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Coaches, media already missing NCAA tourney czar

Apr 11, 2012, 8:40 AM EDT

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For the first time in more than a decade, the NCAA tournament will have a new czar. And it’s not sitting well with various college basketball writers and coaches.

The NCAA announced Tuesday that Mark Lewis will be the new executive vice president for championships and alliances, replacing Greg Shaheen.

Shaheen was the man who negotiated the recent 14-year, $10.8 billion TV contract. He also helped devise the First Four format (avoiding an expansion to a 96-team tournament) and was a man who was accommodating to anyone involved in covering March Madness.

There’s still a possibility that Shaheen will have some sort of role with the NCAA in the future – he’ll soon meet with NCAA president Mark Emmert – which would be smart. Some of the game’s biggest coaches love Shaheen.

Examples:

  • “Working with Myles Brand, Greg furthered the cause of men’s college basketball as much as anyone in the last decade,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told CBSSports.com. “It’s a huge loss for our game.”
  • “It’s hard for me to understand anything anymore except that everyone wants their own power,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told The New York Times. “I don’t know if it’s the way it has to be. This guy has done a lot for college athletics.”
  • “I can’t imagine anyone doing their job from a coach’s standpoint better than he’s done his,” Kansas coach Bill Self told The Times. “Greg Shaheen is one of the brightest guys that we have a chance to come in contact with.

There’s a good chance that Lewis, who comes to the NCAA from Jet Set Sports, a company than made beaucoup bucks off the Olympics, will thrive in his new role. But it’s clear he’ll have big shoes to fill.

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  1. ku62 - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Surprise, surprise! $money$ means more than anything else. The great American Dream – get more $$$ than you’re worth.

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