SBJ/20100823/This Week's News

What they're saying ...

“He’s the E.F. Hutton of the place. Tom is the most powerful, quiet force in college sports, and quiet by choice. He speaks volumes with his quiet, measured approach to anything he’s involved in. That’s reflected in the variety of initiatives and projects that bear his fingerprints, everything from the corporate marketing program to the inclusion of women’s championships to the overtime format in college football — a lot of things that most people don’t know about.”

— Greg Shaheen, executive vice president, NCAA

“Tom offered tremendous behind-the-scenes guidance to NCAA presidents. The tournament is obviously the crown jewel in his accomplishments, but he also was a great ambassador of college basketball and he made enormous contributions in other ways to the association.”

— Mike Aresco, CBS Sports

“If you picked up the phone and called Tom at 5:45 in the afternoon and didn’t get him, he’d call you back in five minutes. You don’t always see that kind of membership focus. That’s been lost in a lot of industries.”

— Jon LeCrone, commissioner, Horizon League

“Tom’s been the soul of the NCAA and the soul of the basketball tournament. He was like a beacon of light that illuminated the path of the basketball committee.”

— Laing Kennedy, former Kent State AD and committee member

“When you look back at the names who chaired the basketball committee — Vic Bubas, Dave Gavitt, Tom Butters, Jim Delany — you’re talking about some very, very strong personalities and accomplished people. But the one constant has been Tom. He kept everyone’s sanity, he reminded everyone to keep the focus on the players and he kept it clean of too much commercialism. He just understood the tournament in a way no one else did and then transferred that to the committee members.”

— C.M. Newton, chairman, NIT

“Tom had such a focus on serving the membership that many nights he would go home for dinner, eat and then go back to the office. He never lost focus that the NCAA was a membership organization.”

— Jim Host, Jernstedt’s longtime friend and the NCAA’s first marketing partner

— Compiled by Michael Smith

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