The first female commissioner of a major college conference will resign next year after leading the Atlantic 10 since 1994.
Linda Bruno's resignation will take effect June 30. That will leave two other women as commissioners of Division I conferences - Carolyn Schlie Femovich of the Patriot League and Brenda Weare of the Northeast Conference.
``It wasn't an easy decision, it never is when things are going good, but it is a good time to try something else with the league in pretty good shape,'' Bruno said Wednesday from the conference office in Philadelphia.
She said she has no definite plans.
``College athletics is all I know,'' she said with a laugh. ``Right now I plan to stay involved, but I haven't ruled out everything else.''
Bruno was an associate commissioner at the Big East when she chosen as the Atlantic 10's fourth full-time commissioner on June 14, 1994.
``I was very fortunate to have worked with very good people,'' Bruno said of her early career. ``We accomplished a lot. It's been a fun ride and none of that will go away for me.''
Under Bruno, the Atlantic 10 added Charlotte, Dayton, Fordham, La Salle, Richmond, and Saint Louis and the conference negotiated a deal with ESPN, the most lucrative and extensive television package in league history.
The Atlantic 10 earned multiple berths to the NCAA tournament 11 times in Bruno's 13 years, including five bids in 1997 and 1998, and Massachusetts reached the Final Four in 1996. The conference sent multiple teams to the NCAA women's tournament 12 times in that span.
``When we had five teams in the NCAA tournament would have been the highlight for me,'' Bruno said. ``It made people look at us and say `Hey, they're for real.' I am also very proud, and I hate to use the term BCS when we're talking basketball, but in the time of BCS football, we're a legitimate basketball conference and that will continue with the commitment of our athletic directors and presidents.''
Bruno was on a number of NCAA committees including the women's Division I tournament committee from 1990-96, serving as the chair for the last three years.
``On behalf of the Council of Presidents and the entire Atlantic 10 Conference, I want to thank Linda for her many years of service and commitment,'' Xavier President Fr. Michael J. Graham said in a statement.

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