SBD/Issue 7/Collegiate Sports

NCAA Selects 11-Year Veteran Jim Isch As Interim President

NCAA Selects Isch
As Interim President
Jim Isch has played a largely behind-the-scenes role in his 11 years at the NCAA, but that changed this morning when he was named interim president, a position he will fill until Myles Brand's successor is selected. In making the announcement today, Michael Adams, the Univ. of Georgia President and Chair of the NCAA's Exec Committee, stressed to Isch that "this is not a housekeeping role. We will move forward on the multiplicity of goals in the NCAA's strategic plan and we won't miss many, if any, steps in the process." Isch said he was informed of the committee's decision late Monday afternoon and that it is too soon to know how visible he will be. "But I will be on the road," he added. The NCAA's primary focus will remain on academic reform, fiscal responsibility, the integration of athletics and academics, and the welfare of the student athlete. Isch said he will continue to lean on the NCAA's senior management team of Exec VP Bernard Franklin, Senior VP Greg Shaheen and VP Wally Renfro, each of whom has taken on an increased role since Brand was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January. Brand died last Wednesday afternoon. "These are very difficult circumstances we find ourselves with. Myles was a great, great leader," Isch said. "I'm humbled by the opportunity to work with the entire athletic and higher education community for the next several months. ... Dr. Adams has asked that this not be a caretaker role and I intend to move the agenda that the NCAA has been committed to." Adams added, "One of Myles' greatest successes was the building of a great national staff and that group has carried on the work of the association extremely well during the months of Myles' illness. The committee has the full confidence in Jim's ability. Several others could have led the association from this staff, but we've chosen the best person to insure that the association will continue to move forward." Adams said he and Brand did have discussions about the NCAA staff, but that the decision was the committee's alone.

ISCH'S BACKGROUND: Isch is an NCAA veteran, having joined college sports' governing body in '98 and most recently serving as CFO and Senior VP/Administration. He previously worked as a high-ranking administrator and financial chief at Arkansas, Montana State and Kansas State, his alma mater. While the 59-year-old Isch has mostly kept a low profile at the NCAA, his role has become more visible in recent years as increased spending in college athletics has become more of a lightning-rod issue. He played a lead role in the NCAA's creation of dashboard indicators, a method of data collection that allows universities to accurately compare their athletic revenue and spending with other schools.

NO NEW INFORMATION ON SEARCH: Adams offered little information on the Exec Committee's search for the next president, saying the committee is scheduled to meet on October 29. "We will have a broad, open, national search for anyone who wishes to apply," Adams said. The NCAA's Exec Committee is made up of presidents, chancellors and athletic directors.

Age: 59
•  NCAA title: Interim President, CFO, SVP/Administration
Joined NCAA: 1998
Previous jobs: 1994-98 -- Vice chancellor/finance, administration, Univ. of Arkansas; 1986-94 -- VP/administration, Montana State Univ.; 1977-86 -- Assistant VP/budgets, other roles, Kansas State Univ.
Education: bachelors, doctorate, Kansas State Univ.; MBA, Boston Univ.
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