Sept. 17, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - All-time Friar great and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt passed away Friday, September 16 at the age of 73. Gavitt, who was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, was the head coach of the Providence College men's basketball program from 1969-79, Gavitt led the Friars to the school's first Final Four berth in 1973, in addition to eight 20-win seasons, five NCAA Tournaments, three NIT Tournaments and five New England Coach of the Year trophies. He registered a record of 209-84 (.713) during his 10 seasons with the Friars, including 23 wins over Top-20 teams. His success as coach at Providence led to his selection as Head Coach of the 1980 United States Olympic Team. Overall, Gavitt compiled an overall collegiate coaching mark of 227-117.
"The entire Providence College community is deeply saddened by the loss of Dave Gavitt," Providence College President, Reverend Brian J. Shanley said. "Although most knew him as a Hall of Fame coach, athletic director and administrator and for his foresight and vision which led to the birth of The Big East Conference, he was so much more. Dave was a teacher and a motivator, someone who inspired people and brought out the very best in them. He cared enough to make a difference in so many individuals' lives, athletes and non-athletes alike. Providence College mourns his loss and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Julie and to the entire Gavitt family."
Gavitt - former BIG EAST Conference Commissioner and one of the founding fathers of the league spent 17 years at Providence College. First from 1962-66 as an assistant men's basketball coach under the direction of Joe Mullaney, then from 1969-79 as Head Coach. Gavitt was also PC's Athletic Director from 1971-82, when he resigned to be the director of the BIG EAST.
Gavitt served as an assistant coach or head coach at Providence College for some of the greatest Friars of all-time including, Jimmy Walker, Marvin Barnes, Ernie DiGregorio, Kevin Stacom, John Thompson, Vinnie Ernst, Ray Flynn, Joe Hassett and Bruce Campbell.
Gavitt also was the catalyst behind the formation of the BIG EAST Conference, founded in 1979. He served as commissioner of the league from 1979 until 1990, during which time he helped fuel the Conference's explosive rise to prominence. In addition, Gavitt had countless other achievements and contributions to the sport of basketball. He was a member of the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee, including its Chair from 1982-84. During his tenure as Chair, he oversaw the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams, the use of domed stadiums for the Final Four, and the expansion of the CBS television coverage with the first contract. Gavitt also served on the Olympic governing body (now USA Basketball), a stint that included its presidency from 1988-92. In 1992, USA Basketball - under the direction of Gavitt - sent its first Dream Team comprised of NBA standouts, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In addition, Gavitt was the CEO of the Boston Celtics from 1990-94, President of the NCAA Foundation from 1995-97 and Chairman of the Board of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame until 2003. In 2000, Gavitt was enshrined into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame, and voted into the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame. Finally, he was inducted into the Providence Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.
Born October 26, 1937 in Westerly, Rhode Island, Gavitt resided in Rumford, R.I. for many years. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1959. He was the 1995 recipient of the Conference Commissioners Association Merit Award and served as the Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors until 2003.
Gavitt At Providence Wins Losses Postseason 1969-70 14 11 1970-71 20 8 NIT - Quarterfinal 1971-72 21 6 NCAA - First Round 1972-73 27 4 NCAA - Final Four 1973-74 28 4 NCAA - Sweet Sixteen 1974-75 20 11 NIT - Second Overall 1975-76 21 11 NIT - Fourth Overall 1976-77 24 5 NCAA - First Round 1977-78 24 8 NCAA - First Round 1978-79 10 16 TOTAL 209 84 record at PC (.713 winning percentage)
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