Kevin Warren just made history by becoming the first Black commissioner of the Big Ten Conference. It is the oldest Division 1 collegiate conference in the NCAA.
Historic moves have become somewhat of a trend for Warren as he leaves his current role as COO of the Minnesota Vikings’; a position that made him one of the highest-ranking African American executives in the NFL.
“I am absolutely honored to become the sixth commissioner of the Big Ten, a conference with such rich history, tradition, and respect,” Warren said. “The opportunity is an incredible and unique blend of my lifelong passion, commitment and experience. Positively impacting the lives of young adults has always been part of the fabric of my family and I will work tirelessly with our member schools to ensure that we are providing every possible best in class resource to enhance our students’ educational and athletic experience, as well as empower them for success upon graduation.”
Warren knows firsthand what it takes to prepare students athletes for success. In college he played basketball for the University of Pennsylvania and went on to earn an MBA from Arizona State and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law.
During his time with the Vikings, he oversaw a complete expansion and restructuring of the executive team, which included elevating women to key executive positions.
According to a statement on the Vikings website: Prior to joining the Vikings, Warren worked for law firm Greenberg Traurig from 2003 to 2005, playing a role with the Wilf Ownership Group deal team during the acquisition of the Minnesota Vikings. He also spent two seasons from 2001 to 2003 with the Detroit Lions as senior vice president of business operations & general counsel and four seasons from 1997 to 2001 with the St. Louis Rams as vice president of football administration and vice president of player programs and legal counsel.
The seeds of greatness that led to Warren’s historic climb were planted years before he was born. His father, the late Dr. Morrison Warren, Sr., had a successful career at Arizona State University as a professor of education and played professional football for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948. He also went on to become the first African-American president of a major college bowl game when he was named president of the 1982 Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors.
When asked how he felt about becoming first African-American commission, Warren acknowledged it by saying, “It is definitely not lost on me, the history associated with this.”
He is set to begin his new position with the Big Ten on September 16, 2019.
Photo Credit: Big Ten Conference