Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Connecticut's Mike Aresco Named Big East Commish

Middletown native and Southport resident Mike Aresco has been named the Big East's fourth commissioner. Aresco is also a graduate of UConn's law school.

There will be a press conference in New York City tomorrow. For now, here's what the Big East has to say:

                 Aresco will assume Commissioner’s duties in early September.

“The search to identify the new Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference was truly an international search,” said Greg Williams, University of Cincinnati President and Chair of the Commissioner Search Committee. “We had many outstanding candidates, but we are fortunate to have Mike Aresco as our new Commissioner. His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge in intercollegiate athletics will continue to move the BIG EAST forward on a successful path. The BIG EAST has enjoyed a great history. Mike Aresco will help assure the conference of a vibrant future.”

“The search committee identified some truly outstanding candidates and we are most pleased that Mike Aresco will be the person who will take the BIG EAST to future success,” said Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President and Chair of the BIG EAST CEO Executive Committee. “He has all of the characteristics that we need in a Commissioner. His career has been filled with achievement and success in intercollegiate sports. Mike Aresco knows the BIG EAST and he has a great vision for our future.”

“The Presidents have acted very responsibly,” said Interim Commissioner Joe Bailey. “They have appointed a leader with integrity, intelligence and energy. Bravo!”

At CBS Sports, Aresco has been responsible for all college programming for the Network. In addition, he has been involved with the strategic development of CBS Sports Network programming. He joined CBS Sports as Vice President, Programming, in 1996 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000 and named Executive Vice President, Programming in 2008. He is responsible for managing the division’s college sports properties, including contract negotiations and future acquisitions for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, regular-season college basketball and football bowl games. He also has been responsible for administering the network’s various NCAA properties.

Aresco was instrumental in negotiating the CBS Television Network’s current landmark agreement with the NCAA granting CBS Sports and Turner Sports exclusive rights to the NCAA Men’s Basketball through 2024 and the Network’s historic 15-year deal with the SEC.

Before CBS Sports, Aresco worked at ESPN where he was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, scheduling and development of long-term strategies for all of ESPN and ESPN2 college sports properties. He joined ESPN in 1984 and was named Assistant General Counsel in 1988 before moving to the ESPN programming department.

Aresco is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Tufts University (B.A., magna cum laude, history); the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (M.A., international relations), where he held a John Moors Cabot Fellowship, and the University of Connecticut Law School (J.D.).

A native of Middletown, Conn., Aresco lives in Southport, Conn., with his wife Sharon. They have two sons, Matthew, who operates his own television production company and Brett, an aspiring actor in New York City.

During an extensive search process, Russell Reynolds Associates and the BIG EAST met with many individuals, and regardless of their interest in the position, all provided valuable insight and were instrumental to the search and the decision made by the BIG EAST. Russell Reynolds would like to thank all of the individuals it spoke with for their willingness and enthusiasm to participate in the process, and Russell Reynolds was pleased to assist the BIG EAST in naming their new Commissioner.

Looks like a good choice to me, particularly with his background in television. The league's negotiations for a  new TV contract are critical to its long-term survival. And, let's be honest -- since the resignation of Mike Tranghese a few years ago, there was nowhere to go but up with this hire.

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