INDIANAPOLIS -- University of Washington president Mark A.
Emmert became the NCAA's new chief executive on Tuesday, ending the
search that began in November.
Emmert succeeds Myles Brand, who died last September from
pancreatic cancer. Brand was the first ex-university president to
lead college sports' largest governing body and the first chief
executive to die in office. Jim Isch has served as interim
president since Sept. 22 and will continue to do so for the next
Emmert will begin his duties Nov. 1. NCAA officials said Emmert
was given a five-year contract.
It was a surprise choice.
The early front-runners were University of Hartford president
Walter Harrison, Georgia president Michael Adams and NCAA executive
But the NCAA decided to go in a different direction, opting for
a man they thought could deliver the organization's message
effectively in any venue.
Executive committee chairman Ed Ray, the Oregon president who
knew Emmert from his days at Washington, said the initial list of
nearly 100 candidates was whittled to 32, then to a handful of
finalists who were interviewed Tuesday afternoon.
At about 5 p.m. central time, Ray called Emmert and offered
him the job.
Emmert became Washington's 30th president in June 2004. He is
one of the highest-paid public college presidents in the nation. He
came to Seattle from LSU, where he was chancellor.
A native of Fife, Wash., he graduated from Washington in 1975
with a degree in political science. He received his master's degree
in 1976 and his doctorate in 1983, both in public administration
from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
He also has a passion for sports.
In an interview with The Associated Press this month, Emmert
said Washington's performance in the NCAA basketball tournaments
was one of the highlights of his year.
"That was a pleasure and a delight to watch," he said.
When asked about suggestions by some that participation the NCAA
tournament should include an academic requirement, Emmert bragged
about the academic abilities of Washington's student-athletes. He
said most of the university's athletes outperform the rest of the
student body academically.
Emmert has been a master at building alumni support and
fundraising. During his tenure, the university completed its most
successful fundraising campaign in history, raising more than $2.68