Monday, February 23, 2004


CSTV Original Production, Narrated by Ed Star Tom Cavanagh,

Explores Origins of Programs' Success, The Statewide Love Affair With Husky Basketball and How Entire University Benefits From Hardwood Success

Special Includes Interviews with Jim Calhoun, Geno Auriemma, Conn. Governor John Rowland, Former UConn Greats Ray Allen, Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Rizzotti, Chris Smith

NEW YORK, February 23, 2004 - CSTV: College Sports Television (, the fastest-growing independent cable network, will celebrate the phenomenal success of the University of Connecticut's men's and women's basketball programs, the statewide love affair with the teams and student-athletes, and the various ways the university has benefited from the unprecedented success of its basketball teams, when the network premieres UConn Nation: Huskymania, Sunday, February 29 (5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT). Tom Cavanagh, the star of the hit NBC series Ed who played varsity basketball while attending Queens College in Ontario, narrates the special.

This College Sports TV original production features interviews with UConn men's and women's basketball coaches Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma, respectively, Connecticut Governor John Rowland and former Husky greats Rebecca Lobo (1995 National Player of the Year), Ray Allen (two-time All-America), Jennifer Rizzotti (1996 National Player of the Year) and Chris Smith (UConn men's basketball all-time leading scorer). Also interviewed were former UConn men's assistant coach Howie Dickenman, UConn basketball radio voices Wayne Norman and Joe D'Ambrosio, Dolan Evanovich, associate provost of enrollment management at the university, and Tim Tolokan, UConn athletics licensing director.

UConn Nation: Huskymania traces the roots of the basketball programs' success to when Auriemma and Calhoun were hired in 1985 and 1986, respectively and chronicles how the university's fortunes have grown and its image has improved as the basketball programs have built upon their already lofty stature. The women's team is currently ranked #2 in the country, and the men are ranked #8.

Encore Presentations of UConn Nation: Huskymania are scheduled for:

Sunday, February 29 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m PT

Saturday, March 6 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

Sunday, March 14 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT

Thursday, March 18 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT

Sunday, April 4 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Landmark Moments in UConn Basketball History, as chronicled by UConn Nation:

The men's team defeated Ohio State for the 1988 NIT Championship, heralding the program's arrival and capturing the state's imagination for the first time

The 1990 NCAA tournament game in which Husky star Tate George makes a shot with one second remaining to defeat Clemson. "The Shot" by George is credited by many to have launched the phenomenon known as "Huskymania"

The arrival in 1991 of Massachusetts high school star Rebecca Lobo, who turned down offers from Stanford, Notre Dame and Virginia

A nationally televised victory in 1995 over unbeaten, #1-ranked Tennessee, which gave the UConn women their first #1 ranking and paved the way to their 35-0 national championship season

In 1999, the men's team earned its first trip to the Final Four and ultimately defeated favored Duke for its first NCAA National Championship

The UConn women capture NCAA titles in 2000, 2002 and 2003

In the fall of 2003, UConn achieved yet another "first" when both its men's and women's teams were both ranked #1 in the pre-season polls, and boasted top National Player of the Year candidates Emeka Okafor and Diana Taurasi

On three separate occasions, the Connecticut State Legislature passed bills resulting in significant funding for the university on the heels of a Huskies basketball milestone

Since 1995, the university has seen a 79 percent increase in admissions applications, the average SAT score of incoming freshmen has risen 54 points, and out-of-state enrollment has doubled

UConn Basketball's Unparalleled Success Under Auriemma and Calhoun

Since 1993-94, the women's program has compiled a 364-23 record, while the men's program boasts a 287-78 record

UConn has produced a total of 17 Big East Players of the Year (12 women's, 5 men's) and 37 first team All-Big East selections (26 women's, 11 men's); the women have also produced 5 National Players of the Year

The two programs have captured a combined 21 Big East regular season titles (13 women's, 8 men's) and 16 Big East tournament championships (11 women's, 5 men's)

The women's team has sold out Gampel Pavilion for 80 straight games

"The story of the meteoric rise of the UConn basketball programs, and of the school's benefiting as a result of this success, is a special story," said Joel Feld, executive producer and executive vice president, CSTV. "UConn Nation captures this unique phenomenon in a way that is consistent with CSTV's mission of showcasing the best of the best' of college sports.

UConn Nation Soundbites

Connecticut Governor John Rowland
"The icon for UConn in the 1970s and 1980s was the plastic hanging off the library (due to danger of bricks falling off the building). That was the poster child of UConn. You had two visuals. Hay coming out of the windows when you arrived, and when you came to campus you had plastic hanging off the library."

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, describing the women's program when he arrived

"The only thing in worse shape than the university itself was the women's basketball program. I remember saying to myself, Come on, you know, this is a big-time university!'"

UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, describing the facilities when he arrived

"The fieldhouse (where the teams had been playing) had holes and the roof was leaking and we actually had pots and pans...during rainstorms."

"I think that is the thing we did different than any other Big East school (early on). Every Big East school...stayed in their home base of the East. We went out and got kids...from all over the country. Now they call us America's Team.'"

Former Two-Time All-America Ray Allen
"You have major cities on both sides of the state, but nothing in the state that allows people to call their own, except the Huskies. The university gives everybody a great feeling of ownership."

1995 National Player of the Year Rebecca Lobo
"Even though I played seven years in the WNBA, the thing I would hear more often than not walking through an airport somewhere would be, Go UConn!', or somebody would come over and say, I really loved watching you play at UConn.' I'd been playing for seven years since...but what people remember is UConn."

CSTV, the first 24-hour college sports network, is available to more than 15 million homes nationally on cable and satellite. The network is available on Adelphia and Insight cable systems, among others, and is also available on DirecTV (channel 610). For information on CSTV availability in particular markets, consumers can log on to or call their cable or satellite operator.

CSTV has covered more college sports than any other network since launching last April. The network has televised more than 3,500 hours of original programming spanning 30 men's and women's college sports, including basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse and volleyball. College Sports TV's event, studio and original programs have covered more than 1,000 colleges and universities across all NCAA divisions and the NAIA. College Sports TV televises regular season and championship event coverage from every major collegiate athletic conference, and also televises nine NCAA Championships. The network also has a programming and marketing agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

College Sports Television was co-founded by President/CEO Brian Bedol, Chairman Stephen Greenberg and Executive Vice President Chris Bevilacqua. Bedol and Greenberg co-founded Classic Sports Network, which they sold to ESPN and which is now ESPN Classic. Bevilacqua is a former senior executive with Nike Inc., where he headed the company's successful foray into the college market.


Eric Handler
CSTV: College Sports Television