ACC commissioner John Swofford will retire in 2020-21

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday his intention to retire in 2021 after the next athletic year, which will be his 24th year on the job. 

Hired to lead the conference in 1997, Swofford had been North Carolina's athletic director since 1980. He was a Tar Heels football player during the 1960s. 

During his tenure as ACC commissioner, Swofford expanded the football footprint from  nine teams to 15, adding Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame (although the Fighting Irish remain independent in football). ACC programs won 92 national titles in 19 sports while he was commissioner. 

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the ACC for over five decades and my respect and appreciation for those associated with the league throughout its history is immeasurable,” Swofford said in a statement. “Having been an ACC student-athlete, athletics director and commissioner has been an absolute honor.

ACC commissioner John Swofford speaks to the media prior to the start of the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. (Photo: Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports)

"There are immediate challenges that face not only college athletics, but our entire country, and I will continue to do my very best to help guide the conference in these unprecedented times through the remainder of my tenure." 

Swofford helped launch the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in men's and women's basketball and also oversaw the development of the ACC Championship Game in football. The ACC Network, which launched last August, is another accomplishment the league achieved under Swofford.

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