Gloria Nevarez, West Coast Conference
Gloria Nevarez moves at a quick pace. It’s a good thing because there was no time for her to sit back and take a deep breath in her first year as commissioner of the West Coast Conference.
Nevarez, a longtime administrator in the Pac-12, found her problem-solving skills challenged from her first week on the job when Gonzaga, the conference’s premier brand, decided to explore other league options. What the WCC quickly learned was that Nevarez won’t flinch in the face of pressure. She worked with the Zags on new revenue distribution and scheduling terms for them to stay in the conference.
Nevarez, the first Latin American woman to be commissioner of a Division I conference, went on to extend the WCC’s television deal with ESPN, launch a new brand campaign and close a deal for University Credit Union to title sponsor the league’s basketball tournaments, all in her first year in the commissioner’s chair.
“We want to move forward with developing more of a national brand,” Nevarez said. “I think we’re recognized regionally, but we’re still mostly known” as the conference Gonzaga is in. She hopes the new brand initiative will help the conference better establish its own identity.
“Last year was such a great story for the conference and now we’ve got to build on that,” she said. — Michael Smith