Minnesota Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren will be named the Big Ten’s next commissioner.
Warren’s hire was first reported by 670 The Score in Chicago. The Big Ten will hold a news conference Tuesday at its headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, at 12 p.m. Eastern to announce Warren’s hire. He will be the first African-American commissioner of a Power 5 conference.
Warren won’t take over for a while, though. Current Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, a South Orange native, is expected to stay on until his contract expires in June 2020. Delany announced his plans to retire after 30 years leading the Big Ten in March.
Warren is a surprise pick for the Big Ten, as most speculation centered around Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips or other candidates with conference or college sports connections. While Warren lives inside the conference footprint, he has no apparent ties to the league beyond assisting Minnesota in its search process to hire current athletics director Mark Coyle.
Warren is an Arizona native who played basketball and earned his undergraduate degree at Grand Canyon University after spending his freshman year at Penn. Warren, who also has an MBA from Arizona State and a law degree from Notre Dame, has spent his career either practicing law or working for an NFL franchise.
Warren did work at Bond, Schoeneck and King, a Kansas-based firm that specializes in NCAA violations, early in his career, where he was colleagues with late former SEC commissioner Mike Slive. The firm served as outside counsel for Rutgers when it was under investigation by the NCAA following the end of Kyle Flood’s tenure as football coach.
Warren also ran his own sports agency and worked for the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions before joining law firm Greenberg Traurig, where he assisted Springfield resident Zygi Wilf and his partners when they purchased the Vikings in 2005. Warren then joined the franchise that year and became the first African-American COO in NFL history in 2015. Warren is also currently of counsel with firm Norton Rose Fulbright, according to his personal website.
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