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.
Bilas, Big East Coaches Intrigued By Pitino’s Idea (UPDATED)
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Both Jay Bilas himself and several Big East basketball coaches say they are intrigued by Rick Pitino’s idea of Bilasserving as the next Big East Commissioner.
“Interesting idea and really flattering,” Bilas told SNY.tv Saturday. “I’m not sure the Big East Presidents are ready for a Little Jeezy bumping in the Big East hallways. It would be nice to earn almost as much as the NCAA President, though.”
Pitino said on his Website he thought Bilas would be ideal for the job.
“Well Dave Gavitt’s vision could be carried out by one man that has come to the necessary way of thinking towards the future,” Pitino wrote on his Website. “That man is Jay Bilas. I would take a portion of the Syracuse and Pittsburgh money, give him a 5 year contract and pay him 2 million per year. He has charisma, knows T.V., has a legal background, outstanding presence, and a creative thinker. He would be a grand slam.”
The Big East will receive $7.5 million each from Pittsburgh and Syracuse when they leave the conference in 2013.
On former Commissioner John Marinatto’s watch, the Big East lost Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia while adding a variety of other schools for basketball and football.
Pitino has openly criticized Pitt and Syracuse for leaving and thinks Bilas could right the ship.
Two Big East coaches said they were intrigued by the idea.
“I think he’s very knowledgable and a great basketball man, and in terms of Commissioner, I’ve never thought about it,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell told SNY.tv at the Peach Jam.
He added: “He certainly could be a Commissioner. I don’t think there’s any question about it. He has the knowledge, the intelligence, the basketball pedigree, so sure he could be.”
Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, whose school leaves the Big East in 2013, said he would be “surprised” if Bilas, who is an ESPN college basketball analyst and has a law degree, took the job.
“Does Jay want the job?” he quipped.
Then, he added, “We have no vote, as we all know.”
He also said the new Commissioner, whoever it is, would need “a background in football.” The Big East TV deal is also due to be renegotiated in 2013.
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.