NCAA president Myles Brand died Wednesday after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Brand, 67, was diagnosed with the disease in January.
Though former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk famously crusaded against Brand for years over the NCAA’s relationship with baseball, American Baseball Coaches Association executive director Dave Keilitz has long maintained that Brand is a great ally for the sport. Last year there was some momentum on the Board of Directors to reduce baseball’s games from 56 to 52 or 50, but Brand assured coaches he would fight to ensure they kept 56 games, and they did. Brand further showed his support to the coaches by appearing and speaking at a coaches summit in Indianapolis last November.
"I thought his talk was the most significant thing of the whole event," Keilitz said last November. "What the coaches heard and saw was, ‘Wow, we’ve got somebody here at the very top that cares for us and supports us.’ That’s the message he conveyed, and I think the coaches felt very, very good about that."
Brand has been the NCAA’s president since 2003.
"Myles Brand was a dear friend and a great academic leader. He was a tireless advocate for the student-athlete," Georgia president Michael Adams, the chair of the NCAA executive committee, said in a statement. "Indeed, he worked to ensure that the student was first in the student-athlete model. He will be greatly missed."
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