Quotes from U of L Head Coaches on entering the BIG EAST Conference

Nov. 4, 2003

Arthur Albiero, swimming and diving
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to compete in the BIG EAST Conference. Not only is the BIG EAST a highly competitive conference, it is also a prestigious environment for our athletic programs. We are working hard to establish our swimming and diving program as a powerhouse in our new conference. As we embark on the project of building our new pool, the move to the BIG EAST culminates with a total swimming and diving program makeup. I look forward to the competition and we, as a team, welcome the new challenges."

Pam Bustin, field hockey
"Becoming part of the BIG EAST Conference is such a wonderful opportunity for our field hockey program. The conference is rich in tradition and embraces some of the strongest regions of field hockey in this country. We look forward to joining the great programs that make up the well-respected BIG EAST Conference and contributing our style of play and enthusiasm for the game."

Warren Bye, women's track and field
"It's an exciting time to be a part of the University of Louisville and its athletic department. This move into the BIG EAST will enable us to compete against some of the best programs in the country and better reach our goal of being a nationally ranked track and field/cross country program. We are pleased with the opportunity to take our program further into the national spotlight."

Tony Colavecchia, men's soccer
"Our move to the BIG EAST will offer new and exciting challenges and opportunities for the Louisville men's soccer program. It will also be a great opportunity for our fans to be exposed to such powerhouse soccer schools as St. John's, Notre Dame and Rutgers. The BIG EAST is one of the top three conferences in men's soccer year in and year out."

Tom Collen, women's basketball
The BIG EAST was the best women's basketball conference in the country last year and with the new additions, it will be even better. This is a league that has produced the last four NCAA Champions, unprecedented by any conference. Although three quality programs left, our university and the others joining the BIG EAST will strengthen an already great women's basketball league."

Mark Crabtree, men's golf
"It's an exciting time for the University of Louisville men's golf program. Joining the BIG EAST is something I'm really looking forward to. It's an outstanding conference with great tradition and I'm excited about recruiting in that area. We look forward to establishing a presence in that part of the country and seeing if we can get a few young men down to Louisville to become Cardinals."

Greg Davis, women's tennis
" I am very excited about U of L Women's Tennis becoming part of the BIG EAST. It will be an honor to compete against some of the best competition in the country and the best coaches. The move to the BIG EAST is just another step in becoming one of the top women's programs in the country and we look forward to the challenge."

Rex Ecarma, men's tennis
"We welcome the opportunity to compete in the BIG EAST Conference. Our results and rankings from the past few years indicate that we should be competitive immediately. We are already well-acquainted with some of the teams and I anticipate some great matches for the conference title."

Karen Ferguson, women soccer
"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to compete in the BIG EAST. Having competed as a student-athlete at UConn, I know firsthand that it's one of the premier women's soccer conferences in the country. I'm confident that the University of Louisville will be a great addition to the BIG EAST."

Kelly Meyers, women's golf
"We're looking forward to joining the BIG EAST and what it could mean for the Louisville Cardinals in conference and regional play. It will give us more opportunities and more recognition to pull great players from the northeast to Louisville to compete for a BIG EAST Conference Championship."

Sandy Pearsall, softball
"This is an exciting time to enter the BIG EAST, which already has some excellent softball programs and coaches in place. We feel that this is a great place for our program and we hope to come in and immediately compete for a championship."

Bobby Petrino, football
"Joining the BIG EAST Conference is an exciting time, not only for our football program, but for everyone associated with the University of Louisville. While the Cardinal football program is appreciative of everything that Conference USA has done for our program, we're looking forward to establishing new rivalries with schools in one of the top conferences in the country. While this is exciting news, we've got a huge game coming up on Wednesday at TCU, and our focus is on traveling to Fort Worth to take on a very good football team. November 4th is a great day for the University of Louisville football program. The BIG EAST Conference has an outstanding reputation and history of being one of the top conferences in the country."

Rick Pitino, men's basketball
"For me personally, the BIG EAST is where it all got started. It's so nostalgic. The commissioner and one of his assistants are very dear and close friends of mine. It's wonderful for our university academically to be connected with the institutions in the BIG EAST. It's great for our athletes to complete in maybe the strongest and deepest men's basketball conference in the history of the game. And it's unbelievable for the fans, who are now going to see competition like they've never witnessed before in the great tradition of Louisville Basketball. It's a win-win-win for everybody involved from the fans, our academic institution, the student-athletes and as a side-bar, me personally, just because I have so many great memories in the BIG EAST."

Lelo Prado, baseball
"We are moving from one great conference in C-USA to another in the BIG EAST. There we will face some quality programs, in particular against Notre Dame, Rutgers, West Virginia and St. John's. We're looking forward to the move and are eager to continue building a program that will compete for a championship."

Richard Ruggieri, women's rowing
"We are very eager to begin preparing for a Big East Championship in Rowing. With nine rowing teams in the Big East, it will be the largest rowing conference in the United States. We are also excited to join a well-respected list of programs who have consistently represented the BIG EAST at the NCAA Championships."

Gene Weis, men's track and field
"The move is exciting for us in track and field. There are "name" schools up and down the BIG EAST Conference list, and a number of programs with a rich history and tradition in our sport . Our association with the conference alone elevates the visibility of our program nationally, and it serves as a strong motivator for our young people who know their achievements will now warrant recognition on a higher level. I'm confident I echo the sentiment of a lot of our "olympic sport" coaches when I say we're very much looking forward to the challenge."

Leonid Yelin, volleyball
"Moving to the BIG EAST will allow us to showcase our Top 25 caliber volleyball program on a national level. We are excited by the challenge the move will provide us. We are looking forward to creating new rivalries that will bring excitement to Cardinal Arena. Louisville is a volleyball-smart city and the BIG EAST volleyball teams will come to enjoy playing in front of our enthusiastic, appreciative crowds."