The Big East Conference began to unravel a decade ago, when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left for the Atlantic Coast Conference. As conference realignment grew in recent years, the Big East attempted to fortify itself by chasing schools -- Boise State, San Diego State and TCU in football, Houston, Memphis, Central Florida and other for all sports -- while trying to retain existing members members. By the end of 2012, it was clear the Big East as fans know it was vanishing. By early 2013, the seven non-football Catholic schools were leaving with the Big East name and UConn was left in an entirely new conference, the AAC and commissioner Mike Aresco (pictured). UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida would be the long-term holdovers -- Louisville and Rutgers were staying for one season before departing -- and Huskies were seemingly stuck in a conference with a group of former Conference USA schools. For a school that was an original member of the Big East and became identified with the conference, the change was traumatic. No more conference tournament at Madison Square Garden, no more women's basketball matchup with rival Notre Dame, no more football meetings with known brands such as Syracuse and Pittsburgh. It was a significant years for UConn athletics and its fans.
Cloe Poisson / Hartford Courant