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Sunday / October 23.

Pitino Wants Temple in the Big East

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Whatever else happens with conference realignment going forward, Rick Pitino wants Temple back in the Big East.

“To me, Temple’s perfect,” the Louisville coach told during an exclusive interview Tuesday at Hudson Catholic High School, which he was visiting on a recruiting trip. “They were already in the Big East. They are an excellent football program right now. They should’ve beaten Penn State. They blew out Maryland, who beats Miami. They’re 3-1

“And they’re a terrific school scholastically. They fit what we should’ve been doing from the beginning. They should’ve been our No. 1 priority four years ago, Temple, to get them back in. We made a mistake letting them go; they should’ve been our No. 1 priority.”

Pitino was elaborating on a comment he first made on his blog and that has drawn interest around the nation.

Temple was a football-only member of the Big East Conference from 1991 through 2004. They were forced out of the league due to poor attendance averages, non-competitiveness and a lack of commitment to the football program from university officials. Temple played the 2005 and 2006 seasons as an independent before joining the MAC in 2007 where they currently reside.

As things stand now, the Big East will lose Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, although a timeframe has yet been set. Navy and Air Force will reportedly join the Big East as football-only members, bringing the number of football teams for next year to 11, including Texas Christian, which joins in 2012.

On the basketball side, Pitino believes Temple will be able to compete in the Big East, which will feature 17 programs next year after TCU joins.

“We get a terrific basketball school,” Pitino said of Temple, which finished 26-8, 14-2 in the Atlantic 10 last season.

Reached on his cell phone, Temple coach Fran Dunphy said he was flattered by Pitino’s comments.

“I certainly appreciate Coach Pitino’s comments and the confidence he would have in our University and program,” Dunphy told “They were wonderful to read. Obviously, at this present time we’re in the Atlantic 10 and we’re in the MAC for football, and we certainly appreciate the relationships that we have with both of those institutions.

“And whatever’s going to happen with any of our Universities out there is going to happen at a much higher level than me. But I certainly appreciate Rick’s comments.”


**Pac-12 slams breaks on conference realignment carousel

**Paterno mentions Rutgers to the Big Ten

**SEC, ACC reject West Virginia

**Boeheim, Calhoun may never coach in ACC

**Jamie Dixon says Pitt tried to keep Big East together

**Report: Villanova applied to ACC

**ACC loading up on NCAA champions

**ACC approves Pitt, Syracuse; UConn, Rutgers next?

**Big East to lose Pittsburgh, Syracuse to ACC

**Report: Pitt, Syracuse talking to ACC

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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.

Latest comment

  • Maybe we should start thinking about Rick Pitino as the next commissioner of The Big East.

    First of all, he has been vocal in expressing his interest in saving the league. Also, he fits the mold of past commissioners as he has ties to Providence College and he’s Italian-American as are two of the three past commissioners.

    He also knows that for The Big East to keep its status it needs to own New York City, Madison Square Garden, and the biggest media market in the U.S.

    OK, he does have a blemish on his record off the court but he’s not running for president he’s trying to save a BCS conference.