Saying it was simply time to do something else, Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese will announce his retirement later today, ending a reign of 19 years in which Tranghese guided development of the Big East basketball conference into a 16-team super league and oversaw the creation of the Big East football conference into a competitive 8-team league, which took a full body blow five years ago when three of its members -- Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech -- jumped to the Atlantic Coast Conference, but has still managed to survive, if not thrive.
The official announcement that Tranghese will retire next June will come later today, but Tranghese said that he felt the timing was right for him to spend one more year to make things were in order before he stepped down at the end of the 2008-2009 athletic season.
"It was just the right time for me,'' said Tranghese, who has been with the Big East since it was created in 1979 as a seven-team basketball league. "The league has never been stronger in basketball. Everyone seems happy.''
Tranghese said he decided on a year-long lag time before he steps away because he wanted to give Big East officials time to find a replacement to guide the conference into the next decade.
It will not be an easy job since the Big East is essentially two different leagues in basketball with different schools and different agendas, which, at times, have clashed.
Tranghese said that he didn't think there would be an immediate move to break the league into two conferences, with the football schools breaking off from the predominantly Catholic basketball schools.
"Right now everything is working fairly well,'' said Tranghese, who says he still wants to work, but at a different pace. "In football, there doesn't seem to be any movement towards a ninth school and everyone is happy with the level of basketball. We've never been stronger.''
As for Tranghese, who guided the Big East football league through the turmoil of losing three schools and replacing them with South Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati, a move that solidified the Big East's claim to maintain its claim to one of the automatic six Bowl Championship bids awarded each year, it was simply time to move to a different challenge. "I want to work,'' he repeated. "Maybe I will teach. I don't know. I'll find something.''