Val Ackerman named new Big East commissioner

The new Big East introduced former WNBA president Val Ackerman as the conference’s first commissioner Wednesday.

The hiring came after a three-month search conducted by the conference’s 10 school presidents.

Ackerman worked alongside NBA commissioner David Stern before being named the first president of the WNBA in 1996.

The University of Virginia graduate also served as the president of USA Basketball from 2005 to 2008.

Ackerman serves on the boards of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, of which she is a member, and USA Basketball.

“Her intelligence surrounding basketball was really so impressive to the presidents that we think we’ve got the best basketball mind in the country at the helm of our basketball-centric conference,” Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley said.

Ackerman said further expansion is not a high priority for the Big East.

“Right now, we love 10,” Ackerman said. “10 is a great number. That’s what we have. We’ve got no immediate plans to go beyond it. To be honest, we have so much on our plate right now that expansion isn’t even on the radar screen with all the other things that we have to do to get the conference up and running.”

The Big East does not currently have a league office but Ackerman said the conference would seek short-term office space in New York.

The new commissioner also reflected on how she thinks the addition of Butler, Creighton, and Xavier will affect the conference.

“Not only will, hopefully, it be good for them to be part of the Big East, but it will be great for the Big East for them to be part of us,” Ackerman said. “They’re great schools, they’re world class schools. They’re going to bring a lot, and I think it’s going to be a win-win all the way around.”

Butler President Jim Danko made the announcement the school was leaving the Atlantic 10 to join the Big East on March 20.

Butler, Creighton, and Xavier will officially join DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villanova in the new Big East on July 1.

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