The new Big East on Wednesday afternoon confirmed what CBSSports.com reported earlier in the day: the conference's hiring of former WNBA president Val Ackerman to be its first commissioner.
"I congratulate the Big East for making such an inspired choice," NBA commissioner David Stern said via a press release. "I had the pleasure of working alongside Val for many years, including the period in which she transformed the WNBA from a mere concept into a thriving basketball league. Her experience and intelligence, along with a keen analytic ability, an intense work ethic and a winning management style will help steer the historic Big East Conference to even greater heights."
This development makes Ackerman just the second active female commissioner of a nationally relevant sports conference, joining the Atlantic 10's Bernadette McGlade. The Big East will begin officially operating as a league on Monday. Its offices will be headquartered in New York City, the league confirmed Wednesday.
Ackerman is a New Jersey native. The 53-year-old graduated in 1981 from the University of Virginia, where she was a three-time captain of, and two-time Academic All-American for, the women's basketball team. She has a law degree from UCLA.
"I am honored to be given this incredible opportunity to work in partnership with the ten world-class institutions that are marching ahead under the Big East banner," said Ackerman, a Women's Basketball Hall of Famer and the U.S. Representative to the International Basketball Federation. "Our mission is simple -- to continue and enhance the Big East's legacy of intense competition, spirited rivalries and unparalleled achievement."