Western Athletic Conference names Brian Thornton next commissioner

DENVER -- The Western Athletic Conference has named Brian Thornton as its next commissioner.

Thornton will replace Jeff Hurd, who is ending a 10-year run as commissioner and 37 years overall with the conference on Dec. 31.

"I would like to start by thanking Jeff Hurd for his incredible 30-plus years of dedicated service to the WAC," Grand Canyon University president Brian Mueller said in a statement on Thursday. "He has always been there through the good and the challenging times. Brian is the perfect person to take the rebuilt WAC forward. His knowledge of NCAA athletics and his strong strategic view of the future is very impressive, and we all look forward to building a very bright future together."

Thornton spent the past year as the American Athletic Conference associate commissioner for basketball, serving as the primary administrator for men's and women's basketball. He spent the previous two years as an assistant director for basketball development with the NCAA.

Thornton was the two-time Atlantic-10 student-athlete of the year while playing basketball at Xavier. He started his college career at Vanderbilt and played professionally in the German Basketball Bundesliga.