Conn governor wants improved relations with BC

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says it is time for the

University of Connecticut and Boston College to put hard feelings

behind them and work to re-establish an important New England

rivalry on the football field and basketball court.

In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Malloy, an

alumnus of Boston College, said he has expressed those sentiments

in talks over the past year with Boston College President William

Leahy.

The two schools have been at odds since Boston College left the

Big East to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005, and the

state of Connecticut led a lawsuit over the move.

”The reality is that time has the ability to heal all wounds,

and hopefully we move forward,” said Malloy. ”Economically, it

makes great sense. The schools are 80 miles apart. Instead of a

plane trip, it’s a bus ride. We should be doing more of that, not

less.”

The two schools last played football in 2004 and last played a

men’s basketball game in January 2005. Boston College is 10-0-2

against the Huskies in football, while UConn leads the basketball

series, 54-35.

Shortly after BC announced its plans to join the ACC,

Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun said he would never play

the Eagles again as long as he coached the Huskies.

But last fall, amid a national shakeup of athletic conference,

Malloy acknowledged that UConn had an interest in moving to the

ACC.

Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo told the Boston

Globe that he had blocked the move, saying it was a matter of

”turf.”

He later issued a public apology, saying ”while I harbor some

ill feelings toward the University of Connecticut regarding the

lawsuit, depositions and derogatory comments from UConn officials

when we announced our decision to join the ACC, it was

inappropriate to express personal feelings that might have been

construed as the position of Boston College or the Atlantic Coast

Conference.”

Malloy said that whatever happens with the ACC, the two schools

should realize that playing each other, as they already do in many

other sports, would benefit both schools and the entire region.

UMass, which recently upgraded its football program, is the only

other BCS school in New England.

Connecticut is now in talks that would have its men’s hockey

program join Boston College in Hockey East.

”Both schools have done and said things that need to be left in

the past, and both schools need to move forward,” Malloy said.

”They need to move forward in what is the best interest of their

schools, their student body and their athletic programs.”

The timing may be right.

Warde Manuel, UConn’s new athletic director, and DeFilippo say

they are friends, and plan to meet soon to talk about the

relationship. Manuel said the two had been scheduled to sit on a

panel together recently, but DeFilippo had a scheduling

conflict.

”I come in with a mindset that it would be good for us and good

for them if we can get back to having a solid relationship between

the two institutions,” said Manuel, who took over the program in

March. ”I know that (UConn) President (Susan) Herbst would like

that and it’s one of the things that at the time when we can, Gene

and I will have a conversation and I’ll get a sense from him on how

he feels about it. But, from my perspective, I don’t harbor any ill

feelings about Boston College and I think highly of the program,

highly of the institution and I would hope that we could overcome

issues from the past.”