The Hall of Fame Celebrates the Life and Mourns the Passing of Hall of Famer, Dave Gavitt.
SPRINGFIELD, MA - September 18, 2011 - Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt passed away in Providence, RI Friday at the age of 73. A highly successful men's basketball coach at Providence College, Gavitt was best known as a driving force behind the founding of the Big East Conference, and later served as Chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2006.
“Dave Gavitt was one of the most significant figures in recent basketball history as his career and life’s passion reflected a strong commitment to the game and its growth around the world", said John L. Doleva, President & CEO, Basketball Hall of Fame. "He impacted every corner of basketball and did so with supreme intelligence and an inclusive persona that drew people to him and his many breakthrough initiatives to make the game better. As Chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame, his steady hand led the planning and construction of the new Hall of Fame in 2002 by bringing together the then many disconnected constituents of the game—a task well suited for the style of Dave Gavitt. The game has lost a true hero.”
“On behalf of the Board of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame I want to express our deepest sympathy to Dave’s family and his entire extended family throughout the game of basketball", said Jerry Colangelo (HOF Class of ‘04), Chairman, Board of Governors. "He defines the category for which he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006—the Contributor. Today’s game would be much different without Dave’s contributions over the years and he leaves a rich legacy in the game that will not be forgotten.”
Gavitt was one of the architects of the modern game of college basketball. From coach of Providence College to founder of the Big East Conference to chairperson of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee to president of USA Basketball, Gavitt has left a formidable imprint on the game he loves. As coach of the Friars from 1969 to 1979, Gavitt led Providence College to 209 wins, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons, five NCAA tournament appearances, the 1973 Final Four, and three NIT appearances. Gavitt galvanized efforts to create the Big East Conference in 1979 and served as the powerhouse conference's first commissioner until 1990. His work with the Division I Men's Basketball Committee resulted in the expansion of the NCAA tournament to 64 teams and the use of domed stadiums for the Final Four. His lengthy résumé and contributions to New England basketball includes serving as Senior Executive Vice-President of the Boston Celtics from 1990 to 1994 and Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame from 1995 to 2003.