Founded in 1979, the Big East was an interesting amalgam of Northeastern schools who could compete on the hardwood with the best of them. They aligned to build a league that would cover the massively-populated northeastern megalopolis with schools who played exciting basketball and attracted star athletes. A partnership with the fledgling cable television network ESPN, would help them to grow in reach and influence through the 1980s and into the 2000s, quickly becoming one of the nation's leading conferences.
Then, it all fell apart.
Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ezra Edelman made the rise and fall of the Big East the subject of his 30 for 30 documentary, Requiem for the Big East, which will premiere at 9:00pm (eastern) on March 16th after the ESPN Selection Sunday Bracketology show.
The film reportedly tells its story through the legendary coaches, players and personalities who have graced the Big East hardwood over the years. Jim Boeheim, Lou Carnesecca, Rick Pitino and John Thompson are all featured, along with former commissioner Mike Tranghese, and Villanova's own Ed Pinckney.
"Having grown up on the East Coast, I've spent most of my life as a dedicated fan of the Big East and I, like so many others, was saddened by its split last year," said director Ezra Edelman. "In setting out to make a film about the league, 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."
Following the premiere, bonus material including extended interviews and highlights from the film will air on ESPNU.