Click Here For Photo Montage Celebrating The Life Of Brenda Weare
Brenda Weare, the Commissioner of the Northeast Conference, passed away on Saturday, June 13th after a courageous battle with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She was 51 years old.
Born and raised in Denver, CO, Weare was a longtime collegiate athletic administrator who began her tenure as Northeast Conference Commissioner in August, 2006. Just the third commissioner in league history, she immediately made her mark by instituting a number of new programs aimed at upgrading the caliber of the league's championship sports and enhancing the opportunities and experiences for the more than 4,000 student-athletes that compete in the conference. In one of her proudest achievements, she helped the Conference realize a longtime goal of gaining automatic access to the NCAA Division I Football Championship beginning in 2010. She was also instrumental in securing Bryant as the NEC's 12th full-time member, spearheaded the conference's new Strategic Plan and implemented a new league-wide sportsmanship policy. In her tenure, the conference moved into new office space, launched a host of new-media initiatives, was awarded one of 17 grants nationwide as part of the newly designed NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Grant Program, signed a three-year agreement to sponsor the Legends Classic basketball tournament, announced bowling and men's lacrosse as new league sports, added ESPNU as a broadcast partner, forged a partnership with the New York Times and continued to enrich NEC championships through upgraded student-athlete gifts, awards, and sport-specific merchandise. Just recently, the NEC Commissioner's Cup was renamed in her honor.
In October, 2008, Weare was honored by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) with its inaugural NACWAA Award of Distinction. Additionally, the Brenda Weare NACWAA Leadership Scholarship has also been established in her honor. She was also the recipient of the All-American Football Foundation Outstanding Associate Commissioner Award and USA Volleyball Robert Lindsay Meritorious Service Award in 2001.
Weare's extensive background in athletic administration included more than 20 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics. Prior to her appointment at the NEC, she served as Senior Associate Commissioner of Conference USA where she was responsible for championships administration, sportsmanship and sport committees. During her tenure from 1995-03, Weare was also a member of the Conference USA Planning Committee responsible for the development of the league's Strategic Plan, Mission Statement, Guiding Principles and Statements on Diversity and Gender Equity. Weare served as the league's Interim Commissioner for a five-month period in 2002.
Proactive in NCAA governance throughout her distinguished career, Weare most recently served on the NCAA Leadership Council. She also held positions NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet, the NACWAA Board of Directors, NCAA Council, NCAA Interpretations Committee, NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification and the NCAA Women's Volleyball Rules Committee. Weare was also a former chair and member of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Committee. In that capacity, she introduced legislation that led to the adoption of the 30-point rally scoring system in 2001.
Prior to joining Conference USA, Weare enjoyed a stint as Assistant Commissioner of the Great Midwest Conference from 1990-95 and worked in Compliance Services at the NCAA from 1988-90. In 1989, she helped draft the legislation and oversaw the pilot program that resulted in the creation of the NCAA Division I Certification process. She was also the Athletic Director and women's volleyball coach at Mundelein College in Chicago from 1984-88.
Weare graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Arts. She received a Master's degree in Athletic Administration from the University of Iowa in 1984. While at Wisconsin, she was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball.
Weare wore her passion for intercollegiate athletics on her sleeve. Her dedication and commitment to making an impact on the lives of student-athletes was evident to all who knew her and will serve as one of her lasting legacies. She will be sorely missed by her family, friends, colleagues and all who had a chance to cross her path.
Weare is survived by her partner, Donna Moore; her parents, Juanita and Walter; her brother, Brett; and sister in law, Carol.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Brenda's honor to Cycle For Survival - Weare Fighting Cancer, by completing the form found at the link below and mailing it to the following address:
Cycle For Survival
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Contributions may also be made to the newly established Brenda Weare NACWAA Leadership Scholarship fund.
Donations may be made to the following address:
Brenda Weare NACWAA Leadership Scholarship
c/o NACWAA National Office
5018 Randall Parkway, Suite 3
Wilmington, NC 28403