‘Dave Gavitt Way’ Dedicated by City, State
To view a video of the dedication ceremony, click here.
Providence, R.I.--Late Providence College athletics legend Dave Gavitt ’89Hon. was accorded a lasting tribute with the dedication of a downtown Providence road in his memory on a day his Friars played the nation’s top-ranked men’s basketball team.
In an honor bestowed by the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island, Service Road #8 was rededicated as “Dave Gavitt Way” in a ceremony on January 4. The road runs parallel to Interstate 95, from Broad Street to Atwells Avenue, on the downtown side of the city.
Speakers and friends of the former PC men’s basketball coach and athletic director, who died on September 16, 2011, said the dedication was only too appropriate for someone who dreamed big and yet always remembered his roots.
Among his many accomplishments, Gavitt was a co-founder of the BIG EAST Conference in 1979, head coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team in 1980, former president of USA Basketball, and an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
At PC, he served as basketball coach from 1969-79 and athletic director from 1971-82, was a member of the Providence President’s Council, and was a revered advisor and confidante. Gavitt was a recipient of an honorary degree in 1989 and was presented the Veritas Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the College, in 2007, for his devotion to PC.
Those who turned out to honor his memory at the ceremony included Friar greats Marvin Barnes ’74, Ernie DiGregorio ’73, Kevin Stacom ’73, and Joe Hassett ’77; College administrators, staff, and alumni; state and city officials; family members; and friends.
“Dave was a brilliant coach and administrator, but he was so much more,” said Donald “Dee” Rowe, a close friend and former University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach, who served as master of ceremonies.
“He was masterful, a creator, someone who saw the big picture and beyond. He made you believe dreams could happen,” continued Rowe, who added that “Dave was never taken with himself.”
Symbolism of location, day
College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80, who was one of six speakers during the ceremony at a closed overpass adjacent to Dave Gavitt Way, said the dedication was poignant and timely. He noted that the road is “in the shadow” of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, where Gavitt’s funeral Mass was celebrated, and leads to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where Gavitt’s teams played and where the Friars still play.
In addition, Father Shanley pointed out that the ceremony was taking place on the day PC was hosting nationally number-1 ranked Syracuse University.
“A road is a connection, and Dave was a connector,” he said. “He brought PC, the city, and the state together in a special way.”
Father Shanley said that Gavitt knew it was important for PC’s men’s basketball team to have a larger court than its traditional Alumni Hall home, and that the College and other regional schools needed to unite and form a power conference. Gavitt was an ardent supporter of the Providence Civic Center (now the Dunkin’ Donuts Center), which opened in 1972.
“Today we celebrate what’s best about college athletics and the magical connection that Rhode Island and PC have had,” he added in crediting Gavitt.
Also addressing the audience were J.R. Pagliarini, senior executive advisor to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras; Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee; Terrence M. Hassett of the Providence City Council; and Daniel P. Gavitt ’95G, one of Gavitt’s two sons and the associate commissioner for BIG EAST men’s basketball.
Hassett presented a proclamation from the City of Providence to Gavitt’s other son, Corey, and later in the speaking program, a replica of the new street sign was presented by Chafee, Pagliarini, and Hassett to Gavitt’s wife, Julie.
“If my dad were here today, he’d be honored and humbled,” said Dan Gavitt. “He loved the city and the state. Dad was a proud Rhode Islander.”
He joked that the name of the road was appropriately called a “way” because “Dave Gavitt always seemed to get his way. But, his way was always one that was loving and giving.”