Neil Haley interviews Bernadette V. McGlade COMMISSIONER of the Atlantic 10 Conference
One of the most well-respected and experienced leaders in Division I athletics, Bernadette V. McGlade enters her sixth year as the Atlantic 10 Commissioner. Her progressive guidance has led the league to new opportunities while promoting the excellence and integrity of the A-10 within intercollegiate athletics.
Named the fifth full-time commissioner of the A-10 on June 2, 2008, McGlade in unison with the Council of Presidents and directors of athletics began working to shape the image and branding of the league and further position the A-10 as one of the top 10 Division I conferences in the country. McGlade quickly embraced the pride and commitment of each institution, and enthusiastically announced in March 2009, that the finals of the Men’s Basketball Championship would be aired nationally on CBS on Selection Sunday for the first time in league history, beginning in 2010. She worked to strengthen an already close relationship with the conference television partners, CBS College Sports and ESPN. Then in 2012 McGlade forged a new media rights package that enhanced those existing partnerships and added NBC Sports Network as a third television partner. The result is a significant increase in television exposure for A-10 teams on a yearly basis.
McGlade led the conference through the development of a five-year Strategic Initiative Plan that was adopted by the Presidents’ Council in November of 2010. Highlighting four areas of emphasis: Conference Membership, Student-Athlete Experience, Competitive Operating Standards and Conference Revenue Resources and Distribution, the conference has a clear road map for the future supported by the mission of the A-10.
The media declared the A-10 the “winner” of the conference realignment shuffle when McGlade brought recent Final Four participants George Mason and VCU into the league. Her efforts also will bring in Davidson in 2014, resulting in a 14-team league that is unparalleled in its basketball-centric ideals.
McGlade spearheaded a partnership agreement for the men’s basketball championship, negotiating a five-year agreement to hold the championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Following the 2013 championship, the first in the newest NBA arena, the feedback from student-athletes, coaches, administrators, media and fans was overwhelmingly positive.
She further enhanced the value of the partnership with Barclays Center with a unique format for the women’s basketball championship in which the championship final game was played at the arena following the men’s semifinal round. That resulted in a championship finals record attendance of 4,436 fans and a total attendance of 14,282 fans for the entire women’s basketball championship. That day also saw the induction of the Inaugural Atlantic 10 Basketball Legends Class, a McGlade initiative designed to recognize and honor the rich basketball tradition of the A-10 institutions.
The Conference has experienced tremendous success both on the playing field and in the classroom during McGlade’s tenure as commissioner. She is driven by an unwavering commitment to uphold the league’s traditions while striving to reach even greater heights for the more than 5,200 student-athletes who proudly compete under the A-10 banner…Great people. Great places. Extraordinary opportunities.
Well respected as an administrator throughout the NCAA, McGlade currently serves on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Officiating LLC Board of Directors and the NCAA Honors Committee.
McGlade spent 11 years at the Atlantic Coast Conference prior to her arrival at the A-10, including the last nine as Associate Commissioner. Hired in 1997 as an Assistant Commissioner, McGlade stepped into the newly created position overseeing women’s basketball. Her responsibilities included conference scheduling, the ACC Tournament, television oversight and selection, budget management and institutional liaison with the women’s basketball coaches. Her oversight of marketing and development efforts with the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament resulted in capacity crowds and sellout events. She also formed a regional partnership with Breast Cancer research funding that raised over $250,000 in conjunction with the tournament. In addition, McGlade directed the officiating program for four Division I conferences, including recruitment, training and development of NCAA basketball officials, as well as developing and directing the South Atlantic Women’s Basketball Officiating Alliance (SAWBO).
During her tenure at the ACC, McGlade worked with Olympic Sport Championships, Senior Woman Administrators and NCAA and ACC Committee oversight, including sportsmanship, officiating, equity, and television. She served on the NCAA Management Council, as well as the NCAA Task Force for Division I Women’s Basketball. In addition, McGlade was part of the administrative team for ACC events including the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Inaugural ACC Football Championship Game and numerous men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball events.
From 1995-2000, McGlade served on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Committee and chaired that Committee in 1999 and 2000. Additionally, McGlade served on the NCAA Working Group to Study Basketball Issues (1998-2000), as well as the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Marketing and Promotions Group (1997-1999). During that period, she also participated on the eight-person NCAA Television Negotiating Committee. This group secured, what was at the time, the largest television contract for any sporting event, totaling $6.2 billion in revenue from CBS for the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Additionally, the group secured the current ESPN contract for the NCAA women’s basketball championship and numerous additional National Championships’ rights, in excess of $162 million.
Prior to arriving at the ACC, McGlade served for 17 years at Georgia Institute of Technology. She was hired at Georgia Tech in 1981, and at the age of 23 was one of the youngest Division I head women’s basketball coaches in the nation and the first full-time female to coach at Georgia Tech. By 1983, McGlade assumed the responsibilities of coordinating women’s sports at Georgia Tech where she was instrumental in the elevation of several sports to the varsity level and hiring a complement of coaches.
In 1985, McGlade was named Assistant Athletic Director for Olympic Sports, overseeing internal operations at Georgia Tech. In 1987, McGlade moved into full-time administration as Associate Athletic Director, assuming responsibility for all sports programs, including football and men’s basketball, continued oversight of NCAA Compliance, the Bill Moore Tennis Center and the Total Person Program.
Throughout the 1990s, McGlade continued to expand her responsibilities and experience by serving as the Tournament Director for the 1993 NCAA Women’s Final Four, which secured the first pre-sellout in the history of the event. Additionally, she served for a year and a half as the 1996 Olympic Games liaison for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, developing and coordinating the Association’s strategic plan. McGlade also served on strategically important NCAA and ACC committees such as the Committee on Women’s Athletics, Television Negotiations Committee, Gender Equity Committee, NCAA Membership Subcommittee, Marketing Committee, Sportsmanship Committee, Officiating Committee and numerous sports committees.
In addition to her service, McGlade has acquired numerous honors throughout her career. In her senior year at the University of North Carolina, McGlade was inducted into the prestigious Order of the Valkyries, the highest honor for undergraduate women at the university. In 1987 she was named an Image Maker for the city of Atlanta and in 1993 she was recognized for the Excellence in Education Award for the development of an Atlanta (Ga.) Public School Outreach Program. In 1995, the University of North Carolina selected her as an Honored Jersey recipient where her playing jersey hangs in the rafters of Carmichael Auditorium.
In 2000, McGlade was recognized as the WBCA National Administrator of the Year, was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletic Association Hall of Fame and the South Jersey Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Two years later, in 2002, Georgia Tech honored McGlade as one of the 50 1st Women of the Institute. McGlade was named to the ACC Women’s Basketball 50th Anniversary Team and was inducted into the Camden County (N.J.) 2006 Regional Hall of Fame. In 2008, the YWCA of Greensboro, N.C., presented her with the Kay Yow Outstanding Female in Sports award and she was a featured speaker at the NCAA Women’s Final Four Leadership Forum. Most recently McGlade was named a 2012 ACC legend by Georgia Tech; she is the first person to be honored as an ACC legend as a player (UNC-2007) and coach (Georgia Tech-2012).
A native of Gloucester City, N.J., McGlade earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.