13 days until the ACC: Let's meet John Swofford
We've all heard of John Swofford. We recognize him as the visionary commissioner of the ACC who added Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Louisville; the man who diligently cajoled league linchpin Florida State into staying; the leader who secured his conference's future with a sweeping media rights deal.
There's no doubt, 2013 has been a stellar year for Swofford. But who actually is this man, now entering his 16th year leading the ACC? What's his background, where did he come from? Let's take a brief look at our soon-to-be commissioner.
Swofford grew up in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina and attended UNC where he played quarterback and defensive back for the Tarheels. During his senior year in 1971, he won an ACC championship ring on a 9-3 squad and was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll. He graduated that same year with a B.A. in industrial relations.
After earning a M.Ed. in athletic administration from Ohio University two years later in 1973, Swofford began his career at the University of Virginia as Assistant to the Director of Athletic Facilities and Finance. He returned to his alma mater in 1976 as Assistant Athletic Director and was promoted to Athletic Director in 1980 at the age of 31. He then served in that capacity until 1997 when he was named Commissioner of the ACC - Pitt's new home in t-minus two weeks.
Since taking over the ACC's reins, Swofford has done a lot of good. He helped create the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for basketball in 1999, introduced a football championship game for the league in 2005, and strategically led the conference through the turbulence of realignment. Who knows what the future holds, but up to this point, Swofford's resume looks pretty darn impressive.