The Conference's leader since 1990, Tranghese will resign from his post effective June 30, 2009.
"Michael Tranghese has played a vital role in the progress of the Big East Conference from the moment of its creation, nearly 30 years ago,'' University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said. "What began as a small regional basketball league has grown under his guidance into one of the most diverse and broadly accomplished athletic conferences in the country.
"Michael will be stepping down as commissioner at a time when the Big East is shining brighter than ever. That should be especially gratifying for him, given all that he has invested in the conference and given what many considered to be the nearly insurmountable challenges faced by the Big East just five years ago. As conference chair during that period of rebuilding, I was in contact with Michael on an almost daily basis.
"Through that intense exposure, I came to admire him even more, both as a professional and as a person,'' Nordenberg added. "The University of Pittsburgh always will be indebted to Michael Tranghese for his passionate dedication to our conference and its member universities. Clearly, the Big East would not be the conference that it is today except for his leadership.''
Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson basically echoed those comments.
"Michael Tranghese has been one of the great leaders in collegiate athletics,'' Pederson said. "Michael has not only guided the Big East through some of its most exceptional times, but he also provided important leadership and vision during the conference's recent transition. He should take great satisfaction knowing that his professionalism during that challenging time resulted in the Big East's impressive return to national prominence.
"On a personal level, I consider Michael a great friend and have sought his counsel and advice regularly. Michael's decision comes at a time when the conference is hitting a very high note. All of us in the Big East owe Michael and his wife Susan a great debt of gratitude. His legacy is highly significant and impressive.''
Tranghese succeeded Dave Gavitt as Commissioner on June 21, 1990 after 11 years of service to the Big East, the previous nine years as associate commissioner. During his tenure as Commissioner, Tranghese has guided the league to its current 16-team alignment, the largest in NCAA Division I.
"I have been privileged to work with outstanding Presidents and athletic directors for nearly 30 years,'' Tranghese said. "Looking back to when Dave Gavitt created the conference, it is truly amazing how far we have come.''
Shortly after being named Commissioner, Tranghese directed and oversaw the creation of Big East football, which began competition in 1991. His leadership helped the Conference become a charter member of the Bowl Championship Series.
"I believe our conference is undergoing an unprecedented period of success," Tranghese said. "Our basketball conference does not have to take a back seat to anyone and our football has progressed so quickly. Our Olympic sports are stronger than ever. And I believe everything is in place for the Big East to be even better in the future.''
During his tenure, Tranghese has served as chair of several prestigious groups, including the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee, the Division I-A Commissioners, the Collegiate Commissioners Association and the NCAA Men's Basketball Subcommittee on Television. He was on the NCAA's negotiating team that secured a record $6 billion contract from CBS for broadcast rights to the men's basketball championship.
Tranghese also served a two-year term as the lead administrator of the Bowl Championship Series and is an acknowledged leader in television negotiation and production and has been a central figure in every television negotiation in the league's history. Currently, the Big East has multi-year agreements with ESPN, Inc. and CBS Sports in basketball and ESPN, Inc. in football. The contracts are the most lucrative in the league's history in terms of exposure and revenue.
Before the explosion of sports on cable television, Tranghese was the leader behind The Big East Television Network, which operated through 1994. The BIG EAST Network was considered to be a benchmark for regional television networks.
"I am stepping down at this point because I believe it is the right time,'' Tranghese said. "The Conference is in great shape and it will give my successor the best opportunity to be successful."
Tranghese helped the Big East get off the ground in 1979 after spending seven years as the sports information director at Providence College where he helped generate publicity for the nationally successful Friar basketball teams that were coached by Gavitt.
The Big East Conference contributed to this story.
Mike Tranghese To Step Down
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