The news never stops in tennisland! Tennis.com reports that WTA CEO Larry Scott, who was famously embattled in last month’s Dubai visa debacle, will be leaving the tennis tour to join the NCAA Pac-10 Conference:
Here’s the scoop:
WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott will leave his post on July 1 order to become commissioner of the NCAA’s Pac-10 Conference. “With women’s professional tennis more popular than ever, the Tour in the strongest business position in its history and a fantastic senior management team in place, now is the right time for me to embrace a new challenge consistent with my family and personal goals, and leave room for the next generation of Tour leadership to take on new responsibilities,” said Scott in a statement.
The WTA said its Board of Directors will “determine selection process for next Chairman and CEO in due course” and “Scott will work with the Tour Board on the selection process.”
“Next generation of Tour leadership,” huh? What’s that mean – are we talking Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King (you know, people who put the “W” in WTA) or will the two tours finally merge under the new ATP CEO, Adam Helfant.
I know! How about Justin Gimelstob! He’d be perfect. . .
**UPDATED** The New York Times has an interesting piece, focusing mostly on what Larry Scott can bring to the Conference. Click here for the full article.:
Bob Bowlsby, the athletic director at Stanford and the head of the search committee, said Scott’s experience in reviving the professional tennis tours highlighted his candidacy.
“Our search committee was most impressed with Larry’s broad range of leadership experiences in both men’s and women’s sports, as well as his extensive success in representing the commercial interest of men’s and women’s tennis,” Bowlsby said. “He was the architect of a highly-effective turnaround of women’s tennis over the last six years and created a compelling vision that has served the sport and its athletes extremely well.”
Scott’s tennis career includes an All-American career at Harvard, three years as a professional, 10 years in high ranking positions at the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals and his current job with the W.T.A. since 2003. Scott spoke on Tuesday minutes before walking into a meeting with 200 of the world’s top players to announce that he’d be stepping down. He said he was looking forward to a new challenge.
“This is a great opportunity and chance for me to take advantage of the experience and the skills I developed and apply them in the world of sports and in an area that I’m very passionate about because I benefited from being a student athlete and the intercollegiate system,” he said.
Also wondering – with Larry’s leaving, will that dumb on-court coaching rule also go away?
**SECOND UPDATE – GOSSIP ALERT!**
Finally, some gossip! Turns out Scott’s pissed at being shunned (in more ways than one) by the ATP tour. From tennisreporters.net:
Sources told TennisReporters.net that Scott was frustrated by his inability to combine the WTA with the men’s ATP Tour (the men don’t want to ) and take over as commissioner of both tours, and that he was also unhappy that he wasn’t offered the ATP CEO job that eventually went to former Nike executive Adam Helfant. Scott might also have been sick of the constant travel, as he’s the father of three small children.
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