Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford is retiring after the 2020-21 academic year, ending his tenure after 24 years.
The ACC announced Thursday that Swofford will continue as commissioner until his successor is in place and assist with the transition. Swofford said in a statement he and his wife, Nora, had been planning for “some time” for this be his final year.
Swofford, 71, has been commissioner of the ACC since 1997, the longest run in that position in the history of the 67-year-old conference.
The former North Carolina athletic director took over as commissioner of a nine-team league. In the years that followed, Swofford directed the league through multiple waves of expansion. The ACC grew to 12 teams and added a football championship game by 2005 and ultimately reached 15 schools in 10 states by 2013, with the addition of Notre Dame.
“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, who also attended North Carolina and played football for the Tar Heels. “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.”
The conference also launched a television network last August, a project that Swofford spent years pursuing as the league hoped to close a growing financial gap with its Power Five conference peers.