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NCAA's CFO named interim president

September 22, 2009

James L. Isch, the NCAA’s long-time chief financial officer, has been named interim president of the association, replacing Myles Brand, who died last week of pancreatic cancer.

An NCAA administrative subcommittee made the appointment yesterday after a lengthy meeting in Chicago and announced the decision this morning.

Isch emphasized he would not merely be a “caretaker,” instead telling reporters on a conference call this morning that he would be “on the road” pushing for four major initiatives Brand had championed: academic reform, fiscal stability, integration of athletics and academics, and emphasis on the student athlete.

Isch said he was informed of the subcommittee’s decision yesterday afternoon, and is still formulating his presidential plan.
 
The executive committee will meet Oct. 29 in Indianapolis at its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting to discuss the search for the next NCAA president.

Isch and University of Georgia President and NCAA executive committee chairman Michael Adams would not comment on who might be considered to become the association’s permanent president.

Adams said a “broad, open national search,” would likely take four months to complete, but no timetable has been set.

Prior to his death last week, Brand did give NCAA leaders some thoughts on “four or five” people he thought could succeed him as NCAA president, Adams said, but he offered no single candidate over the others for the job.

“Although I deeply regret the circumstance, I’m honored to be named interim president, and I can assure all involved in intercollegiate athletics that we will continue on the course that Myles set—one that keeps a keen focus on the academic achievement of all student-athletes,” Isch said. “Great leaders like Myles Brand build strong organizations that can thrive regardless of the circumstance, and I’m confident that we’ll continue our important work and move forward.”

“Jim Isch has played a key role in advancing the organization under Myles, and the entire administrative subcommittee has complete confidence in his ability to lead the association until a new president is named,” Adams said. “Jim has an incredibly impressive record, and I’m confident that he will provide strong leadership for the association during this time of transition.”

Isch has been with the NCAA since 1998, serving as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Isch previously was vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Prior to that, he was vice president for administration at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Isch has an undergraduate degree in accounting and a Ph.D. from Kansas State University, and an MBA from Boston University.
 

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