Last year the Big Ten conference passed on Jim Phillips for their league commissioner job, opting instead to give former NFL executive and attorney Kevin Warren a crack at the spot. But the B1G’s loss has become the Atlantic Coast Conference’s gain, as they’ve signed up the veteran athletic director for the same position. 

According to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, Phillips has agreed to oversee the fifteen team league stretching up and down the Atlantic seaboard, and the league’s board of governors has agreed to it. Phillips will replace John Swofford, who is retiring after 23 years as the league’s commish. 

Phillips has been for many years one of the most respected athletic directors in both the Big Ten and the United States. He is rated an expert on the business and culture of college athletics and his experience running athletics at a high-level academic institution like Northwestern is considered a strength heading into his new position.

The ACC features several public universities, like Virginia and North Carolina, and several private schools, like Duke and Wake Forest, that are amongst the top academic institutions in the country. The conference also has the University of Notre Dame as a member in every sport but football, and considers itself a high-integrity scholastic league in addition to a competitive member of the Power Five conferences. 

Phillips has overseen by far the most successful stretch of athletics in the two major sports in the history of Northwestern University. The men’s basketball team made its first ever, and to date only, appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Phillips, and the football team has been consistently tough for more than a decade under head coach, and former star player, Pat Fitzgerald. 

While the Big Ten may be left wondering for years if they let the right man get away, the ACC will be the beneficiary of that decision as Phillips takes over as head of the conference.