Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt dies at 73

By Jim O'connell

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Sept. 17 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

On the day Gavitt died the news in sports was about Big East members Pittsburgh and Syracuse possibly leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference as the landscape of college sports faced its biggest change in decades.

"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?'" Calhoun said. "Sadly, we cannot do that."

Gavitt led USA Basketball from its days of a strictly amateur organization to one that would bring the NBA and its players to a worldwide stage every four years starting with the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Gavitt knew he needed the NBA to be a partner with USA Basketball.

"I wanted USA Basketball to be the 28th NBA team, outside the family," Gavitt said. "I wanted NBA Properties, who are so good at what they do, to take our mark and represent us as our licensee and to help us get sponsorship."

Gavitt's business acumen drew as much praise as his coaching.

"The rest of the world has learned much from Dave Gavitt about basketball and he has taught us much more than just on the court," said Alexander Gomelsky, coach of the Soviet Union's 1988 gold medal team. "He understands basketball as a business and has shown many countries the right way to do things. Everybody studies this because it is a fantastic business."

Mike Tranghese was an assistant to Gavitt at the Big East from the start and he succeeded him as commissioner, retiring from that position in 2009.

"I wish I had the ability to properly express my feelings," Tranghese said Saturday. "We lost a giant. He helped so many people in the game of basketball and had such a profound influence. ... I think he's the most influential commissioner in the history of college athletics and at the same time was a Hall of Fame basketball coach who quit at age of 40 to spend time with his family. He had the ability to get things done and above all that he was your friend and it wasn't just to the powerful people."

Gavitt is survived by his wife, Julie, and three sons, including Dan, an assistant commissioner with the Big East.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere