Saturday, September 17, 2011

Calhoun on the Passing of Dave Gavitt

Statement from UConn Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun:

“Dave will be missed incredibly by me as a mentor and friend. He was always such a big picture guy and he has done more for the sport of basketball than anyone in my lifetime. His impact on athletics in the Eastern part of the country is immeasurable and the BIG EAST Conference, created through his vision and foresight, has taken all of us to a place that we never could have imagined.

It is especially sad, considering today is certainly one of those days, with everything in the news about our league, I would love nothing more than to call him and ask him simply, 'what do you think and what should we do.' Sadly, we cannot do that.”

Personally, I'll never forget when UConn hosted Texas two seasons ago at Gampel Pavilion, and Gavitt was in attendance. He was recognized during a timeout and received a nice ovation from the crowd, most of whom may not have realized how instrumental he was to the Big East's success (or what poor health he was in at the time).

After the game, Texas coach Rick Barnes -- whose team had just suffered a disheartening loss -- was moved to tears just talking about how nice it was to be able to see Gavitt earlier that day and talk to him briefly.

"Obviously, we want to win basketball games," Barnes, his voice breaking and his eyes welling with tears, said during his postgame presser, "but coming up here today and having a chance to see Dave Gavitt is everything. I'd take a loss to see him."

People like Barnes -- a former coach at Providence, where Gavitt had his greatest success as a coach and where he later mentored Barnes -- and, obviously, Calhoun, realize what a great and important man Gavitt was in the history of college basketball.

He will be greatly missed.

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