INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA hired Indiana University president Myles Brand as its president and chief executive Thursday, ending a seven-month search for a new leader.
Brand will assume his new duties Jan. 1 and his contract will run through 2007.
Brand, 60, has been president at the university in Bloomington since 1994 and was the man who oversaw Bob Knight's firing as the school's basketball coach in September 2000.
''I look forward to a very productive time at the NCAA,'' Brand said. ''A lot of good activity is already in place, but I also look forward to being a change agent.''
The NCAA interviewed 11 candidates for the position. Brand was one of three finalists interviewed Thursday by the NCAA Executive Committee. The NCAA did not disclose the identities of the other finalists, but said at least one was a minority.
The decision was unanimous, said Robert Lawless, chairman of the Executive Committee and president of the University of Tulsa. He said choosing a university president sends a message that the NCAA is interested in the academic success of student-athletes.
''He's a proven educational leader,'' Lawless said, adding Knight's dismissal had nothing to do with Brand's selection, though it did demonstrate his leadership abilities.
On Thursday, Brand called the situation with Knight ''a learning experience,'' but didn't dwell on the issue.
Brand said he would resign from his position at Indiana.
''I believe the IU community will be very surprised,'' he said.
Brand said he did not seek the NCAA position but was nominated for it and became involved in the search earlier this year.
He said he did not know who nominated him.
Brand will succeed Cedric W. Dempsey, who is retiring after serving as president since 1994. During his tenure, the title was changed from executive director to president to reflect the NCAA's direction.
Dempsey announced in January that he would retire at the end of his term at the close of this year. The NCAA executive committee hired Baker-Parker, an Atlanta-based firm, to help screen candidates. The NCAA said there were 118 candidates for the position.
Lawless said the search committee did not make a recommendation to the executive committee among the finalists.
Brand gained national attention when he fired Knight after 29 seasons and three national championships at Indiana for violations of a zero-tolerance policy that university officials had imposed four months earlier.
A few months later Brand called for wide reforms of college athletics during a speech before the National Press Club.
Brand said then it was time to scale back the basketball and football ''arms race'' that he said has become a ''threat to the academic integrity'' of universities.
''We are not sports franchises,'' Brand said. ''I do not want to turn off the game. I just want to lower the volume.''
Brand called in his speech for ''academics first'' solutions, led by college presidents, to the problems of overcommercialization, poor graduation rates and questionable academic standards used for athletes.
Brand also suggested limiting the dates and times games can be played, the number of television timeouts and the amount of advertising permitted in a college arena, including on uniforms.
Brand went to Indiana from the University of Oregon, where he was president from 1989 to 1994. At Indiana, Brand served as chief executive of a Big Ten Conference school with eight campuses, nearly 100,000 students, 17,00 employees and a budget of $3.4 billion.
He was chairman of the board of directors of the Association of American Universities and served on the board of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.
Knight was hired by Texas Tech six months after being fired at Indiana.
Randy Farley, sports information director for basketball at Texas Tech, said Knight was out of town Thursday night and could not be reached for comment.
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