GREENSBORO, N.C. (WFXR) — John Swofford, the longest-serving commissioner for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced on Thursday his retirement after 24 years of service.
In a statement from the ACC, Swofford said the 2020-21 athletic year would be his last, though he will continue in the Commissioner’s chair until someone else takes over the position.
During his time of service in the conference, the league expanded from nine to 15 members beginning with Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004, then Boston College and later Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville. He played an important role in the College Football Playoff and became a leading advocate for NCAA legislation that allows Autonomy 5 conference to address the needs of institutions and their athletes. Additionally, he helped develop the Big Ten Challenge and the ACC Football Championship Game.
During his tenure, he hired the league’s first full-time women’s basketball administrator, started the ACC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and implemented the annual ACC Mental Health and Wellness Summit.
According to the ACC, Swofford’s teams won more ACC and NCAA championships than any other athletic director in ACC history.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the ACC for over five decades and my respect and appreciation for those associated with the league throughout its history is immeasurable. Having been an ACC student-athlete, athletics director and commissioner has been an absolute honor. There are immediate challenges that face not only college athletics, but our entire country, and I will continue to do my very best to help guide the conference in these unprecedented times through the remainder of my tenure. Nora and I have been planning for this to be my last year for some time and I look forward to enjoying the remarkable friendships and memories I’ve been blessed with long after I leave this chair.”John Swofford, ACC Commissioner
In college, Swofford was the MVP for three different sports, as well as the all-state quarterback at the University of North Carolina.
After graduating with a Master’s in Athletics Administration from Ohio University, he worked his first job in college athletics at the University of Virginia under future ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan.
He was later named the athletics director at his alma mater at the age of 31, where he stayed for 17 years.
Swofford is a member of five Halls of Fame — the NACDA Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, the Chick-fil-A Bowl Hall of Fame, and the Wilkes County Hall of Fame. In addition, he was awarded the Corbett Award, which is the highest administrative honor given nationally to a collegiate athletics administrator.
Swofford also received the Homer Rice Award, the Ohio University Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Greensboro’s Father of the Year Awards.
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