From one front office to another, Kevin Warren's rise in the sporting world is taking its next step as the Vikings' chief operating officer has been named the sixth commissioner in big Ten history.
Reports of Warren's hiring arose Monday, with the power conference making it official on Tuesday at a press conference.
Warren, who has spent the past 15 years with the Vikings, will take over the Big Ten as soon as current commissioner Jim Delaney steps down in June 2020.
"I'm just speechless," Warren said Tuesday. "It will definitely be a challenge, but my entire life has been about challenges and overcoming challenges and I am so happy and overwhelmed to stand before you today."
Warren, 55, is leaving his position with the Vikings as the highest-ranking black executive in the NFL, but he's now the first black commissioner of a power conference (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12).
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf issued a statement in support of Warren's career move, calling his impact on the NFL franchise "immeasurable."
"Kevin has impacted the Vikings and our family in immeasurable ways over the last 15 years. He has worked tirelessly to elevate the Vikings franchise, all with the greater good of the organization and Minneapolis-St. Paul in mind.
"From the very onset, Kevin helped us navigate and execute the purchase of the franchise. He then evolved as a leader of the organization in ways we never could have imagined, leading our vision for U.S. Bank Stadium and TCO Performance Center, developing a world-class fan experience, and implementing many initiatives that have transformed our franchise with the benefit of our employees and Vikings fans top of mind.
"Kevin has been a tremendous leader for the Vikings and he and his family have been passionately and intricately involved in the community, enhancing the lives of so many people.
"We know the Big Ten and their student-athletes, coaches, and administrators are extremely fortunate to have his leadership, character, and vision, and we wish Kevin and the Warren family all the best. We will work with Kevin and the Vikings management team over the next three months to help us through this transition and process how we want to move forward."