AVU’s Val Ackerman named to 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (VirginiaSports.com) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today announced that Virginia alumnus of women’s basketball Val Ackerman will be inducted as a member of its 2021 category. Ackerman will be inducted as a contributor. She previously received the John Bunn Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Hall of Fame in 2008.

The announcement was made at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. The inauguration ceremony of the 2021 class will take place from September 9 to 10.

The other members of the 2021 class are: Rick Adelman, Chris Bosh, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, Howard Garfinkel, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Clarence “Fats” Jenkins, Toni Kukoc, Bob Dandridge , Jay Wright and Pearl Moore.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized and will be eternally grateful to David Stern and Russ Granik for opening doors for me and allowing me to be a part of so many exciting moments in basketball history,” said Ackerman. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead BIG EAST and build on its proud heritage over the past eight years, and to be part of the class that includes Jay Wright makes this time very difficult to overcome.

Ackerman graduated from AVU in 1981 with a BA in Political and Social Thought. She was a four-year, three-time captain and two-time All-American academy starter on the Cavaliers’ women’s basketball team. She was also the program’s first 1,000-point scorer and was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference 50.e Anniversary Team in 2002. In June 1999, Val Ackerman was inducted into the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame. She graduated with great distinction and received the Jettie Hill award for highest grade point average among female UVA athletes. Ackerman played basketball professionally for a year in France before attending UCLA Law School where she graduated in 1985.

Ackerman was named the fifth commissioner of BIG EAST on June 26, 2013. She was the founding president of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and past president of USA Basketball, which oversees the US men’s and women’s Olympic basketball program. Ackerman also served two terms as the United States representative to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). She has had a long and accomplished career in the sports industry and the distinction of having held leadership positions in men’s and women’s basketball at the college, professional, national and international levels.

Ackerman was named the first president of the WNBA in 1996 and oversaw the daily operations of the league for its first eight seasons. During her tenure, the league grew from 8 to 16 teams, attracted broad national support from sponsors and networks, set attendance records for women’s team sports, and maintained successful working relationships with players. . Ackerman was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and received the Billie Jean King Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation in 2016.

Ackerman served on the USA Basketball board of directors for 23 years, including as chairman for the 2005-08 term, which culminated in gold medals for both men’s and women’s teams at the Beijing Games. She served as the NBA‘s primary liaison to the USAB in the early years of the Dream Team era and was the driving force behind the 10-month tour of the USAB Women’s National Team which has preceded the 1996 Olympics and set the stage for the launch of the WNBA. She received the USA Basketball Ed Steitz Award for her contributions to international basketball in 2008.


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