Voices of the Big East: Dave Gavitt Edition

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on January 7th, 2012

Voices of the Big East is an ongoing feature intended to capture the essence of the conference through the words of those involved and those impacted. This will come in the form of quotes, tweets, videos and anything else we feel like sticking in here. It’s perfect for you multitasking short attention-spanners. If you find something you think is a candidate for this feature send it to us and we might even give you credit!

He Paved the Way

Among his countless accomplishments, Dave Gavitt, a true visionary, founded the greatest basketball conference ever assembled.  Gavitt sadly passed away in September.  On Wednesday the City of Providence, home of the Big East and place where Gavitt took Providence College to the Final Four as a coach, fittingly renamed a street in his honor “Dave Gavitt Way.”

Gavitt Was a Trail Blazer Who Impacted the Lives of Many (Photo by Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal)

“We were blown away. We are humbled and honored and really touched that our father will be remembered in this special way. That this road leads up to The Dunk (Dunkin Donuts Center, home of Providence College Basketball) is great.”

“It’s fitting that it’s Dave Gavitt Way because we all knew that Dave Gavitt got his way.”

-Dan Gavitt, Dave’s son and Big East associate commissioner for basketball. (Providence Journal)

“He made us all, and he did it in a way that never hurt anybody’s feelings ever, and was respected by every side. He’s the greatest man I’ve ever known, and we owe everything to him. Everything.”

-Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim (Associated Press) 

“I was fortunate to know Dave Gavitt for 25 years and he always treated people with respect. His visionary skills made him paint the future of Eastern basketball and the NCAA Tournament but he was no Big Shot. He always made time for you, looked you in the eye and made you like him. That is a gift few own.”

-Kevin McNamara, Providence Journal sports writer who has covered Providence basketball 22 years. (Quote direct to RTC Big East. Thank you Kevin.)

“He’s really one of the most significant people in college sports the last 30 or 40 years.” 

-Jim Delany, commissioner of the Big Ten at time of Gavitt’s death.    (24sportsnews.com) 

We See Gavitt's Legacy Every Day (Photo from Bigeast.org)

In His Own Words

No Big East voice was more significant than Dave Gavitt’s.  He will never be forgotten.

“We were so fortunate in so many ways at the outset. We put together a solid foundation with a good plan, but we were fortunate to have four coaches who were going to be at their schools for a long time in John Thompson, Louie Carnesecca, Jimmy Boeheim and Rollie Massimino, and having them stay in place was very significant.”

“I would like to say that the way the whole idea was hatched in my head, that’s  exactly how I envisioned it: boom, boom, boom, a couple of years we have the whole Final Four. Of course, we had some great coaches, some great players and some  great timing. It was like a perfect storm that broke just so for us. But it was an unbelievable time.”

-Dave Gavitt on the success of the Big East. (Legacy.com and New York Post respectively)

“I gave up coaching too young for two reasons. My children were growing up and Xavier McDaniel said to me, ‘You’re like a Jamaican, you’re always working two jobs. And I knew I couldn’t get the league going and continue to coach.”

-Gavitt reflecting on his decision to pursue the development of the Big East. (New York Post)

Patrick Prendergast (74 Posts)

Twitter: @FriarFrenzy

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