Reports surfaced last month that the Big East had hired Russell Reynolds Associates as a search firm to identify candidates to succeed acting commissioner Joe Bailey. It appears that Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino wants to offer a recommendation too.
On his blog today, Pitino posted a response to a question he hears a lot these days: What's the future of the Big East?
"Leadership, leadership, leadership."
Pitino went on to offer some thoughts about the qualities and focus of the next commissioner, and who he considered the ideal candidate:
The Big East has become a collection of universities with little in common. But its diversity could be its strength in the long run. We will miss Syracuse because of their Big East tradition. Pittsburgh has been outstanding in basketball but the combination of Temple and Memphis will bring great basketball to the conference. Now the $99,000 question… Who to hire as Big East Commissioner?
Here is what the commissioner must posses:
- A presence that Presidents and Athletic Directors will respect.
- A strong personality and creative thinker.
- A television background and a total understanding of the diversity of its constituents.
- An ability to bring football into the limelight.
Well Dave Gavitt’s vision could be carried out by one man that has come to the necessary way of thinking towards the future. That man is Jay Bilas. I would take a portion of the Syracuse and Pittsburgh money, give him a 5 year contract and pay him 2 million per year. He has charisma, knows TV, has a legal background, outstanding presence, and a creative thinker. He would be a grand slam.
It's an interesting recommendation, particularly given ESPN's recent tone toward the conference, and its upcoming TV contract negotiations.