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SBD/September 19, 2011/People and Pop Culture
Influential Basketball Pioneer Dave Gavitt, Who Founded The Big East, Dies At 73
Published September 19, 2011
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A GIANT AMONG MEN: In Boston, Bob Ryan wrote Gavitt was "perhaps the single most important non-playing figure in college basketball over a 20-year period." As the founder of the Big East, he "changed the entire landscape of Eastern college basketball." Ryan: "I can only imagine how much it hurt him to see his creation eventually hijacked by football, and what a sad turn of events to have Syracuse and Pitt applying for admission to the ACC on the very day he died. But were it not for Dave Gavitt, there would have been nothing to hijack." Meanwhile, Gavitt was "an American leader in the realm of international basketball," and it "eventually led to his becoming head of USA Basketball." Gavitt was scheduled to be the head coach of the '80 Moscow Olympic team, but the U.S. boycotted those Games (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18). In Providence, Bill Reynolds writes under the header, "Gavitt Was A Game-Changer At Every Level" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 9/19). The AP's Jim O'Connell wrote, "From a career as a successful coach to changing the face of college sports to introducing the Olympics to a Dream Team, Gavitt's touch was everywhere" (AP, 9/18). In N.Y., Richard Goldstein wrote Gavitt "envisioned a time when major basketball colleges in the East would draw on big-city television and marketing opportunities to create a high-profile league, bringing enhanced revenue and the recruitment of star high school players" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote Gavitt's career "was full of landmark achievements," and PC "named its court at the Dunkin' Donuts Center after him as a tribute" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).