ACC names Northwestern AD Jim Phillips new commissioner

accNorthwestern University Athletics Director Jim Phillips has been tapped by the ACC to take over as the conference’s next commissioner.

Today’s announcement follows a nationwide search facilitated by the conference’s Board of Directors, with support from its athletic directors, senior women administrators, faculty athletic representatives and student-athletes, as well as Turnkey Search, one of sports and entertainment’s premier talent recruitment/executive search firms.

Phillips succeeds John Swofford, head of the ACC since 1997, who earlier this year announced he would retire in 2021 after spending nearly 25 years as ACC commissioner.

“Jim is one of the most talented athletic administrators in the country and uniquely qualified to successfully and seamlessly take over the helm of the ACC,” says ACC Board Chair Kent Syverud, from Syracuse University. “Over the course of nearly 13 years, Jim has elevated and cemented Northwestern’s position as an outstanding Power 5 athletics program. Northwestern’s ascension in the world of intercollegiate athletics is a testament to Jim’s vision, leadership and foundational dedication to the success of student-athletes. The ACC is fortunate to have someone of Jim’s caliber and integrity lead the conference at this pivotal moment in intercollegiate athletics.”

Phillips will assume the role of ACC Commissioner in February.

“With overwhelming gratitude to ACC Board of Directors chair Kent Syverud, search advisory committee co-chairs Nathan Hatch and Fr. John Jenkins, and the Conference’s 15 member institutions, I accept this humbling invitation to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference,” said Phillips. “Serving Northwestern student-athletes, staff and the greater Wildcats family for the last 13 years has been the privilege of my professional life. The opportunity to watch my children grow up in my hometown, and work alongside leaders like presidents Henry Bienen and Morty Schapiro, as well as board chairs Pat Ryan, Bill Osborn and Lanny Martin, is something I’ll always be profoundly thankful for. My career has been dedicated to the development and betterment of student-athletes, and I am thrilled for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to guide one of the most prestigious and accomplished athletic organizations in the world.”


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