The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) headquartered in Greensboro announced the successor to ACC Commissioner John Swofford.

Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation at Northwestern University will become the ACC commissioner in February 2021.

Swofford, who has been ACC commissioner since 1997, had previously announced he would retire in June 2021. Swofford like all his predecessors was associated with an ACC school before becoming ACC commissioner.

Phillips will be the first ACC commissioner ever hired from the outside, but the ACC is a far different league than it was when Swofford took over, now with 15 schools stretching from Boston to Miami.

Phillips was named the athletic director at Northwestern in 2008, and in 2012 was promoted to vice president for athletics and recreation. Before moving to Northwestern, Phillips was the athletics director at Northern Illinois University and prior to that he spent four years in the athletics department at the University of Notre Dame.

Phillips began his career in athletics as the basketball team manager and student assistant at the University of Illinois and went on to become an assistant basketball coach at Arizona State University before making the move from coaching to administration.

According to the press release from the ACC, Phillips said, “My career has been dedicated to the development and betterment of student-athletes, and I am thrilled for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to guide one of the most prestigious and accomplished athletic organizations in the world.”

ACC Board Chair Kent Syverud (Syracuse University) said, “Jim is one of the most talented athletic administrators in the country and uniquely qualified to successfully and seamlessly take over the helm of the ACC. Over the course of nearly 13 years, Jim has elevated and cemented Northwestern’s position as an outstanding Power 5 athletics program.”

Phillips was elected as the inaugural chair of the NCAA Division I Council in 2015 and since 2017 he has been on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee.