Big East commissioner Tranghese to retire next June

Mike Tranghese, who has steered the Big East Conference through its various transformations, has decided to retire at the end of the 2008-09 collegiate season, the conference announced Thursday.

The Boston Globe first reported Tranghese's decision to retire.

Tranghese, who has been with the Big East since the conference's inception in 1979, has served as its commissioner since 1990. He decided to announce his June 2009 retirement now so the league could have enough time to search for his replacement, according to the Globe.

"I am stepping down at this point because I believe it is the right time," Tranghese said in a statement issued by the league. "The conference is in great shape and it will give my successor the best opportunity to be successful.

"I believe our conference is undergoing an unprecedented period of success. 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."

The Big East, which started out as a
seven-team basketball league, has swelled into a 16-team league competing in 23 intercollegiate sports.

Tranghese pushed for the start of the Big East football conference, which at one point lost three key programs -- Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech -- but managed to recover by recruiting South Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati as replacements.

Tranghese's legacy includes his part in the creation of the Bowl Championship Series, when he and six other major-conference commissioners devised a system so the top two ranked football teams would play for the national championship.