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Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans to Leave Company

Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans is stepping down from her post in June, officials from the college conference said Thursday

Murphy-Stephans, who became the first woman to head a national sports network when she was named president of the Pac-12 Networks in 2013, will look to launch a media advisory company later in the year while remaining a consultant to the Pac-12 Networks.

During her tenure, Murphy-Stephans, a former Olympic speed skater, oversaw the development of the Pac-12 Networks -- consisting of one national and six regional networks -- which in total produced some 850 live events a year. While company officials said it has expanded its carriage agreements under Murphy-Stephans to more than 75 national providers, the group has not been able to secure distribution with the industry’s largest satellite-TV provider, DirecTV. It does have carriage on Dish Network and today cited increased carriage by original affiliates Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, the latter two now part of Charter Communications.

RELATED: Sling TV Adds Pac-12 Networks, Starz Nets, Does Windows 10

“As Pac-12 Networks’ first general manager, Lydia’s energy and leadership were critical in turning our ambitious vision into a reality,” said Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Then, upon becoming Networks president, she made history by becoming the first woman to head a national sports network. Under Lydia’s leadership, Pac-12 Networks grew dramatically both in programming and distribution reach, serving millions of our fans, helping to support our member universities, and providing unprecedented exposure to our women and Olympic student-athletes.”

Added Murphy-Stephans: Now, with Pac-12 Networks firmly established and successful, it’s the perfect time for me to launch my new business and explore all kinds of opportunities across the media landscape.”

The Pac-12 schools are: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.