- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. UConn coach Jim Calhoun endorsed the hiring of Mike Aresco to be Big East commissioner. The main reason is that Aresco knows the television industry. “They made the hire they needed to make,’’ said Calhoun of the conference. “He has to negotiate money for the football teams. If we can get ourselves 11 or 12 or 13 million per school. He’s from Connecticut. He knows the Big East. But most importantly, he knows negotiations and markets.’’ Aresco, a former executive at CBS and ESPN, said Thursday that his No. 1 priority is to secure a new television deal with the Big East’s negotiating window beginning next month. Calhoun also stressed that Aresco has the strong personality for a job that needs a presence at a time in college athletics where the passive can get over run.
2. One of Aresco’s most important hires will be to replace Dan Gavitt. Gavitt left the Big East to run the NCAA tournament from the Indianapolis headquarters. Gavitt was in charge of the daily operations of Big East basketball. He was an integral liaison from the players to the league office and officials. The call to Gavitt was the first many of the coaches would make -- instead of complaining or challenging elsewhere. The Big East needs another person like him to handle the calls and massage the egos within the conference, and with 18 basketball-playing members this will be a must.
3. Yale coach James Jones credited a Yale administrator who once worked at Florida as well as Gators head coach Billy Donovan for securing a rare Florida visit to New England. The Gators will play at Yale on Jan. 6 in the middle game of a two-for-one series. Yale played at Florida last season, losing 90-70. Donovan, who played at Providence and is from New York, isn’t adverse to playing home games for players in odd places. He once played at UNH for New Hampshire native Matt Bonner. This game is a “home” game for Rhode Island native Erik Murphy. The Bulldogs have had three other power six schools play on campus under Jones: Stanford, Wake Forest and Penn State.