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A tired Marinatto leaves his job as Big East Commissioner

STORRS, Conn. -- Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, facing pressure from school presidents upset by his handling of the departure of several high-profile programs, resigned Monday after less three years on the job.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse made plans to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference in September, and West Virginia bolted for the Big 12 the following month. The Big East regrouped by adding Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple for all sports and Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for football only.

Marinatto told The Associated Press Monday that trying to guide the conference through realignment took a physical and mental toll on him.

He said he began talking to the conference presidents in mid-April about stepping down.

"I've been running a marathon not only for the last eight months but for the last 2 1/2 years," he said. "As fulfilling as it can be, it is equally draining. All the assets are in place right now (in the Big East). It's probably time for a commercialized kind of perspective. Clearly the collegiate model is dead."

Marinatto became the third commissioner of the Big East on July 1, 2009. He had served as the conference's senior associate commissioner since 2002 and spent 14 years as the athletic director at Providence College.

Privately, many in the conference were unhappy by the defections of Pitt and Syracuse, and some blamed Marinatto for being caught off guard.

Former Commissioner Mike Tranghese, who retired in 2008, said his successor "inherited a very, very difficult situation."


No succession plans

STORRS, Conn. -- Connecticut Athletic Director Warde Manuel says he has no plans to name Kevin Ollie or anyone else as a coach-in-waiting for the men's basketball program.

Coach Jim Calhoun, who turns 70 this month, is expected to return next season, but has not made his plans public.

In an interview with The Associated Press Monday, Manuel -- who previously held the same position for the University at Buffalo -- said he is operating under the assumption that Calhoun, who has two years remaining on his contract, will be back.

He would not disclose what he and Calhoun have discussed about the program's future, but says it does not currently include naming a successor while Calhoun is still coaching.

He also said the Hall of Fame coach has earned the right to have a major say in the direction the program goes after he retires.

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