LAS VEGAS — As BYU departs the West Coast Conference this summer to join the Big 12, the WCC has hired a new commissioner.
Stu Jackson was introduced Monday morning during a news conference at Orleans Arena, site of the WCC tournament, which continues Monday afternoon.
Jackson becomes the conference’s fifth full-time commissioner. He will officially take over that role on April 24.
Jackson replaces Gloria Nevarez, who stepped down to become the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference last fall. Nevarez served as the WCC commissioner for almost five years.
For the past nine years, Jackson served as executive associate commissioner for the Big East conference. He managed all men’s basketball operations, including schedule optimization, NCAA Tournament advocacy, compliance, student-athlete programming and the Big East tournament. Jackson also developed a basketball-specific strategic plan that helped the Big East become one of the nation’s top basketball leagues.
The Big East has averaged more than five NCAA Tournament bids per season in the last nine years.
Jackson expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of the WCC.
”Through our discussions, it became clear we shared a commitment to build upon our existing standard of excellence for the student-athletes’ experience, while focusing on innovation to propel the conference to new heights in college basketball and all WCC intercollegiate sports,” he said.
One issue the conference is facing is the possibility of adding a member to replace BYU. With the Cougars leaving, the WCC will have nine member schools remaining.
Jackson has a wealth of experience in professional and college basketball.
Prior to his time at the Big East, Jackson served in the NBA league office for more than 13 years. Jackson was also named the first president and general manager of the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies, a position he served in from 1994 to 2000.
A 1978 graduate of Seattle University, Jackson was the head coach at Wisconsin from 1992 -94, leading the program to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 47 years.
Jackson also was the head coach of the New York Knicks from 1987-91. At age 33, he became the second-youngest coach of an NBA team in league history.
“Stu Jackson possesses the vision and values that will continue to elevate the West Coast Conference and we are thrilled to welcome him as the WCC’s new commissioner,” said Thayne McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University and chair of the WCC presidents’ council. “His wealth of leadership experience and drive stood out with the search committee among a deep pool of candidates. Stu is the perfect commissioner to lead the WCC during an important time in the national collegiate landscape.”