The following is a list of all men who have held the position of CBA Commissioner or League President in the CBA’s 60-year history.
- 1946-1955 – William D. Morgan
Morgan was the EPBL’s first commissioner, and was the person responsible for the league’s initial stability. In the early years of the league, he had to deal with players who tried to suit up for different teams in different leagues, and with teams that moved or folded in the middle of the season.
- 1955-1970 – Harry Rudolph
Harry Rudolph was the father of famed NBA referee Mendy Rudolph. He originally participated in the Eastern League as the Commissioner of Officials (sometimes calling games with his son Mendy); then became the league Vice-President under William D. Morgan.
- 1970-1975 – William Montzman
Montzman was the owner of the Allentown Jets. During his presidency, the league actually shrank from 9 teams to four squads over a short period of time.
- 1975-1978 – Steve Kauffman
Attorney Steve Kauffman became commissioner when the EBA was down to four teams for the 1975-76 season. Through his aggressive marketing and recruiting, the Eastern League blossomed to ten teams by the late 1970’s.
- 1978-1986 – James Drucker
Drucker was the son of NBA referee Norm Drucker, and was hired as Assistant Commissioner under Kauffman. Under Jim Drucker’s commissionership, the league changed its name to the Continental Basketball Association. Drucker also instituted the 7-point scoring system, as well as the first CBA-NBA working agreements. He also produced the CBA’s television broadcasts. After his commissionership ended in 1986, Drucker later became the commissioner of the Arena Football League.
- 1986-1987 – Carl Scheer
Scheer helped the CBA develop a television contract with ESPN, broadcasting several regular season and playoff contests with the network. Scheer served only one year as commissioner before taking the position of Vice-President of Basketball Operations with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
- 1987-1988 – Mike Storen
Storen was formerly the commissioner of the ABA, and also worked in later years as the president of the Atlanta Hawks.
- 1988-1989 – Jay Ramsdell
At 13 years old in 1978, Jay Ramsdell was the statistician for the Maine Lumberjacks. He later worked his way up the CBA ladder, serving as deputy commissioner under Jim Drucker, Carl Scheer and Mike Storen. His tenure as league commissioner was too brief; on July 19, 1989, Ramsdell and deputy commissioner Jerry Schemmel were on a flight to attend the CBA college draft in Columbus, when their plane, United Airlines flight 232, crashed in Sioux City, Iowa. Ramsdell was 25 years old. The CBA playoff championship trophy was renamed the Jay Ramsdell Trophy in his honor and memory.
- 1989-1990 – Jerry Schemmel
Schemmel survived the plane crash and was named acting commissioner upon Ramsdell’s death. Schemmel had previously worked with the CBA’s Kansas City Sizzlers franchise.
- 1990-1991 – Irv Kaze
Before Kaze took the position of CBA Commissioner, he had spent eight years with the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders, including their 1983 Super Bowl championship season.
- 1991-1993 – Terdema L. Ussery II
The first African-American ever elected as commissioner of a major professional sports league, Ussery’s contribution to the CBA has been a program that allowed CBA players, after their basketball careers were over, to return to college and get their bachelor’s degrees. Under Ussery’s tenure, the CBA became a member of USA Basketball, the sport’s national governing body. Ussery also instituted a comprehensive drug treatment and education program for players in conjunction with the John Lucas Treatment and Recovery Center. Ussery left the CBA for a position with Nike; he currently is the President and CEO of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
- 1993-1994 – Mark Lamping
During Lamping’s term as CBA Commissioner, the CBA hosted the Magic Johnson All-Stars touring team. Lamping later left the CBA and became the president of the St. Louis Cardinals.
- 1994-1996 – Tom Valdiserri
After two seasons as CBA Commissioner, Valdiserri left to become the senior vice president for entertainment and alliances for The Marketing Store in Chicago.
- 1996-1998 – Steve Patterson
Patterson was the first CBA commissioner with NBA playing experience. He spent five years in the 1980’s as a center for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- 1998-1999 – Gary Hunter
Before his first term as commissioner of the CBA, Gary “Bear” Hunter was both a practicing attorney and the director of athletics at the University of Kansas.
- 1999-2000 – Isiah Thomas
Thomas was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at this time. Gary Hunter became his advisor.
- 2000-2001 – Don Welsh
Welsh joined the CBA in March 2000 during the time when Isiah Thomas had to put the league in a blind trust, as Thomas had accepted an offer to coach the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
- 2001-2006 – Gary Hunter
Hunter returned as CBA Commissioner until 2006, when he left the league to operate the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Develompental League.