Vikings COO Kevin Warren Named Big Ten Commissioner to Replace Jim Delany

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2019

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - SEPTEMBER 17: Vice President of Legal Affairs Kevin Warren of the Minnesota Vikings speaks to the media during a press conference on September 17, 2014 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The Vikings addressed their decision to put Adrian Peterson on the commissioner's exempt list until Peterson's child-abuse case has been resolved. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Kevin Warren, the Minnesota Vikings' chief operating officer, will take over for Jim Delany as the Big Ten's next commissioner.

Warren becomes the first black commissioner of a Power Five conference as he succeeds Delany, who has been in the role since 1989.

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Meet Kevin Warren: https://t.co/WXs4QprIGf

The Vikings credit Warren with "playing a critical leadership role with the Wilf Ownership Group deal team during the acquisition of the Minnesota Vikings" from Red McCombs in 2005. Warren was working with a law firm putting the deal together and subsequently joined the team once the purchase went through.

During his time as COO, Warren was involved in the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium, which was completed in 2016 and has already hosted Super Bowl LII and the 2019 NCAA men's basketball Final Four. The Vikings' Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, their new headquarters, was completed in March 2018 as well.

Former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive worked with Warren at the Greenberg Traurig law firm. Slive spoke highly of Warren's organizational capabilities.

"He can go anywhere and do anything," Slive said in a November 2017 interview with the Star Tribune's Jim Souhan. "I could see him in New York, at the NFL office at a very high level. But would Kevin leave? Kevin has this ability to be highly successful while keeping his family life in balance."

Warren will have big shoes to fill. Through conference expansion and the growth of the Big Ten Network, Delany helped the Big Ten become a financial juggernaut. The conference brought in $759 million during the 2018 fiscal year, per USA Today's Steve Berkowitz.