Skip to content

Cooley: “We’re excited” about move away from Big East

Dec 17, 2012, 5:35 PM EDT

Ed Cooley AP

The seven Catholic, basketball-only schools within the Big East recently announced they’ll be breaking away from the league in the future, and on Monday, one of those coaches spoke his piece about it.

Providence’s Ed Cooley, currently in his second season as Friars head coach, gave his opinion of the move to Chip Brown on Sirius XM’s College Sports Nation. Needless to say, Cooley is like many of the coaches that are involved in this mass exodus from the Big East. He agrees something had to be done.

The Friars are currently 7-2 and are expected to contend in the Big East.

“I’m not privy to a lot of those conversations; that’s at a different level.  The preliminary conversations I’ve had with [PC President] Father Shanley and [athletic director] Bob Driscoll, was, they’ve seen the landscape change years ago.  And when you look at, just recently, with Rutgers leaving, then Louisville leaving, I think enough was enough.  It’s unfortunate, as I said earlier today, that football has dominated the landscape of college athletics and, I mean, there’s a lot of reasons for it.  And because we’re a basketball only school as far as the elite high level, I’m pretty sure our presidents got together and said, ‘Let’s go in a different direction.’  The Big East was changing every single day.  There were nontraditional schools being invited and I’m pretty sure it just wasn’t in the best interests of them all.  But we’re excited.  We’re real excited about the direction. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here, I just know it’s going in a different direction. And Providence College has solidified itself as far as what we’re doing to be a powerful player in whatever league we’re going to be in.”

So, Cooley’s happy. I don’t have a problem with that. And also, kudos to him for recognizing, for better or worse, that football is king in this discussion. It’s just a fact some coaches have a hard time grasping. He continued.

“We’ve been a proud, proud member of the Big East, being one of the original schools.  And we’ll miss that.  We’ll miss the challenges of Connecticut, Syracuse, we’ve had some great battles with them through the years.  But I think everybody has to be realistic with the changing culture of athletics.  If you don’t change you are going to get left behind.  And whatever new rivalries will come up, we’ll embrace those.  I know our fan base is excited about it [and] our alumni are excited about it and we’re going to try to do the best we can.”

This is one of the more genuine statements I’ve heard from a coach regarding this situation. Cooley recognizes the past, but knows the times change. The collegiate landscape isn’t the same as it was 10, 15, 20 years ago. We all hurt when we see things we love end or become altered, and we can either, in this case, fight a losing battle to stay together or move on and try to improve. Cooley recognizes the seven non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools saw that and had to make the move.

I never really had an opinion on the latest round conference realignment. I’ve become numb to it. Tell me when it’s over. But this is inevitable. Good that Cooley and the other schools are helping themselves instead of trying to funnel water out of a sinking ship.

David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Latest Posts
  1. St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin throws out first pitch at Yankees game (VIDEO)

    May 27, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The 6-foot-6 southpaw showed off his arm, and was accurate in doing so.

  2. Bill Self wins Hall of Fame’s humanitarian award

    May 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    150527_billSelf Getty Images

    Self and his wife created the Assists Foundation.

  3. Auburn center Trayvon Reed released from jail

    May 27, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Reed broke a cop’s finger while resisting a shoplifting arrest.

  4. Nebraska and Tim Miles have agreed on a contract extension

    May 27, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Miles is 47-49 in three years with Nebraska.

  5. UAA mixtape of DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017

    May 26, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    DeAndre Ayton finally got a chance to play this spring and delivered in a big way.

  6. Top-150 Class of 2016 point guard is focused on seven schools

    May 26, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    walker

    Point guard CJ Walker is focused on seven schools during the recruiting process.

  7. Report: Class of 2016 four-star wing considering college among playing options for next season

    May 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Four-star guard Maverick Rowan has a choice to make for his basketball future in the immediate future.

  8. Minnesota lands transfer wing from the SEC

    May 26, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    FAYETTEVILLE, AR - FEBRUARY 24:  Davonte Fitzgerald #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies goes to the basket and is guarded by Anthlon Bell #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 24, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Minnesota closed out its 2015 recruiting efforts with its second incoming transfer of the offseason.

  9. Five observations from EYBL Minneapolis

    May 26, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    (Jon Lopez/Nike) (Jon Lopez/Nike)

    The spring grassroots season is over and another spring EYBL season is complete.

  10. The Atlantic 10 announces their conference play pairings

    May 26, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    Atlantic 10 logo A-10 A 10

    The schedule isn’t out yet, but each team now knows who they will play and where they will play them.

  11. Norfolk State to lose talented center to transfer

    May 26, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    RaShid Gaston averaged 15.5 points and 9.6 boards.

  12. Report: USC lands Louisville transfer, former top 50 recruit

    May 26, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shaqquan Aaron could never crack Rick Pitino’s rotation.

  13. There’s only one way the NCAA gets UNC investigation wrong: a 2016 postseason ban

    May 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The only people that would punish are the people that had nothing to do with the violations in the first place.

  14. Chris Collins has signed a contract extension with Northwestern

    May 26, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Collins has Northwestern trending in the right direction.

  15. Austin Rivers plays pick-up against LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney, Rutgers freshman Corey Sanders (VIDEO)

    May 25, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/Getty Images Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Austin Rivers played against some exciting rising freshmen in Antonio Blakeney and Corey Sanders.

  16. Charlotte transfer down to four schools

    May 25, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    dorn

    Conference USA Freshman of the Year winner Torin Dorn is focusing on four schools.