Susan O’Malley, the innovative president of the Washington Wizards, and the first and only female president of an NBA team, is resigning from the post, according to the Associated Press.

She inherited a struggling franchise that was having trouble attracting and keeping fans, but she was able to turn around the team’s fortunes over her 16-year tenure. “Susan has been my right hand through the past 20 years and has helped guide the fortunes of our company,” Abe Pollin, owner of the Wizard, told AP. “She has simply been fantastic in every way, from the moment she came here to the present, and I will always be thankful for her guidance and leadership.” . . .

O’Malley became known around the league for her unique season ticket packages and in-game promotions.
“I thought if we did some creative things, whether it was a wedding at halftime, or shoot a basket to pay your taxes, we could get more fans to the game,” O’Malley told AP. “I just tried to break through the noise. I just tried to stand out.”

She says she plans to take time before deciding what to do next. In addition to the Wizards, O’Malley also ran the business operations of the Washington Capitals hockey team for a while, and recently earned a law degree from Georgetown University. for four years until Pollin sold the team in 1999. Her contract with the Wizards expires June 30, but she said she will remain an adviser with the team through the 10th anniversary celebration of the Verizon Center in December.

“Nobody believes me when I tell them I have no idea,” She told AP. “It’s going to be hard to find something that challenges me like this gig.”

Last Updated on March 17, 2009