HARTFORD, Conn. Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says it istime for the University of Connecticut and Boston College to puthard feelings behind them and work to re-establish an important NewEngland rivalry on the football field and basketball court. |
In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Malloy, analumnus of Boston College, said he has expressed those sentimentsin talks over the past year with Boston College President WilliamLeahy. The two schools have been at odds since Boston College left the BigEast to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005, and the stateof Connecticut led a lawsuit over the move. "The reality is that time has the ability to heal all wounds, andhopefully we move forward," said Malloy. "Economically, it makesgreat sense.
The schools are 80 miles apart. Instead of a planetrip, it's a bus ride. We should be doing more of that, not less." The two schools last played football in 2004 and last played amen's basketball game in January 2005. Boston College is 10-0-2against the Huskies in football, while UConn leads the basketballseries, 54-35.
Shortly after BC announced its plans to join the ACC, Connecticutbasketball coach Jim Calhoun said he would never play the Eaglesagain as long as he coached the Huskies. But last fall, amid a national shakeup of athletic conference,Malloy acknowledged that UConn had an interest in moving to theACC. Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo told the BostonGlobe that he had blocked the move, saying it was a matter of"turf." He later issued a public apology, saying "while I harbor some illfeelings toward the University of Connecticut regarding thelawsuit, depositions and derogatory comments from UConn officialswhen we announced our decision to join the ACC, it wasinappropriate to express personal feelings that might have beenconstrued as the position of Boston College or the Atlantic CoastConference." Malloy said that whatever happens with the ACC, the two schoolsshould realize that playing each other, as they already do in manyother sports, would benefit both schools and the entire region.UMass, which recently upgraded its football program, is the onlyother BCS school in New England. Connecticut is now in talks that would have its men's hockeyprogram join Boston College in Hockey East.
"Both schools have done and said things that need to be left in thepast, and both schools need to move forward," Malloy said. "Theyneed to move forward in what is the best interest of their schools,their student body and their athletic programs." The timing may be right. Warde Manuel, UConn's new athletic director, and DeFilippo say theyare friends, and plan to meet soon to talk about the relationship.Manuel said the two had been scheduled to sit on a panel togetherrecently, but DeFilippo had a scheduling conflict. "I come in with a mindset that it would be good for us and good forthem if we can get back to having a solid relationship between thetwo institutions," said Manuel, who took over the program in March."I know that (UConn) President (Susan) Herbst would like that andit's one of the things that at the time when we can, Gene and Iwill have a conversation and I'll get a sense from him on how hefeels about it. But, from my perspective, I don't harbor any illfeelings about Boston College and I think highly of the program,highly of the institution and I would hope that we could overcomeissues from the past.".
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