Aresco was part of the second class at Xavier, so there were no juniors and seniors his freshman year. He was the starting quarterback on the freshman team. He started as a defensive back on the junior varsity. He got into a few varsity football games before dropping it his junior year to concentrate on baseball. He went on to play freshman baseball at Tufts.
"[In initial reports] they kept mentioning I played baseball at Xavier, but I did play a little football," Aresco said, laughing.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa at Tufts, he received a fellowship to Fletcher, where he got his master's. Fletcher is a terrific school for international affairs. Half the students were foreigners. He knew it would be a rich experience that could lead to a job in the government or the foreign service.
Instead, he returned home and enrolled in the night division at UConn Law in Hartford. He substitute taught in the daytime. He worked briefly as an intern for U.S. Senator Robert Griffin of Michigan. He worked as an intern in the Hartford office of the U.S. Attorney for the Connecticut District. He worked in the Hartford Corporation counsel office for Richard Shettle, a big UConn supporter. He began practicing law.
"That's when I met someone from the fledgling ESPN," Aresco said. "It was one of the great serendipitous things in my life, meeting [Steve Saferin], who took an interest in me."
Aresco eventually moved from the law to the programming department. He would oversee more than a dozen sports. Boxing, college football, tennis, bodybuilding, billiards, horse racing and rodeo — if you think the Big East has schools with diverse interests, consider that ESPN portfolio. The man has dealt with Bob Arum and Don King. Aresco became head of all college sports at ESPN. Gavitt became a mentor. Gene Corrigan, former AD at Notre Dame and ACC commissioner, did, too. He called Tranghese one of his closest friends in the business.
Aresco and his wife, Sharon, formerly an attorney at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy and Cummings & Lockwood, moved from West Hartford to Westport when Aresco became vice president at CBS. They tried living in New York to eliminate the commute, realized they liked the green grass better and settled back in Southport. The new job, however, will require that he moves to Providence.
Aresco's stepson Matthew played football and hockey at Conard before going to Cornell and working for Versus. He has his own independent production company in Connecticut. His son Brett, a 2009 Duke graduate, is an aspiring actor in New York.
"I've worked for some of the best people in the history of television at CBS in Leslie Moonves and Sean McManus," Aresco said. "I've loved CBS. But I just felt this is such a unique opportunity. I love college sports. I just couldn't sit on the sidelines."
"He has done bigger deals, huge deals with CBS," Magner said, "and not many people talked about him. But around here, we hang our hats on UConn and the Big East. This is big."
And nobody knows that better than the kid from Middletown.