March 9, 2008
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Jamie Zaninovich was introduced as the West Coast Conference Commissioner Sunday as selected by the league's eight school presidents. Zaninovich, currently the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at Princeton University, will replace Michael Gilleran who announced in September that he will leave his post on May 31 after 24 years of service in that capacity.
Zaninovich, who has spent the last five years at Princeton, is responsible for all revenue-generating and external relations activities for the university's 38-team varsity athletic department.
He began his career in athletic administration at his alma mater, Stanford University, playing an integral role in the school's national ascent in men's basketball as a strategist for all aspects of the program. He spent two years as Senior Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Planning and Men's Basketball Operations after earning his MBA from the Stanford Business School in 2001.
"Jamie has shown an ability to make immediate and significant contributions at every stop along his career path," said Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., President of the University of Portland and chair of the WCC President's Council. "With his knowledge of the current collegiate athletics landscape, and specific experience in cultivating a national reputation in the sport of basketball, we are confident that Jamie is the right person to raise the conference profile to unprecedented levels."
Among his most notable accomplishments at Princeton was negotiating a national television agreement with ESPN, the only such agreement in the Ivy League. He also created a prevalent brand identity for Princeton Athletics and managed a licensing program supported by a national trademark management firm.
His ties to the collegiate basketball sector were cultivated further while working under long-time Princeton Director of Athletics Gary Walters, who served five years on the NCAA Division I men's basketball committee, including the committee chair during the 2006-07 season.
Zaninovich's rapid ascent through Stanford's administration came after earning his bachelor's degree in political science and communications in 1993. After spending two years working as a producer for Sports Byline USA, a nationally syndicated sports radio network, Zaninovich spent one year as a financial analyst before returning to Stanford.
As the sport administrator for the Cardinal men's basketball program from 2001-03, Zaninovich formulated plans for marketing, fundraising and community relations programs, while managing media rights and ensuring compliance. He was a key member responsible for the planning of a $30 million renovation to Maples Pavilion.
Prior to his post-graduate studies, Zaninovich served as Stanford's Marketing and Operations Director for Men's Basketball for three seasons (1996-99). His efforts in that position saw significant annual increases in fundraising, season ticket sales and overall ticket revenue.
"With administrative experience at two of the most academically respected institutions in the nation, Jamie knows the importance and merit of academics and how student-athletes are an extension of academia," Beauchamp noted. "Our conference prides itself on integrity both in the classroom and in athletic competition, and Jamie is well-versed in both areas."
A native of Eugene, Ore., Zaninovich also worked in marketing and business development for Quokkasports/NBCOlympics.com, helping produce the official web site of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and formulating online and offline marketing initiatives for the event.