WCC commissioner leaving for the Mountain West

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The woman who has led the West Coast Conference since 2018 has taken a new job as commissioner of the Mountain West.

The Mountain West conference announced Friday that Gloria Nevarez will take the helm as just the second commissioner of the conference.

The announcement says she’ll take over January 1, 2023 following the retirement of Commissioner Craig Thompson.

Nevarez came to the WCC after stops with the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Oklahoma, the University of California-Berkeley and San Jose State.

The WCC credits her with adopting a diversity hiring initiative, directing an overhaul of the conference’s branding, expanding national television contracts and guiding the conference through the pandemic.

“I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished inside and outside of the competition arena and believe we have positioned the WCC well in the current NCAA landscape,” Navarez said in a statement sent out by the WCC. “The WCC will always hold a special place in my life. As I begin this new chapter, I wish nothing but the best for everyone involved with the West Coast Conference.”

The announcement comes amid turmoil in several major athletic conferences.

As recently as this month, ESPN reported that Gonzaga University had talked with the Big 12 about joining that conference.

When asked about the discussions, Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few said, “Coaches talk, AD’s talk, commissioners talk, everybody does. Probably not doing your job if you’re not talking. At the end of the day, like I’ve always said, we’re going to do what’s  best for Gonzaga. So, we just have to analyze everything. Where we’ve been and what we’ve done so far has been great. We’ll let all the chatter happen and we’ll do what we gotta do.”

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“It’s bittersweet to learn that Gloria Navarez will be departing the West Coast Conference to become Commissioner of the Mountain West Conference,” said Gonzaga University President and Chair of the West Coast Conference Presidents’ Council Thayne McCulloh. “While we are excited for the opportunity this provides her, our Conference will miss the tremendous leadership and stewardship Gloria has demonstrated in her time as our Commissioner.

The WCC Presidents’ Council will discuss the transition and the process for future conference leadership at its regularly scheduled meeting this month.