Cincinnati's Mount Rushmore

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

ESPN is busy compiling votes and debating about the Mount Rushmore of sports for each state. Let's take it one step further and come up with our Mount Rushmore for each Big East team and the conference as a whole.

No real rules here, except we're looking for figures that are both iconic and have had a major impact on the program, especially during the Big East era. We can have some fun kicking this around and then we'll start chiseling. I'll give you my nominations for each team, starting with Cincinnati.

The Bearcats are a tough one. Quick, name the best player in Cincinnati football history? (Tumbleweeds.) This is a program that has been around a long time but has enjoyed most of its best years recently. Anyway, here goes:

Sid Gillman: A member of both the college football and NFL halls of fame, he coached the Bearcats from 1949-54, which was arguably their best era before the current one. He was also an innovator who developed a passing attack for which Cincinnati became known.

Bob Goin: During his tenure as athletic director, Goin helped Cincinnati gain entrance to the Big East, which was the biggest moment in the school's football history. He also oversaw a major upgrade of facilities for all sports including football.

Rick Minter: He coached the Bearcats for 10 seasons and led them to four bowl games and the 2002 Conference USA co-championship. He built a solid foundation for the program so that it would be ready for the Big East.

Brian Kelly: He's only been there for a little over two seasons, but Kelly has already taken the program to new heights, including the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl. He's a two-time Big East Coach of the Year and could become the all-time iconic figure of the program if he sticks around long enough.

This list is curiously missing players, and I seriously considered Mark Dantonio for the mountainside. Anybody else I'm missing?