athletics directors, helping to devise football schedules each season and working with each sport to help find assignors of officials for their respective events. Cecutti meets regularly with the assignors to help monitor the respective sports' officials.

"He wanted to have the best officials for the OCC and he thought we deserved it," Ulring said. "Everybody wants the best officials."

Another role of the commissioner is attending as many contests as possible to maintain a solid presence within the conference, according to Ulring.

Ulring said Cecutti also will assist in the search for his successor and will make sure there is a smooth transition. The committee hopes to have a replacement named in the spring.

"We really want to have some time with those two together where Dave could help (with the) transition," Ulring said. "He wants to make sure it's seamless and the OCC doesn't suffer in any way. He really wants to help hand that over and train, work with the new commissioner to put all the processes in place."