Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen will step down on July 1, 2009. Here's our story from today's paper.
Hansen took over at the Pac-10's fifth commissioner on July 1, 1983. That gives him the longest reign of any Division I commissioner.... ever.
He said he decided to retire now because he has just turned 70, and that the travel the job requires has become less enjoyable. Also, he said the timing works well because the Pac-10 had four more years on its TV contracts, two more years on its bowl contracts and four more years on its men's baseball tournament contract, so his successor will be able to break into the job a bit before facing any of those big issues.
As for the other big issues -- things like league expansion or the embrace of a football playoff system -- Hansen said those are decisions made by school presidents, not the league commissioner, and he doesn't expect the Pac-10's skepticism on those issues to change with a new face in his office.
I spoke to him Monday afternoon, and he said this is what he's most proud of:
"First, the great competitive record. … I'm particularly proud of the inauguration and great success of our women's programs -- I guess that was mid-80s we started that. The expansion of our televisions programs … that was something I'm very proud of. Establishing a good bowl lineup, that was something I'm very proud of. I'm also very proud of having been one of the founders and guiding administrators of the BCS because I think it's been one of the great success stories that's been very very positive for both the regular season and the bowl system, which I think is a marvelous thing for college football in that it gives some 6,000 young people a chance to have a postseason experience."
Hansen said the league presidents already have begun looking for his successor. A list of candidates will be created his summer, interviews could take place in the fall, and the new commissioner could be in place before Hansen leaves office.
(The only name I had heard no longer seems in play: Kevin White -- who recently left Notre Dame to become AD at Duke.)