ACC Commissioner John Swofford Will Retire Next Year

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2020

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 12: ACC Commissioner John Swofford speaks with the media prior to the quarterfinals round of the 2020 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 12, 2020 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Swofford addressed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact it will have on the remainder of the ACC Tournament. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Longtime ACC commissioner John Swofford is planning to retire in June 2021, nearly 25 years after first taking the position in 1997.

Luke DeCock and Steve Wiseman of the News & Observer reported Thursday that multiple sources said Swofford informed ACC staff members and athletic directors of his decision during conference calls Thursday.

Swofford and the ACC later confirmed Swofford's plan to retire. The 71-year-old Swofford is the fourth and by far the longest-tenured commissioner in ACC history.

Swofford released the following statement regarding his upcoming retirement:

"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. Having been an ACC student-athlete, athletics director and commissioner has been an absolute honor. 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.

"Nora and I have been planning for this to be my last year for some time and I look forward to enjoying the remarkable friendships and memories I've been blessed with long after I leave this chair."

Swofford has made a massive impact during his nearly quarter-century in charge of the ACC. He expanded the conference from nine teams to 15 and also helped facilitate the creation of the ACC Network, which launched last year.

Swofford played football at the University of North Carolina and later served as UNC's athletic director from 1980 to 1997. His tenure at North Carolina ended when he was named ACC commissioner.

During Swofford's time at the helm, the ACC has been home to four national champions in football and eight national champions in college basketball (seven men's, one women's).

The final year of Swofford's time as ACC commissioner could prove to be the biggest challenge of his career, given the coronavirus pandemic and how it may impact sports not only this fall but into 2021 and beyond.