The CAA's commissioner, Tom Yeager, announced his retirement before the season after 31 years on the job. Now, the league has reached into Villanova's backyard to pluck Joe D'Antonio from the Big East to become their second-ever commish. D'Antonio is currently serving as the senior associate commissioner of the Big East for administration and NCAA relations.
His first day will be July 1st.
For the CAA as a whole, the move makes a lot of sense. D'Antonio comes in as an understudy from a strong basketball-first league and will move on to lead a league that has been trying hard to rebuild its hardwood-reputation after getting picked-apart in the last round(s) of realignment. He will also oversee the CAA's football conference, which is where Villanova currently stashes their FCS program.
"I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the next Commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association," D’Antonio said in a statement. "I deeply appreciate that the Council of Presidents / Chancellors has provided me the opportunity to lead this accomplished group of institutions. I am anxiously looking forward to partnering with the CAA membership in achieving the Conference’s mission of stressing the role of college athletics within the educational framework of the institution. It goes without saying that the CAA is indebted to retiring Commissioner Tom Yeager for his 31 outstanding years of service, and I hope to build upon the foundation that he has set as the Conference prepares to write the next chapters of its history."
D'Antonio oversees the Big East conference's internal operations and its interaction with the NCAA; including compliance and Olympic sports championships. He has also served on several NCAA committees and spend eight years working for the Providence College athletics administration.
"Joe has been part of the BIG EAST family for 19 years, and we share his great excitement in realizing a career dream to become a Division I Commissioner," current Big East commissioner Val Ackerman stated. "While his outstanding work and good cheer will be sorely missed by everyone in our conference, we look forward to continuing our relationship with him in his new role and know he'll do a fantastic job for the CAA."
He worked for the old Big East as well, starting in 2005, working across various areas of the enterprise. He had been involved in all aspects of the conference office, including helping to manage and oversee the old Big East's FBS football program as well as its nationally recognized men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The selection committee was chaired by James Madison President Jonathan R. Alger.