ACC Commissioner John Swofford stepping down after 24 years

When John Swofford became commissioner of the Atlantic Coastline Meeting in 1997, the league was basketball-centric and North Carolina-focused.

In the 23 decades due to the fact, the meeting has grown into a 15-college behemoth spanning 10 states. Swofford introduced steadiness and unity to the ACC at a time when it appeared vulnerable, producing a meeting that could prosper in a soccer-dominated college sports landscape.

”Certainly, John Swofford oversaw and productively navigated the Atlantic Coastline Meeting through the most extraordinary era of adjust in its storied historical past,” Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyewski reported.

The ACC introduced Thursday the 2020-21 academic year will be Swofford’s final as commissioner. The seventy one-year-aged will continue in the position until eventually his successor is in location and aid with the changeover. Swofford reported he and his spouse, Nora, experienced been preparing for ”some time” for this be his last year.

A previous soccer player and athletic director at North Carolina, Swofford’s 24-year run as commissioner will be the longest in the historical past of the 67-year-aged meeting.

”It has been a privilege to be a aspect of the ACC for more than five decades and my regard and appreciation for people linked with the league during its historical past is immeasurable,” reported Swofford, a native of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. ”There are rapid problems that encounter not only college athletics, but our total state, and I will continue to do my incredibly best to aid tutorial the meeting in these unparalleled moments through the remainder of my tenure.”

Swofford succeeded Gene Corrigan as commissioner. At the time, practically fifty percent the conference’s 9 colleges were being all inside a number of miles of one a different in North Carolina.

The ACC grew to 12 groups and additional a soccer championship match by 2005 it achieved 15 colleges by 2013 with the addition of Notre Dame.

”I imagine that John’s moves for the ACC were being totally the correct moves. To shift toward a soccer lifestyle, a soccer set of institutions that could compare with any of the conferences in the state,” reported previous Huge Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who performed basketball at North Carolina and graduated in 1970, a year before Swofford.

The meeting also launched a television network final August, a project that Swofford put in decades pursuing as the ACC hoped to close the money gap with its Power Five meeting peers.

He performed a pivotal position in the improvement of the School Soccer Playoff, and was an early supporter of an expanded postseason to crown a champion together with late previous Southeastern Meeting Commissioner Mike Slive.

Five decades before huge realignment swept throughout college sports, Swofford and the ACC moved to fortify the meeting. The additions of Boston School, Miami and Virginia Tech pushed the ACC to 12 groups, but also broken the rival Huge East. The ACC later on lured much more groups out of the Huge East, bringing in Pittsburgh, Syracuse as effectively as Notre Dame, while not in soccer.

Swofford crafted a standing for springing substantial moves, seemingly out of nowhere soon after meticulous preparing and preparation experienced been completed powering the scenes. His retirement announcement was no different Swofford informed meeting leaders throughout a conference Thu
rsday morning.

”One of the matters I have often admired about John is he by no means produced it about John,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick reported. ”That’s a true management strength of his.”

Even with the additions by 2013, there was speculation about the ACC shedding colleges at that time. In the end, only Maryland departed (Huge Ten). The ACC additional Louisville for the 2014-15 season to fill the void.

”If you could wind the clock back, and give them that hand, it is difficult to consider a person coming out with a much better outcome than John generated,” Swarbrick reported.

ACC basketball continued to prosper beneath Swofford and he expanded its reach, going the league’s custom-abundant basketball event out of its regular North Carolina home in Greensboro to spots these as Washington, D.C., and New York.

His motivation to broaden the conference’s manufacturer normally drew criticism, but he was equipped to equilibrium the different demands of new members and aged members, soccer colleges and basketball colleges in a way that held the peace – at least publicly.

The ACC Network was aspect of an extended media deal with ESPN that operates through the 2035-36 season and included a grant-of-rights that can help bind meeting members monetarily and safeguards the league from upcoming realignment.

All through Swofford’s tenure, the ACC gained ninety two staff national championships in 19 of the league’s 27 sponsored sports. That included eight national men’s basketball championships in between Duke, UNC, Maryland and Virginia, as effectively as 4 soccer national titles split in between Florida Condition and Clemson.

AP Sports activities Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed.

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