Val Ackerman Honored As 2013 USA Basketball Edward S. Steitz Award Winner
An historic and successful sports executive, current Commissioner of the Big East Conference and former USA Basketball and WNBA president, Val Ackerman has been selected by USA Basketball as the 2013 recipient of the Edward S. Steitz Award. The Edward S. Steitz Award recognizes an individual for her or his outstanding contributions to international basketball. Ackerman will receive her award at a reception on July 24 during the USA Basketball annual assembly in Las Vegas, Nev.
The award is named in memory of Edward S. Steitz, a longtime director of athletics at Springfield College, who was recognized worldwide as an authority on the rules of basketball. Steitz was an original architect and a past president (1969-74 and 1980-84) of USA Basketball predecessors, the Basketball Federation of the USA (BFUSA) and the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America (ABAUSA).
Selected the first and still to date only female president of USA Basketball, Ackerman was president for the 2005-08 quadrennium and oversaw the United States’ capturing of two Olympic basketball gold medals. Additionally, she has served on the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) Central Board since 2006.
Ackerman, who on June 26, 2013, was named commissioner of the newly formed Big East Conference, also recently worked as a consultant to the NCAA championships staff and conducted a comprehensive assessment of the women’s basketball game.
Edward S. Steitz
“USA Basketball is proud to recognize Val Ackerman for her tremendous contributions to USA Basketball for over two decades,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “She has been a leader in the U.S. and international sports community, and I personally appreciate her support and involvement throughout the years.”
A native of New Jersey, Ackerman graduated first in her class from Hopewell Valley Central High School in Hopewell Township, N.J., where she set the school’s then-record for points by any basketball player with 1,755, and the school’s career field hockey scoring record. She was inducted into the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association in 1997.
A four-year starter, three-year captain and an Academic All-American in 1978 and 1979 on the women’s basketball team at the University of Virginia, Ackerman graduated from Virginia in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in political and social thought. She also played professional basketball in France for one season.
After earning a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, Ackerman worked for two years at the law firm of Simpson Thacker & Bartlett in New York.
She took a position as a staff attorney with the NBA in 1988, and went on to serve in the NBA as special assistant to David Stern, director of business affairs and vice president of business affairs before accepting the position of WNBA president on Aug. 7, 1996. Ackerman served in the position for nine years (1996-2005) and stepped down on Feb. 1, 2005. She became the first female to successfully launch and run a professional women’s sports franchise that lasted at least eight years, and now is in the midst of its 17th season.
While at the NBA, Ackerman also was an advocate for the historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team that compiled an overall 60-0 record and won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
A member of the USA Basketball Board of Directors starting in 1989, Ackerman took the reigns as USA Basketball president from 2005-08. As USA Basketball president she oversaw the restructuring of the USA Basketball Board of Directors and gold medal performances by the men’s and women’s basketball teams at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. During her time as USA Basketball president, USA Basketball teams compiled a striking 222-23 overall record in international basketball competitions.
Ackerman serves on the Board of Governors for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Board of Directors for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the Board of Directors for the Virginia Athletics Foundation.
In 2008, Ackerman received the International Olympic Committee’s Women of Distinction diploma and the John Bunn lifetime achievement award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2011, she was inducted in to the Women’s Basketball of Fame.
Additionally, Ackerman is an adjunct professor in the graduate sports management program at Columbia University and a contributing columnist for ESPNW.
Some of her many awards and recognitions include: The Sports Business Journal Champions Award, Brandweek Co-Marketer of the Year, the University of Virginia Distinguished Alumna Award, induction into the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame and International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award and the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Past recipients of the Edward S. Steitz Award include: the late Clifford Fagan (1964-1969 BFUSA, 1973-1977 ABAUSA president and Basketball Hall of Fame president); Dave Gavitt (1980 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team head coach and 1989-1992 USA Basketball president); Russ Granik, (1996-2000USA Basketball president and former deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the NBA); Tom Jernstedt (USA Basketball V.P. for Men, board member, V.P. and President, 1976-2004); George Killian (1976-80 ABAUSA president, 1990-98 president of FIBA and 1969-2004 executive director of the NJCAA); Jenaro “Tuto” Marchand (FIBA Americas Secretary General 1993-2006 and FIBA's Vice President 1980-1985); C.M. Newton (FIBA Central Board member, 1984 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team assistant coach and 1993-1996 USA Basketball president); Lea Plarski (1980-84 ABAUSA vice president for women and 1990-96 president of the NJCAA); Borislav Stankovic (1976-2002 secretary general of FIBA); and William Wall (past USA Basketball and ABAUSA executive director, 1974-1992).
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
During the 2009-12 quadrennium, 1,273 male and female players and 235 coaches participated in USA Basketball, including USA Basketball teams and trials, and USA Basketball 3x3 FIBA championships. USA Basketball men's and women's teams between 2009-12 compiled an impressive 264-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games.
USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics; men's and women's FIBA World Championships (Basketball World Cup); men’s and women’s FIBA U19 World Championship; men's and women's FIBA U17 World Championships; men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships; FIBA 3x3 Women's World Championship; and FIBA 3x3 Women's U18 World Championship. USA Basketball also currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world-ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.
For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official Web site of USA Basketball at http://www.usabasketball.com and connect with us on https://www.facebook.com/usabasketball,
https://twitter.com/usabasketball and http://www.youtube.com/usab.