Linda Bruno, the Atlantic 10’s commissioner, announced her resignation Wednesday after 13 seasons atop the conference.
“After almost a decad and a half with the Atlantic 10, I’ve decided it’s time for new challenges,” Bruno said in a news release. “I look back on the past 13 years with pride. The league has made tremendous strides, both on the field of play and off. We have strengthened our membership, strengthened our commitment to excel and strengthened the future of the Atlantic 10.”
Bruno was hired on June 24, 1994, and has since expanded the league to 14 teams, adding Charlotte, Dayton, Saint Louis, Richmond, Fordham and La Salle. She also implemented the Commission’s Honor Roll, which recognizes all student athletes with a GPA of 3.5 or better.
“It’s a great thing for GW, even though I have a sore hand after shaking everyone’s hand,” Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz said of the honor roll at GW. “I think that’s a great accomplishment.”
In 2005, Bruno was named one of SportsBusiness Journal’s 20 most influential women in sports business. She negotiated two television contracts with ESPN and also signed a contract with College Sports Television.
During her tenure, 11 A-10 teams have earned bids to the men’s NCAA tournament, including six Colonials appearances. Women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown said he thinks Bruno has also done a lot to help his sport.
“She has strong roots in women’s basketball,” McKeown said Wednesday afternoon. “She’s been a real big supporter of our sport. She’s been a big advocate for women’s basketball.”
Bruno has not been without controversy. The commissioner has been chided by fans for not looking for more television contracts, not forcing more high-profile games and not pairing up with another conference for a yearly series of games.
“When you’re a conference commissioner, you’re at the mercy of 14 different schools with 14 different agendas. It’s tough to get people to agree. Not an easy job to have,” McKeown said.
Men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs added that he believes a lot of Bruno’s best work has been recent and thus those who criticize her have not yet had the opportunity to see how her decisions will play out.
“She’s done a fantastic job turning the league around,” Hobbs said. “Unfortunately, a lot of what she has accomplished, we won’t know how it turns out for a few years. Someone else is going to be able to take credit for her work.”
GW’s athletic department had only positive things to say about Bruno. Kvancz, McKeown and Hobbs all articulated their disappointment in her vacating the commission’s spot.
“She’s done a super job,” Kvancz said. “She must have thought it was time to move onto something else. I’ll miss a great friend.”