The ACC is losing one of the most powerful men in collegiate sports. Eventually.
Thursday morning, the ACC announced that commissioner John Swofford will step down from his post at the end of the 2020-21 athletic year. The fourth commissioner in ACC history, the 71-year-old Swofford will assist with the transition and will continue his duties as commissioner until a successor is identified and in place.
This will mark Swofford’s 24th and final year as commissioner of the conference.
“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,” said Swofford in a statement. “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.”
When Swofford took over in 1997, the league was comprised of nine members. Over the next two decades or so, six new football members were added — Boston College, Louisville, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. Maryland, of course, left for the Big Ten in 2014. Notre Dame also became a non-football member in some varsity sports, although they do have a football scheduling relationship with the league.
Last year, Swofford also oversaw the creation of the ACC Network with partner ESPN. That network launched in August of last year.