The W.N.B.A., which has been with no everlasting chief since Lisa Borders resigned as president in October, has appointed Cathy Engelbert as its new commissioner. Ms. Engelbert will take over a league this is running to rebrand itself and is engaged in a hard work negotiation with a fast-approaching time limit.
Ms. Engelbert was once elected leader govt of the accounting group Deloitte in 2015. At Deloitte, a personal corporate, companions elect the manager govt to serve a four-year time period. In March, Deloitte’s companions elected the brand new leader govt. Engelbert will sign up for the W.N.B.A. on July 17 after her time period ends.
“Cathy is a world-class trade chief with a deep connection to ladies’s basketball, which makes her the best individual to guide the W.N.B.A. into its subsequent section of enlargement,” Adam Silver, the commissioner of the N.B.A., mentioned in a commentary Wednesday.
Ms. Engelbert has been with Deloitte since 1986, after she graduated from Lehigh College, the place she was once captain of the basketball staff. She averaged 14 issues a sport in her senior yr because the Mountain Hawks received the East Coast Convention match. Within the identify sport, Ms. Engelbert scored 20 issues and was once credited in The Morning Name of Allentown with preserving “the items glued in combination when the cracks began to turn.”
In a commentary Wednesday, Engelbert mentioned it was once an “absolute privilege to be becoming a member of the W.N.B.A. at such an exhilarating and essential time in its historical past.”
“I see super alternative to strengthen visibility for the game of ladies’s basketball, empower the gamers and improve fan engagement,” she mentioned.
Ms. Engelbert has been an suggest of inclusion within the office. She has spoken about virtually quitting Deloitte within the 1990s whilst pregnant together with her first kid, and underneath her management the company introduced a 16-week paid circle of relatives depart coverage.
The W.N.B.A.’s gamers’ union mentioned it was once “inspired” that the league had selected anyone with Engelbert’s trade enjoy and data of the sport.
“We look ahead to running with Cathy, and seeing a redefined dedication to insurance policies that worth and strengthen the running girls and dealing moms around the league,” the Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation mentioned in a commentary. “The modern considering and values Cathy has demonstrated all through her occupation depart us constructive about what the longer term may appear to be for W.N.B.A. gamers.”
At Lehigh, Engelbert performed underneath the Corridor of Reputation trainer Muffet McGraw, who has two times led Notre Dame to N.C.A.A. girls’s championships. On the Ultimate 4 this yr, Ms. McGraw made an impassioned case for hiring extra girls to train girls’s basketball.
The W.N.B.A.’s 23rd season starts on Would possibly 24, and can play an outsize position in its long term at a time when different girls’s skilled sports activities leagues are suffering. Ms. Engelbert could have little time to get her ft rainy.
The league has a brand new emblem and colour scheme, and remaining month introduced an settlement with CBS Sports activities Community to get extra of its video games in entrance of a countrywide target audience. Whilst the tv target audience was once up remaining season, attendance was once down 13 %, partly for the reason that Liberty’s house video games moved from Madison Sq. Lawn to the a lot smaller Westchester County Heart.
The W.N.B.A. has been with no president since October, when Ms. Borders stepped right down to run Time’s Up, an advocacy staff for ladies within the office. Mark Tatum, the deputy N.B.A. commissioner, has been appearing as intervening time president.
Ms. Engelbert will lead the league via hard work negotiations with its gamers, which can be proceeding. Ultimate fall, the gamers exercised their strategy to terminate the collective bargaining settlement after the 2019 season, unsatisfied a few salary construction negotiated earlier than the league’s most up-to-date handle ESPN, which greater than doubled annual tv earnings, in conjunction with what the gamers view as substandard running stipulations and different considerations.