clearn.png
Wednesday June 26th, 2019 10:58PM

Big Ten taps Vikings' Kevin Warren as new commissioner

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Kevin Warren keeps a picture in his office of Curt Flood. There's another of Jackie Robinson, one of Texas Western's barrier-bulldozing 1966 NCAA championship basketball team and Dr. Martin Luther King's letter from "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

Warren understood the significance of the moment Tuesday as he became the first black commissioner of a Power Five conference. The Big Ten hired the Minnesota Vikings executive to replace Jim Delany, bringing on a former college basketball player and sports agent with a law degree from Notre Dame to lead one of the most lucrative leagues in the country.

"It's really about diversity, inclusion and it really is about opportunity," Warren said. "One of the things I will stand for here is to make sure regardless of your background — regardless of your race, color, creed, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation — this will be a place from an exclusive standpoint that we will embrace everyone and give everyone an opportunity to be the best they can be."

He will start Sept. 16 and work alongside Delany, who will step down Jan. 1 from the job he has held since 1989. The 71-year-old Delany announced his decision to step away earlier this year. At the time, he planned to stay on until June 30, 2020.

It's not the first pioneering role for the 55-year-old Warren. He has been the chief operating officer for the Vikings since 2015, the first African-American to hold that position for an NFL franchise. And now comes another milestone among the Power Five, which includes the Southeastern, Pac-12, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast conferences.

"Do I think about it every single day? Yes," Warren said. "But I also remember it provides me with an opportunity to make sure that I send the elevator back down to give people who — other people may not have given an opportunity to people who look like me — to remember that. And to make sure that I perform at the highest possible level to open up the door to the next person regardless of their color."

Indiana President Michael McRobbie said the Big Ten considered more than 60 candidates. He would not say how many were interviewed. But there were multiple meetings with Warren, with the decision to hire him made on Sunday. Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf had nothing but praise for Warren.

"He has worked tirelessly to elevate the Vikings franchise, all with the greater good of the organization and Minneapolis-St. Paul in mind," the Wilfs said in a statement. Warren said he and the Vikings haven't decided on his end date in Minnesota. The owners said they would work with Warren on "how we want to move forward."

Warren became emotional during the news conference, particularly when discussing his parents as well as the late SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

He recalled a mutual friend arranging a meeting with Slive in the early 1990s at The Palmer House in Chicago — the famed hotel where the Big Ten was born and brownies invented in the 1890s. By the time he drove back to South Bend, Indiana, Slive had left a message on his answering machine offering him a job at his legal firm, where he started working on NCAA infractions cases.

Warren also remembered the tough obstacles he faced just to get back to walking let alone playing sports again after he got run over by a car. Just 11 years old, the kid who grew up in Phoenix was riding his bike with friends that summer day.

He heard paramedics say he might not make it but he wound up in traction and then a body cast with a broken right femur to go with a fractured wrist. As he was preparing to leave the hospital, a doctor told him swimming would give him the best shot at recovery, though the odds were not good.

Warren persuaded his parents to use some of his $30,000 settlement to install a pool in the backyard, arguing that community pools aren't open every day and they might not always be able to take him there. The future lawyer made such a strong case they had one built for $11,000, a life-changing decision for their son.

Along with the physical benefits from all those hours in the pool, whether he was swimming laps or playing "Marco Polo," there was this.

"When you actually pay for something, you appreciate it more," said Warren, who saved his mangled Schwinn until the movers threw it away after his father died. "For me at 11 years old, to formally write the check on something like that ... That made me mature at a really young age. And it saved my life."

Warren attended the University of Pennsylvania out of high school, but transferred to Grand Canyon University, where he scored 1,118 points. After earning an MBA from Arizona State and that law degree, he worked as a sports agent throughout the 1990s. Warren has been working in the NFL for 20 years, doing stints with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions before settling in with the Vikings in 2005.

He will take over a sprawling conference that stretches from Rutgers and Maryland to Nebraska.

Delany helped the Big Ten grow to 14 schools, launched the first athletic conference television network, BTN, and helped create the first College Football Playoff while maintaining the conference's ties to the Rose Bowl. League revenues soared under his leadership. He negotiated TV deals worth billions that in 2018 produced $51 million for Michigan alone.

Despite the financial successes, the conference has lagged a bit at least when it comes to national championships in the highest profile sports. No Big Ten men's basketball team has won it all since Michigan State in 2000, and the only football titles belong to Ohio State in 2002 and 2014. The SEC has 11 football championships in that span.

Conventional wisdom was the Big Ten would hire someone with current ties to the conference and college sports. The selection of Warren came as a surprise because he has neither.

"I'm ready for the challenge. I'm excited. I'm energized," he said. "But most of all, I'm grateful."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Business, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - NFL, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump administration halts cruises to Cuba under new rules
The Trump administration has ended the most popular forms of U.S. travel to Cuba, banning cruise ships and a heavily used category of educational travel
6:37PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Florida deputy charged for inaction during Parkland shooting
The Florida deputy who knew a gunman was loose at the Parkland high school but refused to go inside to confront the assailant has been arrested on 11 criminal charges related to his inaction
6:34PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Woman who lifted Arizona mosque items gets probation
A woman who made derogatory comments about Muslims as she and a friend lifted Qurans and other items from an Arizona mosque was sentenced to two years of probation for her criminal damage conviction
6:29PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trash-talking Bell feels 'so good' in Jets practice debut
Le'Veon Bell practices with New York Jets for the first time since signing with them in March
5:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
With Chara hurt, Bruins need help on D in Stanley Cup Game 5
Chara to be checked in Boston, no word on Cup Game 5 status vs Blues
5:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Vegas, baby! SEC, Big Ten to share bowl spot in new stadium
Vegas, baby! SEC, Big Ten to share bowl spot in new stadium
4:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Big 10 taps Vikings' Kevin Warren as new commissioner
Big Ten hires Minnesota Vikings executive Kevin Warren as new commissioner
12:26PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Source: Panthers agree to terms with DT Gerald McCoy
A person familiar with the situation says the Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms with six-time Pro Bowl free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on a one-year contract worth up to $10.25 million with incentives.
7:38PM ( 23 hours ago )
Goodell reiterates desire to shorten 4-game preseason
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is reiterating his stance in wanting to reduce the four-game preseason schedule at a time the league and players' association have begun preliminary talks on a new collective bargaining agreement
5:07PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Michigan heating up at right time, moves to super regionals
Michigan heating up after barely making NCAA Tournament, advances to super regionals
1:43AM ( 17 hours ago )
Thompson questionable for Game 3, Looney out indefinitely
Golden State guard Klay Thompson has a mild strain in his left hamstring that forced him out of Game 2 in the NBA Finals and he is listed as questionable for Game 3 against the Toronto Raptors
11:36PM ( 19 hours ago )
Kawhi Leonard sues Nike over rights to his logo
Toronto star Kawhi Leonard files federal lawsuit against Nike over logo
9:05PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Oklahoma St., Louisville win, head to NCAA super regionals
Oklahoma State and Louisville on their way to super regionals in the NCAA Tournament
10:28PM ( 20 hours ago )
Martin's Seminoles keep going; Nos. 3, 4 national seeds out
Seminoles keep Mike Martin's final season going; Nos. 3 and 4 national seeds out of NCAA Tournament
1:26AM ( 1 day ago )
2018 champ Beavers are out; Langeliers' 11 RBIs set record
Defending national champion Oregon St. knocked out; Langeliers sets record with 11 RBIs
1:53AM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Judge: Doctor testimony not needed in Missouri abortion case
A St. Louis judge has ruled that testimony from non-staff doctors at Missouri's only abortion clinic will not be necessary for a hearing that will determine if the clinic can remain open
5:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump eases up, makes nice with May before she steps down
President Donald Trump is easing up on his frequent criticism of outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May over her handling of the tortured Brexit deal
5:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Renault delays decision on Fiat Chrysler marriage proposal
French carmaker Renault delays decision on Fiat Chrysler merger offer
5:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Big 12 leaders: Flexibility is sign of strength for future
Big 12 revenues are up again and expected to surpass $40 million per school annually before the current media rights deal runs out in about five years
2:57PM ( 4 days ago )
3 ex-UCLA football players sue school over injuries
3 former University of California, Los Angeles football players are suing the school, alleging they suffered concussions and other injuries that worsened because they were forced to play instead of receiving proper treatment
12:20AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Top 25 Podcast: Texas HS hires Art Briles ... Why?
Former Baylor coach Art Briles returns to coaching football in US, landing gig at mid-sized East Texas high school
2:02PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
The Latest: Bruins, Blues take Game 2 to OT tied 2-2
The latest from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between Boston and St. Louis
10:55PM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: Tarasenko back for Blues in 2-2 game vs Bruins
The latest from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between Boston and St. Louis
9:42PM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: Bruins' Grzelcyk doesn't return after Blues hit
The latest from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between Boston and St. Louis
9:21PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Winners and losers of the NBA's draft withdrawal deadline
Ohio State and Louisville among the teams to benefit most players opting to withdraw from the NBA draft
4:30PM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: D-II, D-III players exploring NBA draft options
Several college basketball players from lower divisions are among the 233 early entrants in the NBA draft
4:31PM ( 6 days ago )
The Latest: NCAA lower divisions to evaluate new agent rule
The NCAA has says Division II and Division III schools will evaluate the new rule that allows college basketball players to sign with agents but maintain college eligibility while declaring for the NBA draft
2:38PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Trump administration halts cruises to Cuba under new rules
The Trump administration has ended the most popular forms of U.S. travel to Cuba, banning cruise ships and a heavily used category of educational travel
6:37PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Florida deputy charged for inaction during Parkland shooting
The Florida deputy who knew a gunman was loose at the Parkland high school but refused to go inside to confront the assailant has been arrested on 11 criminal charges related to his inaction
6:34PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Woman who lifted Arizona mosque items gets probation
A woman who made derogatory comments about Muslims as she and a friend lifted Qurans and other items from an Arizona mosque was sentenced to two years of probation for her criminal damage conviction
6:29PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Tacitus favored in Belmont; Preakness winner 2nd choice
Tacitus was made the slight favorite over Preakness winner War of Will in a Belmont Stakes that wraps up a whacky Triple Crown
6:24PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Slain Utah girl remembered for her kindness, love of nature
A 5-year-old Utah girl who authorities say was killed last month by her uncle has been remembered as a kind, patient child who loved walking barefoot through tall grass
6:23PM ( 29 minutes ago )