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Val Ackerman named commissioner of new Big East

Val Ackerman (left) at the 2008 Olympic Games with former president George W. Bush
Val Ackerman (left) at the 2008 Olympic Games with former president George W. Bush
Mark Dadswell / Getty Images

The new Big East has a new leader.

Val Ackerman, the 53-year-old former WNBA president, was officially hired as the commissioner of the revamped Big East, which is slated to begin operating as a league on July 1, on Wednesday.

“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 native of New Jersey, as reported by “Our mission is simple—to continue and enhance the Big East’s legacy of intense competition, spirited rivalries and unparalleled achievement.”

In respect to getting a new league off the ground, this is not Ackerman’s first rodeo.

Following an eight-year run working for the NBA—commencing in 1988 in which she served as a special assistant to Commissioner David Stern, director of business affairs and vice president of business affairs—Ackerman, in 1996, was named president of the newly created WNBA and helped transform and brand the league into one of the preeminent women’s professional sports organizations in the world.

“I congratulate the Big East for making such an inspired choice,” noted Stern via a press release, according to “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 analytical ability, an intense work ethic and a winning management style will help steer the historic Big East Conference to even greater heights.”

While the task at hand looms large, such is a role in which Ackerman is eager to get started.

“This will be a basketball-centric organization,” said Ackerman of the new league, whose members are Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Xavier and Villanova, as reported by “Obviously, there is quite a lot of work to do in the immediate future to get the conference fully functional…We have people to hire. We have schedules to create. We have events to stage…All I can say today is that we will do that.”


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