When the WNBA launched in the summer of 1997, the new league needed a team behind the scenes that was going to be just as strong as the teams on the court. Val Ackerman, a veteran staff-attorney-turned-vice-president at the NBA, was the obvious choice to serve as the WNBA’s first commissioner. As she laid the groundwork for what was to become the most successful women’s professional sports league in history, she understood the importance of building something that was sustainable, as well as remarkable. The WNBA thrived as Ackerman guided the league through television contracts, collective bargaining, sponsorships, expansion, and championships. In 2005, Ackerman became the first female president of USA Basketball. Success came in the form of men’s and women’s gold medals at the 2008 Olympics. In 2013, Ackerman needed a new challenge and she found one in the revamped Big East Conference. The former Division I standout at the University of Virginia again assumed the leadership role of a new startup. Her hard work and dedication have helped the Big East recapture the glory of days gone by.
BornNovember 07, 1959 Lakewood Township, NJ
OF USA BASKETBALL
OF THE BIG EAST
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD