Adam Zagoria 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.
Pitino Gets His Wish II: Temple to the Big East in 2012
Temple is headed to the Big East for all sports in 2012, according to a report by Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com.
The league desperately needs an eighth football program for 2012 to offset the loss of West Virginia, which paid a $20 million settlement to leave as of July 1.
One source told CBSSports.com that Temple to the Big East in 2012 “is done.”
The Big East will then have eight football and 16 basketball teams in 2012.
By the 2013-14 season, the Big East will swell to an 18-team basketball league.
Temple will another quality basketball program — the No. 22 Owls are 21-5 — and another program supported by Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who also endorsed Memphis. Memphis will join in all sports in 2013.
“Financially, it makes so much sense for Temple to be in the Big East,” Pitino said recently. “Now I say all of that, that’s whether or not the Presidents and the athletic directors want to expand further. If they want to expand further, there’s no better school, there’s no better program.
“Temple is an ideal fit. Inner-city school, great tradition in basketball, great culture for the other sports and it fits in the dynamics. I think we want to right now — at least I know I do as someone who started out in 1986 — we want to really in the year Dave Gavitt passed, we really want to protect his legacy of what he built up. And I think by adding Memphis, that certainly does that.
“If we were to expand further, Temple would certainly be a natural for us.”
Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy told SNY.tv 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 said last fall. “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.”
The Temple news means 2012 commits Daniel Dingle of St. Raymond’s in The Bronx, Quenton DeCosey of St. Joe’s Metuchen and Devontae Watson of Midland, Pa., will play in the Big East next year.
Ironically, Pitino and Louisville could be headed to the Big 12 because the league reportedly wants Louisville as its 11th member.
For his part, Pitino says he wants to remain in the Big East.
“[Louisville AD] Tom [Jurich] is perfectly satisfied with what the Big East is all about, has always been that way,” Pitino said. “The Big 12 had an opportunity to possibly get Louisville last year and they didn’t take that opportunity. We think we have one of the premier athletic programs in the nation, not just in basketball….so we’ve never looked to go anywhere else.
“We just want to make sure that football’s been intact and obviously with the moves that John Marinatto has made with Houston, SMU and Boise STate, he’s obviously done a fantastic job in putting together even a stronger football program. I don’t think Tom has ever looked anywhere, to be honest with you. That doesn’t mean in the future, we can say we’re going to be in the Big East 20 years from now. I don’t know what the landscape is.
“If you’re asking me personally, I’m a Big East guy through thick and thin. To me, I wouldn’t mind dying a Big East coach.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.