NCAA replaces tourney czar Greg Shaheen

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

The NCAA has made it official: Greg Shaheen is out.

Shaheen has been in charge of the NCAA men's basketball tournament for more than a decade, but nearly two years after new NCAA president Mark Emmert handed him the interim tag, Shaheen is now history.

Mark Lewis is the new executive vice president for championships and alliances. I don't know much about Lewis besides the fact he was the president of Jet Set Sports, but I feel bad for him because replacing Shaheen is like having to follow Tom Izzo in East Lansing right now.

Shaheen was as respected, affable and well-liked as anyone at the NCAA. I spoke to numerous people inside the NCAA on Tuesday morning after the news came out that Shaheen's tenure was over -- and they were outraged and saddened. The feeling among many was that Jim Isch, the chief operating officer at the NCAA, was largely responsible for the move.

Shaheen was one of three finalists for the job and he interviewed this past week, along with Lewis and Kevin Weiberg. But everyone knew there was no shot Shaheen was going to keep his job, which had increased to overseeing 89 championships shortly after Emmert took over. Yet he was put through the charade of interviewing with dozens of people this past week -- only to be told he wasn't worthy of keeping his job.

Shaheen was the point person who orchestrated the NCAA's television deal with CBS and Turner. He also dealt with coaches and media members -- and rarely a negative word could be found by anyone.

"Working with Myles Brand, Greg furthered the cause of men's college basketball as much as anyone in the last decade," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told CBSSports.com shortly after hearing the news. "It's a huge loss for our game."

"Greg has made a significant impact on NCAA men's basketball," added Jim Haney, the president of the NABC. "His role in the new media right agreement between the NCAA and CBS/Turner is well-documented. His impact on the Men's Basketball Championship over the past decade has been very significant. He has championed the NCAA consistently over the years and has helped to develop a more trusting relationship among NCAA staff, college administrators and coaches. Greg is a big thinker and doer."

Shaheen, according to those close to him, is taking this hard. However, eventually he'll be fine. He'll find something else. Actually, something else really good will find him. He's too smart, too talented, too personable.

But he'll be missed.

 
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