As you must certainly know by now, the next chapter in ESPN's documentary series 30 for 30 is all about the rise and fall of The Big East Conference. And obviously, there's going to be a whole lot of Jim Boeheim and Syracuse Orange basketball involved.
"Requiem For The Big East" explores the meteoric ascension of the Big East Conference and how, in less than a decade under the innovative leadership of founder and commissioner Dave Gavitt, it became the most successful college sports league in America.
Told primarily through the lens of famed Big East coaches such as Jim Boeheim, Lou Carnesecca and John Thompson as well as some of its most iconic players such as Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Ed Pinckney, the film chronicles the story of an extraordinary group who rode the rivalries and successes of their teams to become household names. The Big East was a groundbreaking athletic and business creation that encapsulated the era and region in which it was born -- from the toughness of the players and coaches hailing from some of the Northeast's most storied cities, to the executives and Wall Street brokers who thrived because of it.
Launched in 1979 -- the same year that ESPN was born -- the Big East used the burgeoning cable TV channel and the media as a whole to help spread its gospel and product to fans and future players across the country. But "Requiem For The Big East" is also a tale of change as the super conference eventually found itself in a new era fighting for survival.
Director Ezra Edelman wanted to make sure this wasn't just about the glory days but also a real look at the factors that led to the downfall of what was once college basketball's best conference (First person to say it was Syracuse's fault gets a punch in the kidneys).
In setting out to make a film about the Big East, I hoped to not simply tell a story about the rise of a great basketball conference but also understand and ultimately convey the causes of its fall. That, in doing so, I would get to sit down and talk with many of the players and coaches who were a part of so many afternoons and evenings during my childhood was an added benefit. And what I quickly realized in talking to them was that it wasn't just fans like myself who were saddened, even angry, by the Big East's demise: so, too, were many of those who helped build the league from nothing.
Watch a preview of the chapter on Syracuse's rivalry with something called the Georgatown Hoyas and get ready to settle in and watch the doc on March 16 following ESPN's Bracketology show.
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