AWSM staff report
AWSM would like to welcome Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman as a featured speaker for its upcoming 2014 convention in Orlando, Fla., May 22-25.
Ackerman was named commissioner of the Big East conference in June 2014 and was tasked with leading the new basketball-centric Big East in a collegiate sports world that is increasingly dominated by football.
“We think we’ve got the best basketball mind in the country at the helm of our basketball-centric conference,” Providence College president Brian J. Shanley told reporters on a conference call when Ackerman’s appointment was first announced. “We were also drawn to Val because she’s done a start-up before — the WNBA. We consider ourselves a little bit of a startup as we reboot this new Big East.”
Ackerman has never shied away from pioneering ventures.
She’s best known for her eight-year tenure as the founding president of the WNBA, and she was also the first female president of USA Basketball.
The Pennington, N.J., native played basketball at the University of Virginia and was one of the Cavaliers’ first female student-athletes on scholarship.
After graduating from Virginia in 1981, Ackerman played professional basketball in France for a year before attending law school at UCLA.
She joined the NBA as a staff attorney in 1988.