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Volume 22 No. 12
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Lynn Holzman, NCAA

Photo: Marcia Stubbeman / NCAA

Lynn Holzman was settled as the commissioner of the West Coast Conference, so returning to the NCAA, where she previously worked for 16 years, wasn’t something she thought about.

That was before the governing body looked her way for one of the most influential positions in college basketball.

Lynn Holzman

Vice President, Women’s Basketball, NCAA
Born: Cleveland
Education: B.S., Kansas State University; M.A., sports administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; MBA, Purdue University

As the NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball, Holzman would have the power to shape the game’s future over the next decade or two. When it was put like that, Holzman couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

She’s been in that role for eight months now, and she’s found several similarities between her current role and what she did as commissioner. It’s branding and marketing, media contracts and social media campaigns, except now they’re geared toward the greater good for women’s basketball.

Often that leads to ideas like revamping the regionals into a structure that would bring the final 16 teams to one site for a celebration of women’s basketball. Holzman is open to those discussions, as long as the benefits extend beyond more eyeballs on the event.

“If the goal is to grow attendance, that’s one thing,” Holzman said. “But will it make the games better? We have to ask that question too.”

— Michael Smith

Getting to know...

Attribute I look for when hiring: Emotional intelligence.
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet: Michele Roberts, executive director, NBPA. I am intrigued by her no nonsense and “let’s find a deal” approach. Her professionalism, intelligence, empathy and integrity comes through each time I read or hear her in an interview.
I wish I’d known at my career’s start: That doing a good job is not the only measure of success. Just as important is HOW we do our work and how we work with others and build authentic relationships.
Role of sports in social issues: I love Nelson Mandela’s statement about the tremendous impact sport can have: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”