C. Edward Ed Schumer, 60, a small business consultant and former longtime NCAA basketball official, has signed on to lead the league following its re-establishment as an independent operation. The PBL had merged with another league prior to the 2013 season, but the merger dissolved before the end of the season when the former PBL teams decided the merger was no longer viable.
Schumer, a St. Louis native, is a principal in the ThomasSchumerGroup, a small-business consulting firm based in Lexington, Ill. Schumer plans to utilize the resources of ThomasSchumerGroup to ensure the leagues success.
I am honored to have been selected to serve as the Commissioner of the Premier Basketball League, and excited to be able to continue the outstanding development of this great organization, Schumer said. One of my company's philosophies has always been to help others follow their passions and to do good while helping others, and I feel we bring that attitude and approach to the league.
Only one team can lift the trophy at the end of the year, but every team can build a successful operation both on and off the court, Schumer continued. Minor League basketball is, without a doubt, a passion for all of the team owners, and the PBL philosophy of community involvement for all of the teams impressed me. Our goal will be to help our owners succeed at what they love, knowing we are making a difference in each of their communities. By doing that, we will continue to grow the PBL as the preeminent minor basketball league in the U.S.," Schumer said.
In addition to having more than forty years of business experience, Schumer is also well-versed in sports. He brings thirty-plus years of officiating experience at the semi-pro and collegiate levels, including more than twenty years as an NCAA Division I basketball referee, working hundreds of Big 8 and Missouri Valley games. He was also selected to work three NCAA tournaments, and was assigned to work numerous National Invitation Tournaments. He has also served as the commissioner of an NAIA Division I conference.
Joining Schumer in the PBL front office as Director of Communications and Compliance is Craig Fata, 41, of Normal, Ill. Fata joins the PBL after serving as the Director of Operations and play-by-play broadcaster for the Bloomington Flex, winners of PBL championships in 2012 and 2013. Prior to that, he provided radio play-by-play and color commentary for the Bloomington Edge/Bloomington Extreme indoor football team for seven years, as well as sideline commentary for Illinois State University football. He has been from New York to Fairbanks, Alaska covering major college and professional minor league teams, giving him a great deal of insight on team and league operations.
His career also includes work as a full-time radio news anchor/reporter and news director. He also spent more than ten years with the Normal (Ill.) Fire Department as Public Education/Information officer, and then worked as the Media Relations Manager for the Illinois Farm Bureau, handling social media and executive communications, before starting his own business.
Schumer and Fata will be assisted by Penny Riddle, who joins the PBL as Administrative Executive. Riddle, of Gridley, Ill., enjoyed a long career as an executive/legal secretary before starting her own business.