Former Minnesota Vikings COO Kevin Warren was officially introduced as the new commissioner of the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday, replacing longtime commissioner Jim Delany. Warren will become the first black commissioner to lead a Power Five athletic conference.
At an introductory press conference held outside of Chicago, Warren discussed his new role as “an opportunity for a legacy.” Warren said that he would seek to build upon the successes of his predecessor, who oversaw a period of conference expansion and revenue growth with the launch of the Big Ten Network.
As the Detroit Free Press reports, Warren’s entry into collegiate athletics comes at a time when the landscape is shifting, and everything from student-athlete transfers and compensation to the possibility of dwindling TV revenues looms on the horizon.
“You think about where we are in college athletics. You think about what the next five to 10 to 15 years look like,” Warren told reporters. “When I accepted this job, I didn’t look at it as a this is a today job, I looked at it as a long-term job.”
ESPN reports that Warren has spent 21 seasons working in NFL front offices, including the past 14 with the Vikings. During his tenure, he was involved with the development of U.S. Bank Stadium and promoted women to executive roles within the franchise.
Warren will reportedly begin his new role with the conference on Sept. 16, and will work alongside Delany before he retires in January.