New Big East Commish OK By Pitt

With John Marinatto's official promotion to Big East commissioner Wednesday from his senior associate spot this week, the Conference has maintained its tie to Providence College and some might believe it means that basketball will have an edge on the football schools in the league.

However, Pittsburgh athletics director Steve Pederson did not subscribe to that line of thinking or any other similar theories.

"The Big East Commissioner deals with all sports,'' Pederson said. "Certainly, we believe that our football conference has been thriving. Sure, Mike Tranghese came in with more of a basketball background, but things have worked out.

"And (Marinatto) is a fine man. And if you look at it, (Big Ten Commissioner) Jim Delaney came in with a basketball background, so I don't view it as an issue at all. (And) we're very happy with the way things have gone so far.''

That's why Marinatto and Pittsburgh chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, who co-chaired a committee that conducted a four-month search to find a replacement for retiring Big East commissioner Tranghese, said the Conference will not add more football teams in the near future. Pederson said that wasn't a problem.

"We like the Conference the way it is,'' Pederson said. "I think that we're hitting on all cylinders now, and we certainly have had tremendous football success. But we need to keep it going.

"Different schools have been successful since the league was formed and even after the new teams were added, and I think you're seeing more of that across the country in other conferences as well.''

Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt believed that Marinatto's appointment said a lot about the Big East's current strength.

"I know him just from the Big East meetings,'' Wannstedt said. "And I've spent a little time with him there.

"(But) I think it says that the presidents of the 16 teams, who had the major influences in this decision, believe that the Big East Conference is very solid, is moving in the right direction and didn't feel that going outside (to chose a new commissioner) was the direction to go.''

Despite the four-month search, apparently that included multiple interviews, all Nordenberg and the Big East presidents needed to do was look down the hall. The Big East chancellors and presidents determined that Marinatto was their man Tuesday in Philadelphia and officially announced that during a press briefing Wednesday morning.

"Measured against an outstanding pool of candidates, John Marinatto was our unanimous choice to lead the Big East,'' Nordenberg said. "John has helped shape our history, and he is passionate about our future.

"(Marinatto) already enjoys the trust and respect of our presidents and athletic directors and is highly regarded within the Conference staff. We know that he will lead the Big East with both wisdom and integrity, and we all look forward to working with him.''

Marinatto, who has served as senior associate commissioner for the Big East Conference since 2002, officially will begin assuming his new duties in the spring, 2009, and will take over when Tranghese's tenure ends July 1, 2009.

As senior associate commissioner, Marinatto has served as the Big East's Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the daily administration of the Conference office. He oversees all administrative operations, including NCAA governance, finance, compliance, communications, television and championships. Marinatto has been the daily contact with the league's athletic directors regarding governance and operational matters.

Marinatto, a Providence, R.I. native, is a member of the NCAA Management Council and Business and Finance Cabinet and serves as the Conference's representative to the NCAA Leadership Council. He served as the Chief Financial and Business Officer of the Bowl Championship Series from 2002-04.

Prior to working at the Big East, Marinatto was the Providence athletic director for 14 years. He directed all aspects of the Friar athletic program, including a $10 million annual budget and a staff of over 100 employees.

While there, Marinatto served as chairman of the Big East Athletic Directors' Executive Committee from 1996-2000, the longest tenure of any athletic director in the history of the conference. He also served the conference as the Chairman of the Athletic Directors' Finance Committee from 1992-93.

In addition, Marinatto served as Chairman of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Women's Basketball Committee and Television Committee, and was a member of the Men's Basketball Committee, Academic Affairs Committee and Championships and Competition Committee.

Prior to his term as athletic director, Marinatto worked at Providence as an Associate Director of Alumni/Development and Director of Sports Information.

Marinatto graduated from Providence College in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in business management.

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