Haney Expected to Get PCAA Job : Missouri Valley Commissioner May Be Named This Week

Times Staff Writer

James A. Haney, commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference, will be named commissioner of the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. at a press conference later this week, according to sources close to the selection process.

Dennis Farrell, an assistant commissioner for eight years and the acting commissioner since Lewis Cryer resigned in December, was a close second for the position and will be asked to stay as the No. 2 man with a new title and increased responsibilities and salary, one source said.

Haney, 39, has been commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference for two years. He would not confirm or deny the report.

“I’m still very interested in the job, but that’s all I can say,” Haney said by telephone from Peoria, Ill., where Bradley played Indiana State for the Missouri Valley Conference championship Tuesday night.


The Missouri Valley Conference was on shaky ground in the mid-1980s after New Mexico State and West Texas State withdrew. Many credit Haney’s leadership for holding the conference together. He increased revenues and obtained the first national television exposure for the 81-year-old conference when ESPN televised five MVC games last season.

In March of 1978, Haney became the youngest college coach in the country when he accepted the head coaching job at Oregon. He held that position until 1983. He worked for the University of Kansas and the Dallas Cowboys briefly before being named assistant commissioner of the Metro Conference in 1983.

Haney grew up in Pittsburgh and played basketball for three years (1968-71) at Penn. The Quakers were 68-12 during those three seasons, but Haney wasn’t the biggest factor in their success. He scored just 59 points during his college career.

He became a graduate assistant at Oregon for the 1971-72 season and served as a full-time assistant from 1972 until he was named head coach.

The PCAA Council, meeting Tuesday in Inglewood, agreed that more study was needed before changing the conference’s name to Big West or Wild West.

A majority of conference officials believe the PCAA has a name recognition problem and feel a name change would be appropriate. It’s also a factor that New Mexico State, Utah State and Nevada Las Vegas are hardly “Pacific Coast” locales.

The PCAA Council could make the name change in its next meeting in May.