On September 22, college commissioners gathered in Chicago. On the same date in Providence, Rhode Island, Dave Gavitt, former Big East commissioner and one of the iconic leaders in college sports, was buried. Amidst the irony of two charter Big East members, Pitt and Syracuse, leaving for the ACC, Dave Gavitt’s presence was felt among the commissioners in Chicago.
I had the distinct pleasure of working with Dave for a brief time as an ACC staff member. Gene Corrigan, ACC Commissioner at the time, and Gavitt believed that an early December televised basketball series might fill a sports programing void and also call attention to the growing programs in the still new Big East while underscoring the quality in the more established ACC.
The ACC/BE challenge was born. Future Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese and I were directed to run it, and it was a successful event from 1989 - 1991. The event would not have happened without Dave Gavitt.
It would be a mistake for me to say that Dave Gavitt and I were long-time, close personal friends, but he had a distinct impact on me professionally. Dave believed in people and values and although an intense competitor, he never allowed winning to trump personal relationships.
He influenced people through other people, and for many, his presence was felt and lessons learned through the Big East staff, the NCAA staff, NCAA men’s basketball committee members, executives at ESPN and CBS, and the CCA.
Dave’s thinking, character and values still reside in many “rooms” and with many people, and I still work in many of those rooms and with many of those people. Dave helped shape much of my thinking on the evolution of our enterprise and of our league.
We will miss Dave Gavitt. Our business and The Horizon League are better because of him. To his wife, Julie and son’s Corey and Dan, and to the entire Gavitt family, we send our condolences.
Tags: Horizon League - All Sports