The contract of West Coast Conference Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich has been extended through May 31, 2017.
The WCC was formed in 1952, and Zaninovich is only the second full-time commissioner in conference history. Zaninovich was named as the conference commissioner on March 9, 2008.
During his tenure as the WCC Commissioner, Zaninovich has made significant contributions to the conference’s growth. On July 1, 2011, Zaninovich oversaw the addition of BYU to the conference, and on July 1, 2013, Pacific will return to the conference. These additions of membership to the conference are the first since 1979.
Under Zaninovich’s leadership, the WCC has seen significant national attention for the performance of several of its teams. Some of the most notable and recent accomplishments have taken place on the hardwood with the conference sending three teams (BYU, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s) to the men’s NCAA basketball tournament in 2012 and sending a No. 1 overall seed in Gonzaga to that same tournament in 2013.
BYU has seen a considerable amount of success in the WCC under the direction of Zaninovich. This past year, BYU enjoyed first place conference finishes in men’s cross country (Jared Ward), women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
Zaninovich was appointed to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Commitee in 2011–2012 and was named one of the prestigious “40 Under 40” honorees by the Sports Business Journal in 2010 as one of the top young young professionals in the sports industry.
Zaninovich has accentuated a five-year plan, which began in 2010 and is slated to go through 2014. This is when his contract as WCC commissioner was originally scheduled to expire. The plan is focused on three high-level goals: competitiveness, exposure and leadership. This, according to the WCC official website, includes “implementation of men’s basketball non-conference scheduling and performance strategies, a conference-wide video streaming enhancement program, approval of a Sportsmanship Initiative, the launch of a new conference mark and continued commitment to activation of the WCC voice within the NCAA governance structure.”
In efforts to increase the WCC’s regional and national exposure, Zaninovich has forged long-term agreements with a number of television networks including ESPN, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Comcast SportsNet, and ROOT sports.
“I am sincerely grateful to the Presidents’ Council for both this tremendous opportunity and their unwavering support of our conference leadership,” Zaninovich said in a news release. “Our schools share a unique, common belief in holistic education, which is as equally impressive as their athletics accomplishments on a national level, and I am proud to be associated with such uncompromising excellence. I am very focused on what lies ahead for the West Coast Conference and look forward to working with our phenomenal campus leadership in the future to further realize our strategic vision.”
Prior to becoming the WCC Commissioner in 2008, Zaninovich was the senior associate athletic director of external relations at Princeton University. While at Princeton, Zaninovich was in charge of all revenue-generating activities for the university’s 38 varsity athletic teams.
The WCC has proved to be a great fit for BYU athletics because of its commitment to its foundation of values, character and academics. The addition of the Pacific Tigers to the conference and three more years under the direction of Zaninovich should prove beneficial to both BYU and the WCC.