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Big East taps former WNBA president Val Ackerman as its first commissioner

Newly appointed Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman pictured here with former U.S. President George W. Bush at a preliminary basketball game between the United States and Czech Republic at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images) Val Ackerman (left) is the newly appointed Big East Commissioner. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

The Big East announced on Wednesday that it has named former WNBA president Val Ackerman as its first commissioner, days before it officially becomes a new conference, according to a report from ESPN's Andy Katz.

The appointment was made known on Tuesday night to the schools in the newly aligned conference, which is now comprised of: Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, St. John's, Marquette, DePaul, Creighton (Missouri Valley), Butler and Xavier.

Ackerman, 53, served as the first president of the WNBA, holding the position from 1996-2005. A former basketball player at Virginia, Ackerman holds a law degree from UCLA and once worked as a staff attorney for the NBA. She has also been involved in USA women's basketball, serving as the first female president of USA Basketball from 2005-08. She also serves on the board of USA Basketball and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

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She was in Switzlerland this week for FIBA conferences but is due back in the U.S. this weekend. Ackerman had been writing a report for the NCAA on how to increase the popularity of women's basketball, which could include changes to scoring and scheduling.

Among the candidates for the job were Tim Brosnan, executive vice president of Major League Baseball and Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham, a graduate of Providence College.

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