Carol Stiff has a long affiliation with basketball. She was a three-sport athlete in high school before being recruited to play basketball at Southern CT State College. After her graduation, Stiff coached at the collegiate level.
Perhaps this love of the game led Stiff to ESPN where she is currently the Director of Programming and Acquisitions. In that capacity, she had the opportunity to shape and influence the rapid growth of women’s basketball and the press coverage it receives.
A few highlights of Stiffs’s tenure at ESPN include: (1) Her creation of the 1995 Martin Luther King Day match-up between #1 Tennessee and #2 UCONN. This annual battle remains one of the top rivalries in all college sports; (2) Her work with the USA Basketball National Team enroute to its path to Olympic gold in 1996; (3) The launching of the WNBA on NBC/ESPN/Lifetime; (4) The contract extension which allows ESPN to produce all of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship games; (5) The 2004 NCAA Women’s Championship Game in New Orleans between UCONN and Tennessee remains the most viewed college basketball game, men’s or women’s, in ESPN’s history!
Stiff’s “tireless commitment” to women’s basketball has been acknowledged by the WNBA and by those of us who have been able to enjoy so many exciting NCAA tournament and regular-season games through the years.