Donna Orender Named President of the WNBA
Orender was an All-American basketball player at Queens College of New York and played professionally for the New York Stars, New Jersey Gems and Chicago Hustle of the Women's Basketball League (WBL) where she was an All-Star. She entered the business of sports, and for the past seventeen years has been associated with the PGA TOUR where she has overseen worldwide management of PGA TOUR television and production, advertising, brand management and integration. She was also responsible for the PGA TOUR new media and internet business.
"Our search for a candidate to follow and capitalize on Val Ackerman's extraordinary tenure quickly focused on Donna," said Stern. "She combines a background, knowledge, and passion for the sport of basketball with a record of demonstrated expertise and success in every aspect of the business of sports: television, marketing, sponsorship and new media. As the WNBA enters its record-setting ninth season, I am confident that we have found the ideal executive to lead it through growth, expansion, and profitability while maintaining its iconic status in redefining what is possible for young women who wish to pursue careers in professional team sports."
"I am thrilled to return to the sport of basketball which has taught me so much and has assisted me in developing the skills necessary to succeed in the world of business," said Orender. "I am fortunate to have worked with the Commissioner Tim Finchem, the great players and my wonderful colleagues at the PGA TOUR. Now I am looking forward to a new challenge -- working together with the extraordinary athletes of the WNBA and the talented professionals of the NBA and WNBA who have turned my and others' dream of a successful women's basketball league into the monumental success of the WNBA."
Orender, who will assume her new position in April, is a 1978 graduate of Queens College in New York and currently resides in Jacksonville Beach Florida. She is married to M.G. Orender, Honorary President of the PGA of America and owner/partner in Hampton Golf, Inc. She has twin boys, Jacob and Zachary and two stepchildren, Morgan and Colleen.
In 2004, for the sixth consecutive season, more than 2 million fans attended
WNBA games and three consecutive WNBA Finals sellout crowds - a league record
- witnessed the Seattle Storm defeat the Connecticut Sun to capture its first
WNBA Championship. The WNBA will tip off its ninth season Saturday, May 21,
2005 with a full slate of exciting match-ups, including ABC's broadcast of the
defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm against reigning MVP Lisa Leslie and the
Los Angeles Sparks at Key Arena beginning at 4 p.m. EDT. Opening day will also
pit the 2004 WNBA runner-up Connecticut Sun vs. the Detroit Shock at the Palace
of Auburn Hills, the Houston Comets vs. the San Antonio Silver Stars at the
SBC Center, the Phoenix Mercury against the Sacramento Monarchs at America West
Arena and the Charlotte Sting hosting the Washington Mystics at the Charlotte