The first Connecticut 6 tournament will be held at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Friday, Nov. 13, it was announced today at a press conference at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn. Fairfield University athletic director Gene Doris made the formal announcement, flanked by his head coach, Ed Cooley and the head coaches and ADs from Yale, Quinnipiac, Hartford, Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart.
Here’s the schedule:
5:30 p.m. — Sacred Heart vs. Yale
7:30 p.m. — Fairfield vs. Central Connecticut
9:30 p.m. — Quinnipiac vs. Hartford
Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, contact any one of the six schools.
I spoke with all six of the head coaches and here’s what they had to say:
Dan Leibovitz, Hartford
“To me, when I took the job at Hartford, I started thinking about it then. Not that this was my idea, but coming from Philadelphia where we had the Big Five, so I couldn’t imagine why it wasn’t in place (here.) I’m very excited about it. It’s great for the fans, great for the students, who can come down here early in the year and be excited about our team and for our student-athletes, who get to play in some great venues against great competition. It’s a special feeling, so I think its makes sense for all the right reasons and it’s a win-win situation. I’m very excited about it. You’ve got some good coaches in that room and programs that are headed in the right direction. It’s going to be a great event.”
Howie Dickenman, Central Connecticut
“It’s usually very difficult to get a group of people to agree on anything. Here, you have six athletic directors all agreeing to do the same thing. Everyone’s on the same page, everyone wants to make this a success and I think this has success written all over it. It’s going to be a terrific, terrific evening. This is going to start the college basketball season in the state, we’re going to have three very competitive games. I’m really pleased with the amount of people that are here. The room is full, it’s almost too small. You have every head coach here, every athletic director here. I think will pick up steam and continue to grow and grow.”
Ed Cooley, Fairfield
“I was very excited, but more for what we can build for Connecticut basketball. I respect the hell out of the University of Connecticut, I think they’ve earned everything they’ve gotten but I think sometimes, the other schools are lost in the shuffle. This is something that, under one building, no matter where it’s played, it gives the schools the opportunity to showcase their players, their coaching talents and it’s a credit to all the AD’s coming together and agreeing to this. I’m very excited about this. The AD’s came together, had a goal, had a vision and they made it work. I think this Connecticut 6 thing opens a lot of doors for us and opens the college basketball season with a bang.”
Dave Bike, Sacred Heart
“When you think of it, you think of the Palestra and the Big Five and all that, and I think in time, this could be like that. We can get some interest right at the beginning and get some rivalries going. It’s good. We still have one game left to complete (on our 2009-10 schedule) and it’s been really, really hard to find a date, so for them (the athletic directors) to do what they did … I didn’t believe that they were going to be able to put this together this year but they put together so I tip my hat to them.”
James Jones, Yale
“It’s kind of hard to put this at the level of the Big Five but I feel like we can have our own thing and that would be great because Connecticut basketball is not something that people think about nationally, or even regionally. So this may give us a little more attention and put us in a different light.”
Tom Moore, Quinnipiac
“I think what happened was sometimes it takes six like-minded, open-minded athletic directors. If you look at the symmetry of it, there’s an even number of schools other than UConn in the state and if you have one person, president or athletic director that’s not open-minded and doesn’t like the idea, that blows a pretty big hole in the chances of it happening. This has probably been thrown out there through the media and athletic directors like for a number of years now and I think that the fact we have six athletic directors that were excited about it, it came to fruition.
“This gives us a shot to make a good first impression on the first weekend of college basketball, separate of UConn and outside of their shadow for a night and its great. It’s huge. We have to come up with ideas like this in order to get ourselves promoted and marketed, so it’s long overdue.”