Linda Bruno said simply that it was time. So her time as Atlantic 10 commissioner will be over on June 30.

"It's 13 years, just time to move on," she said from her Center City office as her resignation was being announced yesterday.

Cynics will wonder whether she was pushed. After all, the league, once the best basketball-only conference in America, has hit hard times the last few seasons. A new TV contract that took effect last season resulted in fewer games being available in the markets of the 14 league teams. There was certainly some unrest.

Bruno insisted there was no pushing.

"It's been a great run," she said. "The league is in pretty good shape. I've been restless just to try something else."

She didn't decide to resign yesterday; it was just announced yesterday.

"I have felt this way for the past year or so," Bruno said. "I've been just thinking and looking around, saying there's got to be something else, even though I enjoy it. I think we've taken it to a certain point here."

Interestingly, it was just announced Tuesday that many of the television issues have been resolved. Many more games will be on in local markets this season than last. And the top of the league - with Rhode Island, Xavier, Dayton and Duquesne among others - looks stronger than it has in a few years. Massachusetts won at Syracuse. Xavier is the only team to beat Indiana. Dayton won at Miami (Ohio) and Holy Cross, places where hardly any visitor wins.

"I don't know what's next," Bruno said. "Since I've been here, I've never actively looked for a job, because I've loved it so much."

As she spoke during a long interview in October about the state of the league, it was obvious she had come through some stressful times - expansion, defections, TV, lack of NCAA Tournament teams.

"I want to stay in athletics, probably something that doesn't require as much travel; that was making it harder and harder," she said. "That's the thing you have to do in this job. Go find something else in athletics that I can still love and still enjoy."

Bruno grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., and got her undergraduate and master's degrees from Iona College.

After a year teaching eighth-grade English in the Bronx, she went back to Iona for that master's.

"That was not one of my stellar experiences," she said of the teaching gig. "I said if I get my master's, maybe I can get a better job."

While getting that degree, she was Jim Valvano's administrative assistant. She got a promotion and stayed at Iona for 5 years. She went to Yale for a year as assistant athletic director.

From there, she went to the Big East, where she was first director of championships and then associate commissioner. After 11 years at the Big East, she was named A-10 commissioner in 1994. Now, Bruno will be off in search of something new, while the A-10 begins its search for a new commissioner. *