CHARLOTTESVILLE - Val Ackerman has been named to the 2011 class of The Champions: Pioneers and Innovators in Sports Business, an award from SportsBusiness Journal/Daily recognizing the architects and builders of sports.
Ackerman was a four-year starter and two-time Academic All-American for the Virginia women's basketball team and graduated in 1981. She was among the first women's scholarship athletes at UVa and was a three-time captain of the Cavaliers.
In 1981, Ackerman won the ACC scholar athlete award and in 1997, Ackerman was named Distinguished Alumna by the UVa Women's Center. Ackerman played professional basketball in France before graduating from UCLA School of Law in 1985, and she worked for two years as an associate at the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
She went on to become the inaugural president of the WNBA in 1996, and she led the team's growth over her eight-year term. An attorney with a love of basketball, she helped create the USA Basketball women's team that won gold at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and was the first female president of USA Basketball.
Each of the individuals will be honored during a special ceremony at the IMG World Congress of Sports, March 30-31 in Miami.
Ackerman is joined in the class by former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman, IMG Media's Barry Frank, baseball labor leader Marvin Miller, ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen and longtime sports executive Alan Rothenberg.
Each was selected for having an accomplished body of work throughout their careers.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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