Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt dies at 73

By JIM O'CONNELL | September 17, 2011 | 5:00 PM EDT

Dave Gavitt, one of basketball's most influential leaders the last three decades, has died at 73.

His death Friday night after a long illness was confirmed by his family Saturday. He died in a hospital near his hometown of Rumford, R.I.

Gavitt was a member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and the first commissioner of the Big East Conference. He led Providence to the Final Four in 1973 and started the Big East offices there in 1979.

He was selected to coach the U.S. Olympic team in 1980, but the United States boycotted the Moscow Games. Gavitt was president of USA Basketball and oversaw the introduction of NBA players onto the U.S. Olympic roster, including the Dream Team at the 1992 Games.

He also was chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 2006.