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Volume 21 No. 35
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In The Office: Val Ackerman, Big East Conference

Photo: patrick e. mccarthy

The Big East Conference’s marquee event, its men’s basketball tournament, tips off this week at Madison Square Garden with Commissioner Val Ackerman at the helm for the fifth year. Ackerman has established herself as one of the most influential figures in sports business and the mementos around her office in New York tell that story. 

Not only is she a valued member of the basketball community from her days as the WNBA commissioner, but she also has served as a guiding voice in soccer, hockey and any number of national organizations. Perhaps her greatest feat, however, was relaunching the new Big East after realignment had decimated the league, which became born again as a basketball-centric conference that could compete and thrive without football. 

Jersey gift at the end of her term as USA Basketball president.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Ackerman points to the photo of a jersey presentation at the inaugural Gavitt Games in 2015.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Soccer ball from the 1999 Women’s World Cup, with Ackerman serving on the board.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Basketballs with special meaning: Signed ball when she left the WNBA in 2005, the 1992 Dream Team, and from Villanova’s championship in 2016.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Ackerman meets with two senior staffers, Vince Nicastro (left) and Chris Schneider.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Ackerman’s 2008 John Bunn Award for outstanding lifetime contributions to basketball.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
The kitchen space, “Big Eats,” shows the names of dining halls across the conference, as well as important advice.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
A Creighton University Doug McDermott bobblehead.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
The large framed print of Madison Square Garden is a collage saluting the Big East tournament’s 25th anniversary in 2007.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
March of Dimes achievement award from 1997.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Ackerman at her desk in a 7th floor corner office in midtown Manhattan. Total office space exceeds 13,000 square feet.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
“Welcome to Friartown” jersey from Providence College.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy
Keepsakes from the 2011 and 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championships.
Photo: patrick e. mccarthy