35th Anniversary - Feature 13
|The A-10's fifth Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade|
discusses the success of the conference during her tenure
The Atlantic 10 Conference ushered in a new era when Bernadette V. McGlade was named the league's fifth full-time commissioner on June 2, 2008. Following a standout career as a student-athlete, McGlade has dedicated nearly 30 years as both a coach and administrator to the enhancement of the student-athlete experience. She has aggressively embarked upon new challenges and possibilities in an effort to preserve and promote the excellence and integrity of collegiate athletics. Her visionary leadership has had an immediate impact on the A-10, its 14 member institutions and its more than 3,000 student-athletes.
Immediately, McGlade, in unison with the Council of Presidents and Directors of Athletics, began working to shape the image and branding of the league and further position the A-10 as one of the best basketball conferences in the country. McGlade quickly embraced the pride and traditions of each institution, and enthusiastically announced in March 2009, that the finals of the Men's Basketball Championship would be aired nationally on CBS on Selection Sunday for the first time in league history, beginning in 2010. Nearly one million viewers watched as Temple seized its third consecutive A-10 Men's Basketball Championship last year on the CBS network - further proving that the A-10 has a product worth watching.
In conjunction with the Championship television deal, McGlade further solidified the immediate future of the Men's Basketball Championship as the league reached an agreement with Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J, to remain as the setting for the tournament through 2012 and established a new tournament format. A dozen A-10 teams would qualify for the Championship with the top four seeds receiving a bye to play in Atlantic City and first round action being held on campus. The success of the new format was made evident by an attendance increase of nearly 25 percent for all rounds of the 2010 Championship.
|Dayton Men's Basketball|
2010 NIT Champions
McGlade, along with the league's constituents, also worked tirelessly to strengthen an already close relationship with the A-10 and its television partners, CBS College Sports and ESPN. As a result, fans of Atlantic 10 basketball have enjoyed even greater television exposure for its teams. This year's men's national television package alone highlighted 25 games representing 35 appearances by A-10 institutions on ESPN's family of networks; 10 games on CBS College Sports Network including the semifinals of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship; and two more games on CBS Sports including the A-10 Championship finals. Another 32 contests were part of the CBS College Sports Network's syndication package.
In addition to the A-10's impressive television line-up, several programs have heavily impacted the national landscape for men's basketball in recent years. Xavier has made three straight trips to the NCAA's Sweet 16 (2008-10) - an active streak matched by only Michigan State. Dayton denied 2009 national champion North Carolina the NIT title last season at Madison Square Garden and took home one of its own for the first time in 42 years. Saint Louis advanced to the CBI title game; Rhode Island reached the semifinals of the NIT; and for the 16th time in conference history and seventh since 2000, the Atlantic 10 earned multiple at-large berths to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. League champion Temple was joined by Richmond and Xavier in the field of 65.
|Xavier Women's Basketball|
2010 Atlantic 10 Champions
On the women's side, the television package and 14 A-10 programs have been equally as prominent on the national scene. This season's schedule featured 26 television appearances showcasing all 14 A-10 institutions. ESPN and its family of networks aired two women's games during the regular season, and will broadcast the 2011 A-10 Championship game live from the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass. CBS College Sports Network aired eight regular season contests and will broadcast both semifinal contests at the A-10 Championship.
In addition to its impressive television line-up, women's basketball in the Atlantic 10 has experienced unprecedented success in recent years. The last two seasons saw a Conference record eight wom¬en's teams reach postseason play and for the first time in the league's storied history, the A-10 played its Championship at a neutral site in 2010. The A-10 boasted six teams with 20 or more wins in 2009-10 - Xavier (30-4), Dayton (25-8), Temple (25-9), St. Bonaventure (23-10), Duquesne (20-12) and Richmond (20-13) and Xavier finished the season ranked fifth in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Polls. The No. 5 ranking is the highest the Musketeers have ever achieved and marked the first time an Atlantic 10 team was in the top five since former member Penn State was No. 1 in the final poll of the 1990-91 season. Temple and Dayton finished the year among nation's elite as well, as the Owls garnered votes in both polls and Dayton received votes in the final Coaches Poll.
Seven league teams were nationally ranked or received votes over the course of the 2009-10 season, including Charlotte, Dayton, Duquesne, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Temple and Xavier. Moreover, the A-10 had two teams in the Top 25 polls for the first time since 2006, as both Xavier and Dayton were listed simultaneously for two straight-weeks. During the 2006 season, both Temple (#21) and George Washington (#25) were ranked at the same time.
The Atlantic 10 can credit much of its women's basketball success to not only the talented student-athletes that compete on the hardwood, but to the tireless teachers that lead the league's 14 noteworthy programs.
For example, Dayton's Jim Jabir became the all-time winningest women's basketball coach in Flyer history in 2011, after picking up his 120th victory, passing Linda Makowski's 119 wins from 1980-86. Jabir's Flyers also helped him secure the 350th win of his career on Feb. 2. Xavier head coach Kevin McGuff, who has guided Xavier to a postseason appearance in each of his eight year's at the helm, including five in the NCAA, earned his 200th career win in 2011, all with XU. Jim Crowley's Bonnies tied a program record with 23 wins in 2009-10, including a SBU-record 21 regular-season wins and a trip to the WNIT for the second consecutive year.
|Temple Men's Basketball|
2008, 2009 and 2010 A-10 Champions
Duquesne's Suzie McConnell-Serio, a Women's Basketball Hall of Famer, WNBA Coach of the Year (2004), member of USA Women's Basketball and former A-10 student-athlete, was recently honored with her second Dan Dapper Sportswoman of the Year award. Under McConnell-Serio's direction, Duquesne has won 20 games in each of the past two seasons and twice appeared in the WNIT. Before her arrival on the Bluff, the women's team had never won 20 games or appeared in a postseason tournament.
With the overwhelming support of the A-10's 14 member institutions, including Presidents, Athletics Directors, coaches, administrators, student-athletes and fans, along with McGlade's visionary leadership, the A-10 has reached a new level of competition, exposure and success.
The A-10's success hasn't been limited to just the hardwood in recent years ... read more about the additional achievements of the league schools and teams in Part Two of "Ushering in the Modern Era" next week.
Scroll through and click the icons below for the membership history of each institution.