Bernadette McGlade is coming home.
The 1976 Gloucester (N.J.) Catholic graduate who went on to star in basketball at North Carolina, was named commissioner of the Atlantic 10 yesterday. She replaces Linda Bruno, who announced her resignation in December.
"Certainly the interest that I had in the job was the job itself," McGlade said after a news conference at the Doubletree Hotel in Center City. "I've basically been gone from the Philadelphia, South Jersey area since 1976. Where I live in North Carolina is a beautiful part of the country. Sometimes unique opportunities present themselves and the fact that this position was one that became available and there was interest in my getting involved in it. So the fact that it was here in Philly is one of those nice extras."
Since her playing days ended at North Carolina, where she was one of the first female scholarship athletes, McGlade has become a fixture in college sports.
For the past 11 years, she has been the associate commissioner of the ACC. Before that, at age 23, she was named head coach of the Georgia Tech women's basketball team, and 2 years later assumed the responsibilities of coordinating women's sports at the school.
Among her endeavors, McGlade has served as assistant athletic director for Olympic sports, tournament director for the 1993 NCAA Women's Final Four and was a member of the NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Committee, serving 2 years as the chairwoman. During her time as a member of the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Marketing and Promotions Group, she also participated on the eight-person NCAA Television Negotiating Committee. All this group did was secure $6.2 billion in revenue from CBS for the NCAA men's basketball championship.
Television coverage for Atlantic 10 men's basketball, which, of course, includes La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple, has been a sore subject with local fans. Games between Big 5 schools often have not been available to local cable subscribers. The A-10 is under contract with College Sports Television (CSTV), which was taken over by CBS and is now the CBS College Sports Network. The contract runs for a few more years.
"At this point in time, I'm going to have to take a look at the contract, a good hard look at the contract," McGlade said. "And then sit down and talk with our television partners, with both the CBS college sports group and ESPN. Contracts like that really have to be worked with and [be] very much a shared partnership. I think that's really important to be able to go the next step as far as the contracts are concerned. I'm looking forward to sitting down and seeing exactly what the details are and then proactively try constantly to make the good decisions."
The decision to hire McGlade was certainly an easy one, said the Rev. Michael Graham, president of Xavier University and president of the Atlantic 10 Presidents' Council.
"What really struck us was the breadth of her portfolio," Graham said. "It was something that we really didn't see in the other candidates. We had a very strong pool of candidates. It was really interesting. After interviewing three of the four candidates at our presidents' meeting on May 1, we were debating the merits of candidates one, two and three until she came in. After she came in [and interviewed], the conversation was over. It was very clear, very clear."
With plenty of family members on hand for the announcement, including sister Agnes Berenato, the head women's basketball coach at Pittsburgh, McGlade explained her decision to become the fifth commissioner in the conference's history.
"I accept this position with a great deal of pride and appreciation and humility," she said. "Where this conference is right now is a great place. To have the opportunity to be selected as the new commissioner is something that I could only dream about in a lifetime.
"I am looking forward to working with everyone, all the members of the institutions. At the end of the day, there's no question, what we do is meant to develop our student-athletes. I hope that I am capable of not only continuing the great success of the Atlantic 10, but look to increase the success of the future."
And she will be doing most of her work from the A-10 offices in Center City, just a stone's throw over the river from where she grew up in Gloucester. *