I had heard that the Pac-10 might go with an unconventional selection in picking a new commissioner to replace Tom Hansen, and they did.
John McGrath takes an upbeat look in this morning's paper.
Here's the announcment:
The Pacific-10 Conference named Larry Scott,
Chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), its new commissioner, effective July 1, 2009. Scott becomes the sixth commissioner of the Pac-10, succeeding Tom Hansen who is set to retire
after 26 years in the role.
Since joining the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2003, Scott has engineered the turnaround of women's professional tennis, increasing the popularity of the sport across the world. A former tennis All-American at Harvard, Scott is credited as the architect behind the largest-ever sponsorship in women's sports, a six-year, $88-million title
sponsorship agreement with Sony Ericsson. He also led the WTA in its development of the largest television agreements in women's tennis history spanning viewership both in the U.S. and abroad.
"While it is difficult to replace a leader like Tom Hansen who has served the conference for more than 26 years, we are extremely pleased with the tremendous response we received to the national search," said John Hennessy, president of Stanford University and head of the executive committee. "We considered a very impressive group of candidates, and Larry Scott was clearly the most qualified and
innovative leader for the Pac-10."
The Pac-10 dates back to 1915 when four schools - the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University
of Oregon, and Oregon State College – formed the conference. Now with 10 member institutions, the Pac-10 ranks first in NCAA Championships with 159 over the past 18 years and has finished with more NCAA titles than any other conference in 42 of the last 48 years, earning titles in more than 26 different men's and women's sports.
"I'm excited to pursue this very unique opportunity to be involved in a broad range of men's and women's sports at the college level and
balancing the priorities of student-athletes with the commercial needs of the conference," said Scott, who will move from Florida to Northern
California. "It's an exciting opportunity for me to apply my broad range of leadership skills in sports management, marketing, effective positioning of an organization to international and national audiences, and being an advocate on behalf of our sports."
Since the NCAA began conducting women's championships 27 years ago, Pac-10 schools have claimed at least four national titles in a single
season on 19 separate occasions. Overall, the Pac-10 has captured 113 NCAA women's crowns, 30 more than any other conference. That said, Scott's experience in women's athletics will be especially relevant.
Scott is credited with being a vocal and effective advocate for women's athletes, helping WTA members earn equal pay in major tennis tournaments around the world for the first time in 100 years.
"Our search committee was most impressed with Larry's broad range of leadership experiences in both men's and women's sports, as well as his extensive success in representing the commercial interest of men's and women's tennis," said Bob Bowlsby, athletic director of Stanford and head of the search committee. "He was the architect of a highly effective turnaround of women's tennis over the last six years and created a compelling vision that has served the sport and its athletes extremely well. We are also very pleased to bring on such a great advocate for both men's and women's sports."
Under Scott's leadership, the WTA secured television partnerships with the major US networks and renewed its international television partnership with Eurosport, which broadcasts women's tennis to 54 countries and more than 104 million homes. Scott's career in tennis began as a professional tennis player on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) circuit, where he played for three years and won one tournament. Scott then spent a decade in leadership and senior management positions within the ATP, serving in the posts of Chief Operating Officer, President of ATP Properties and Executive Vice President of the International Group.
The University of Washington released this reaction from athletic director Scott Woodward:
"I think the future of the Pac-10 Conference is in good hands with the hiring of Larry Scott as its new commissioner. It is imperative that we continue to pursue ways to maximize the profile of the conference and keep the welfare of our student-athletes on the forefront of what we do. The Pac-10 maintains tremendously successful programs, develops some of the world's top athletes and, as a group, maintains an exceptional academic profile. Larry understands that maximizing revenue is a critical factor in our ability to provide a first-class student-athlete experience. He certainly has a handful of challenges ahead of him, but I share President Emmert's confidence that Larry is the right person to lead the Pac-10 forward."