Sponsored by Fisher Law Firm: Virginia’s Virginia’s DUI and Traffic Defense Firm! We serve the Christiansburg, Fairfax, Richmond areas as well as the rest of Virginia. For a free consultation call us any time, day or evening at 800.680.7031 or email us at email@example.com.
First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Johnson and his staff for their hard work and dedication on behalf of Virginia Tech. They handled themselves with class and helped develop our young men on many fronts. Coach Johnson is a good man, and he did his job with integrity here for over 7 years in two different roles and he served Virginia Tech well. I wish Coach Johnson nothing but the best moving forward and I’m hopeful and confident with his skill set that he will land on his feet, as will his staff.
I also want to thank our players, our student-athletes, for how hard they competed this year and how they battled through some tough times. Athletics teaches life lessons that are not easily replicated elsewhere on campus, and our young men are learning that today, but they’ll come through it better and strong, I’m confident.
I empathize with our players. I met with the team, I listened to them, and I told them I’d get the best coach possible. The players deserve our encouragement and support during this difficult and uncertain time for them. I understand the weight and responsibility we have to them as a result of our decision. I owe it to them and to all of Hokie nation to my best to secure the best possible coach to lead our program in the future.
Secondly, to share briefly why we made the change. I didn’t come into this job with making a change in mind, and no one pressured me to do it. Far from it. I can certainly debate the point of why Coach Johnson should get another year, and I did so many times in my mind. At the end of the day, I made the decision for the primary reason that I didn’t feel that our staff was ultimately one that could lead our program successfully for the long term and to get us to our goal of the NCAA Tournament.
I felt that our current status as a program was at a point that a new direction was needed sooner rather than later. This was not an easy decision and I fully realize that it may be and has been criticized. However, my job as a leader is to do what’s in the best interest of the whole, in the best interest of the department, and my job is to sometimes make very difficult decisions, the decisions I feel are best for the long term. Time will tell if we made the right decision. I believe we did, and today is day one of moving forward and not looking back.
Third and last, I want to talk a little bit more in depth about the search process. Part of my reasoning for doing this is that I want to define reality for our fans, donors, alumni, ticket holders, friends of Virginia Tech, our students and to you all, the media.
High profile searches are a high stakes game, high pressure, and high scrutiny, but they can also present an opportunity for a new direction and fresh start. Our search may take a week, or it may likely last past the Final Four, as some of the people we may want to visit with will be coaching in the NCAA Tournament and other postseason tournaments.
We must find someone ideally with head coaching experience. I would never say never on an assistant, but I really feel it’s critical that they have head coaching experience. We need to find a coach that’s the right fit for Virginia Tech. Do we have a wish list of candidates? Yes, we do. Do we have a succession plan of candidates in process? Yes, we do. We have a plan.
I’ve learned, however, that even more important in our wish list is the list of candidates who will truly take our job if offered. That’s the real list that we need to focus on, and it’s not as easy as one might think to ultimately get that group identified.
There’s lots of moving parts and motives along the way, but we will get there, and I’m very confident that we will have a strong list.
A couple of ways we could go with our hire … the first is a proven, high profile head coach with a strong track record; a known commodity, a splash hire who could really win the press conference. I know our fans really clamor for that. We are prepared within reason to invest for a favorable return. Sometimes you have to spend to require talent in this profession, and we’re prepared to do so if it’s the right person and the right fit. We won’t spend frivolously, but we must be aggressive if this opportunity presents itself.
Having said that, these types of hires, “high profile coaches,” are hard to get, for various reasons. Very few of them are truly movable. They are successful with their current schools and many won’t leave for a rebuilding project, no matter how hard you recruit them. They are typically compensated well already, and their buyouts are high. Their current schools will fight like crazy to keep them, and there is competition in the marketplace from other programs with head coach openings. I can go on and on, on that front.
All of this is not to say that we won’t go this route of a high profile coach if we have the opportunity, and again if he is the right fit for Virginia Tech. We have a lot to offer here, and we will compete for and with the best.
Winning the press conference is nice, but ultimately, a coach, high profile or not, must win on the court consistently. That’s the true measure our coach will be evaluated on, along with academics, NCAA compliance, social responsibility, and so forth.
Another way we could go with our search is to secure an up and coming head coach. Up and coming is not necessarily defined by age; a coach certainly could be young, or they could be a short tenured head coach, or they could be at a “mid-major level.” These type of coaches, up and comers, are proven but lesser known nationally, and identifying the one that could make the move to the ACC is a bit more of an inexact science.
It’s critical that we identify and evaluate which up and comers are ready to step up in recruiting, player evaluation, player development, handling the media, handling the pressure, and are ready to coach under the brightest of lights in the ACC and go head to head with some big-time coaches in this league.
An up and comer can absolutely work if we identify and recruit the right one. I thought of this as I was making my notes — I didn’t go and research this — I thought of all the coaches I’ve worked with during my time, and I believe they could all be classified as an up and comer. I started my career at James Madison working with Lefty Driesell. I thought that was a lot of fun. I believe Lefty got his start at Davidson. I then went to Auburn where Cliff Ellis was, and I believe he got his start at South Alabama. I then went on to West Virginia with John Beilein, who was the head coach at Canisius, and also at Richmond. Then Bob Huggins who started at Akron. Mike Anderson at Missouri who was at UAB, and then Mick Cronin, who was at Murray State.
Although I didn’t work with them, Coach K and Billy Donovan came to mind as well. I believe Coach K worked at Army, and Billy Donovan at Marshall, but you get the point: an up and comer can work. There are also hundreds if not thousands of examples where they don’t. I believe Coach Beamer would classify as an up and comer too, back in his day.
If we make a hire, and the Hokie family has to Google search them to learn a little bit more about who they are, this up and comer potentially, I would just ask that you not panic, keep the faith, and give them a chance, and be supportive. Time will tell if they’re the next great one, if we go this route.
Our search committee will be very small, sometimes it will be a committee of one, but I will not operate in a vacuum. I will have lots of help behind the scenes, and we will do our homework. My relationships with other schools and other conferences will help, and I will lean on ADs, administrators, scouts, conference commissioners, our staff and administration here at Virginia Tech, and other industry leaders to identify and vet the best candidates. This process has already begun.
In closing, regarding the search process, as [basketball SID] Bill [Dyer] said, the next time after today that our fans and media will hear publicly from me on this topic is when we are introducing our next head coach.
Additionally, due to the need for confidentiality, I will not comment on any candidates, rumors, nor speculation, no matter how accurate, or completely, utterly false they may be. I will not confirm or deny any candidate names that come out.
I would caution our fan base, however, not to put too much merit in “leaks” or sources. I’ve done this enough to know, and I want to warn them or at least let them know, any time you have a leak, it’s done with a motive. Sometimes it’s a blogger or reporter throwing names up on the wall to see what sticks, and I guess the motive will be entertainment, or seeing if they get lucky on that.
Other times, I’ve seen agents on purpose who will leak the name of their candidate, and associate it with your job for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they’re trying to leverage us here, and a lot of other times they’re simply trying to leverage the school their coach is currently at, or they’re also trying to leverage a school that is also open in the marketplace. So leaks always have a motive.
I’ve also seen — but we will not do this — schools that leak candidate names on their own, to put leverage on the candidate, or to put out a litmus test with the media to get a gauge on their candidates. That’s not going to happen here, but it does happen in the industry.
Additionally, just because it’s stated, true or not, that I contacted a certain coach or gave an AD a courtesy call about his or her coach, it does not necessarily mean that that coach is the top candidate.
The search process may be a rollercoaster ride for our fans and alumni at times. Hang in there, and keep the faith. We will get through it, we will come out stronger on the other side, we will work hard for Virginia Tech, and we will absolutely find the right coach at the right time and move forward together. Thank you, and go Hokies.
Question and Answer session
Q (Mike Barber): Whit, can you go back to the process of making the decision. When did you make the decision, when did you meet with Coach Johnson, all that kind of timeline?
WB: Sure. I thought about it a lot, and I believe the first game I was at was February 2nd. I was either at every game, or watched every one. I may have missed one there, but I tried to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Ultimately I did not make my decision until Sunday night, after I met with Coach Johnson for a long period of time. And I told Coach Johnson I would sleep on it. Then I made him aware of it yesterday [Monday] at 11 o’clock in the morning.
Q (Mark Berman): In terms of spending, how much can Tech afford to spend on a new coach, how much are you willing to spend on a new coach?
WB: Mark, that’s like going to a salesman and telling him how much money you’ve got in your pocket. It depends on the person. I would say aggressively, but within reason. But I do believe you’ve got to spend to get some talent occasionally. I’m not sure how to answer that question, but I hope you can accept my answer.
Q (Berman): You said you were looking for someone with head coaching experience. To expand upon that, what other qualities are you looking for, such as postseason resume, or geographical recruiting ties, or experience of what sort?
WB: I think you mentioned it. I don’t want to get boxed in too much by these, but it’s obviously got to be someone who can recruit a high-caliber of student athlete, ideally, that knows that I-95 corridor, but I don’t know that that’s critical. We would look for how they develop players, their track record of success, do they really have what it takes to be a scrapper and a fighter, to build this program, in what I think is the nation’s toughest conference. You know, I’m also looking for character and confidence, that’s the definition of leadership. It doesn’t mean someone’s perfect. I’m not, and I doubt any of you are, in the room. But those are a couple things to start with.
Q (David Teel): You mentioned a reality check for fans and such. Virginia Tech has been to two NCAA Tournaments in the last 25 years. Every other ACC program has been to at least six, and most have been to double-figure NCAAs.
WB: I was not aware of that, thank you. (Whit smiles and room chuckles)
Q (Teel): What are reasonable expectations for this program?
WB: Well, I would say this: after turning over coaches here pretty regularly, we better get it right, because I’m going to give them some time to get it right. I won’t have unreasonable expectations, um … I would look for improvement, but ultimately, we would want to be in the NCAA Tournament.
I think in this league, with 15 teams, if you could get to the top half of the conference … if you’re number seven, not that that would be our main goal, but if you can get to number seven, you’ve got a shot to be in the NCAA Tournament. So I would see it as a stair-step progression. Those stats you just gave are a little daunting, but you know what, that’s what our expectations will be. Let’s be in the NCAA Tournament. But we’ll be realistic, too. We’ve got to give a new coach time, get the right hire, and then commit to them.
Q (Teel): Giving a new coach time … Coach Johnson’s tenure was the shortest in the ACC in 40 years. Was that the most difficult element of the decision? I mean, you’re a coach’s son. Two years is an awfully short time.
WB: Fair enough. That’s a valid question, and I wrestled with it myself. The most difficult part of the situation is telling a guy he doesn’t have a job anymore, and impacting him, his family, his friends, and his staff. That’s the most difficult part. But it just felt like, when you come to the conclusion that even after another year … do I think we could have been incrementally better next year? I do. But when I came to it in my own mind that I didn’t think this group is the one that could get us to the middle of the conference, I just felt like we needed to go ahead and do it.
But I will never criticize Coach Johnson. He worked his tail off. He’s as good a man as I’ve been around in this profession. But I do think the one thing that makes it a little different than “two years” is the fact that he was here for five before that, as an assistant, recruiting some of the players. But that was a tough call. Time will tell if it was the right one, but that’s a fair question.
Q (Norm Wood?): Whit, as you evaluated the situation, is this something where, over the course … you said you were at several of the games late in the season where you went back and forth, and at one point, maybe you thought there was an opportunity for him to say another season and maybe turn it around, were you resolute once you made your decision? Second of all, once you — obviously, I think we know what the reaction was of Coach Johnson in the room — can you give us some idea of what the feeling was in the room at the time of the meeting?
WB: I’ll start with that one. That probably should stay between he and I, but he handled it with grace and dignity. But as a competitor and a player in his own right, he didn’t like it, and I would expect nothing else. But he handled himself with grace and dignity and took it, I guess, as well as somebody can take it.
As far as the decision, I know I answered the question this way, but it was true all along: I really wanted to see the season in total. And yes, your mind might drift one way or the other as the season goes on, but once I got my hands around what I thought was right, as a leader I believe you’ve got to make that decision and then move on. So no, there was no preconceived notion. Really, I was kind of enjoying the honeymoon, quite frankly, so the last thing you want to do is jump into the frying pan, but if it’s the right thing for the organization, you need to do it.
Q (Kyle Bailey): Whit, as far as the coaching search goes, I know it’s more important to get it right than it is to do it quickly, but I would imagine given the nature of how this goes, if you wanted to get your guy, you have to move quickly. Have you set a deadline for this sort of thing? Do you say we have to have our guy by this date? How does that work for you?
WB: No. You don’t do that, but you’re right, it’s a mix of moving quickly and making sure you have the right person. So there’s no deadline. I would think, though, could it happen soon? Yes. But I also think it could last past the Final Four, potentially. The reason for that is, if you end up at the Final Four, every coach and his brother is down there, and sometimes it’s easy to have a second visit or a late addition to your pool. But I don’t know, I don’t have a timeline. We have a plan, but for obvious reasons, I can’t share that with you today.
Q (unknown): Whit, coaches are going to have to sell themselves to you, but you’re also going to have to sell Virginia Tech to the candidates that you really want. What can you sell at this point? I know the perception outside is that Virginia Tech’s in a really bad spot right now. What will you tell them about where you’re heading and what this school has to offer?
WB: We have to recruit them. I know why you said that, but I wouldn’t say that the perception is that this is a bad job. Not at all. I know, being that we’re in the conference we’re in, we have a beautiful $21 million practice facility over there that’s as good as any I’ve walked in, we have a beautiful campus, we have great academics, we have an area — granted, not right next door to us — you can get to DC, the 757, Richmond, Charlotte and a lot of other places pretty quickly.
So I believe it presents an opportunity, but I believe it’s going to have to be someone who can scrap, and fight, and all that.
What I would say to a coach, to put them at rest, is that my intention is to be here a long time with them, and I’ll give them the time to do it, and that we’ll have reasonable expectations. I’m looking for somebody that’s a grinder, and a scrapper, and is not afraid to compete and get in here and go head to head with at least four hall of fame coaches. I believe we have a lot to sell. They’ll have to recruit me, so to speak, but I’ll be happy to recruit them.
Q (unknown): As difficult as the decision is to fire someone, do you kind of look at this as an opportunity to excite the fan base, and how much do you look forward to being involved in this search, because you have a chance to make a mark?
WB: That’s a good question. Yeah, I’d like to see more people in the seats. If it works in that regard, it’d be nice. Coach searches are part of the job, but they’re not much fun sometimes. They can be brutal. It’s easy to get embarrassed a little bit, or get used out there. That’s why I talk about how you’ve got to get that list of guys who will truly take your job, and that’s the pool we’re working from. But I’m not intimidated by it. I know that’s something I signed up for. But I wouldn’t say I’m excited about it. Well, I take that back. The opportunity, now that we’ve done what we’ve done, it needs to work out and we need to set the course for Virginia Tech basketball for a long time. So I’m giving you mixed answers. It’s not ideal, but yes, it’s a great opportunity. I’m ready for the challenge. But I’ll have a lot of help, too.
Q (unknown): I’ve got a two part question. What’s the bottom line for making the tournament? What does it mean to a school? Is it a financial thing, a recruiting thing, what’s the bottom line for making the tournament? What’s riding here?
WB: It’s not a financial thing. There’s not big money to be made by making the NCAA Tournament. I just feel if you’re going to be in this conference, and as long as they’re keeping score, we might as well win. That’s more fun than losing. For our student athletes, I would think those wrestlers are pretty happy with an ACC championship, and our swimmers with an ACC championship. So I believe for us, with every sport that we have, we have to give them the best potential to win, and to win with class and lose with dignity. So I don’t know, I just feel like we need to compete, and while we’re competing, the NCAA Tournament … once you get in the NCAA Tournament, everybody’s equal, and that’s where we want to get.
Now, I have reasonable expectations. Would I be thrilled if it happened next year? Absolutely. But let’s be realistic here. We need to show continual improvement and get there, and that’s our goal.
Question at this point about NCAA lawsuit deleted, because it had no relevance to the coaching search. Whit stated that he is not a fan of “pay for play,” and he doesn’t feel that student athletes are employees of the university.
Q (David Teel): Whit, would you employ a search firm, and if so, do you know which one?
WB: I will have some help, David, but it’s probably in the best interest of our athletic department for me to keep that confidential at this time. But we’ll have some help, whether that’s formal with a search firm, or if we engage some help on the side. And we’ve done that recently.
Q (Teel): You assisted Mike Alden on the search that produced Frank Haith. [Editor’s note: Babcock was at Missouri when Haith was hired by Missouri in April 2011. In October 2013, Haith was suspended for five games by the NCAA for violations committed in the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami.] What did that experience teach you that you might be able to use going forward, in terms of vetting a candidate? Coach Haith was then suspended and such. Just curious as to what you learned.
WB: That’s a good question. I do remember this: I learned a lot from that, my goodness, more than any I’ve ever been around or been involved in. I will say this: with Coach Haith, we vetted him through over 26 different sources, including the NCAA and the president of the University of Miami. And there was nothing there, at the time. Frank was always a good man to me, and I enjoyed working with him, so we’ll start with that.
I was involved in it. Obviously, at the end of the day, the AD makes the call. But I did learn a lot about the search process, how firms work, all that I just shared with you about how agents work. So that gave me some wisdom. And then going through the football search at Cincinnati, and then a couple where we actually kept coaches. That’s not a true search, but it’s kind of the same thing, when you have competition. But I learned every day, and I feel like I’m better and wiser for that experience.
Q (Jason Stamm): The head coach is the face of the basketball program, but with the overall fan base being energized, attendance was low, is this the biggest thing that needs to happen for the overall program, or are there other things that need to happen, with the program as a whole?
WB: With the athletic department, or the basketball program?
Stamm: The basketball program.
WB: Uh, yeah, I think it’s starts with the head coach, absolutely. Something else we’re working on, Tom Gabbard and our CFO will have to figure this out real quick, the other thing that we want to ideally do before next season, we’re not there yet … ideally, we want to add to the fan atmosphere there, and we’re working on a new sound system. That’s not as important as a head coach, but we need to pump up the energy in there and all that. Now I’ve made the mistake of overpromising; I better not under deliver. But that’s something we identified: sound, and maybe lights, though that might be a year away. And what we can do to the game atmosphere, to maybe get us a few extra points.
Q (Kyle Bailey): Last time this happened, there was a lot of consideration given to continuity and attrition and things like that, maybe to having to let a player or two out of their letter of intent. Was that given any consideration, and how do you approach those sorts of things, given a lot of schools will honor that sort of request these days? How much were you concerned about the freshman that may not want to stick around?
WB: Very. You don’t make your decisions in a vacuum. It impacts a lot of lives, and cascades down, so to speak. I met with the team yesterday, and heard directly from them. I wanted to assure them that we were going to get them the best coach, and that there was a lot of people here that cared about them, that I did not want them to transfer, and that we wanted to build around their nucleus. Then we talked about what we can do legally from an NCAA compliance standpoint to reach out to these NLI prospects. And all we’re asking them to do is hang tight and see who the next coach is, and give him an audience, and then we’ll go from there.
Absolutely, it comes into consideration, but I don’t’ think that should be your primary consideration. I think getting a head coach right and then quickly acting on those other pieces is critical.
Q (Mark Berman): Whit, how much was the poor attendance a factor in your decision to make a coaching change? Did you feel that you need to bring in a new guy, an experienced guy and give the fans someone to have some faith in and hope in?
WB: Somewhat. Somewhat. But I would never let a coach go based on attendance, if they’re doing the job that I thought they would do. But to sit here and tell you that it doesn’t come into play would not be honest, either. I think there’s a lot of hope, and it’s something I’ll sell to the next coach, and say hey, whatever it was, two years ago or three years ago, we averaged, what was it, over 90% capacity for the season. So this is a fan base that will rally around you, and I do know from way back in the day, when Cassell is rocking, it’s a heck of a home court advantage. So it played a small role, Mark, but it wasn’t a driving factor.
Q (Berman): To follow up on something else, someone asked about the program. From what you look at, do you think you need to do anything to add some money for assistant coaching salaries, for budget, or whatever, to make this an attractive program for a coach to want to take over?
WB: I believe we have to look at that, absolutely. Because if you bring a coach into what is a shark tank of a league, with at least four hall of fame coaches in it, with Pitino coming in, you better give them the resources to be successful. So we’ll look at all of that. Again, we’re not just going to throw money down the drain. I just believe there are certain sports where you really have to invest to get a return on … that sounds bad, it’s not all business, but let’s face it, there is some business aspect to it, along with education. So we’ll spend what we need to do to get the right person.
Q (Will Stewart): Whit, when you were interviewing for the athletic director job at Tech … David (Teel) mentioned that Tech’s only been to two NCAA Tournaments in 25 years … how much of an emphasis was put on the basketball program, and for you personally, how attractive was it to come in and make a difference in the second major sport at a university like Tech?
WB: I’ll answer the second part first. I did not come in like, hey, there’s a new sheriff in town, or I can’t wait to get in here and let somebody go. That’s not my style, and I wouldn’t want to work for an athletic director that came at it that way. I was attracted to Tech for a lot of reasons. Would I have liked for our basketball program to be seeded #1 instead of #15? Sure, but this is where I want to be for a long time, and hopefully end my career here. But I better get past year one, and do a good job first.
In the interview process, they talked a little bit about philosophy of coaching searches and hires and experience, but I don’t recall anybody specifically talking about Coach Johnson or anything in that manner. I want to assure everybody, there was no external pressure, no Board of Visitors pressure, none of that. Now did I have every fan (chuckles) come up on various days and offer opinions, and it was all over the board? Yes. But there was no one behind the scenes pushing on this. At the end of the day, and it was gut-wrenching, I just felt like it was right, and time will tell if it was.
Q (Stewart): During the search, is there a particular style of play you’re going to be looking for, or will other factors take precedent?
WB: The one that puts the ball in the basket more than the other team.
Q (Mark Berman): Whit, when you said that you didn’t feel that this was the group to get you where you wanted to go in terms of the conference, what specifically stood out to you in the last few weeks here that made you come to that conclusion?
WB: Mark, you’re asking good and fair questions, I just prefer not to air conversations with Coach Johnson. I’d rather respect the job that he did. Everything that he did off the court I was incredibly pleased with. So this sounds tough but it’s true: this simply came down to wins and losses. Now the next coach better be good at the off the court stuff, too, and that is absolutely critical. But to be candid with you, in the short time that I’ve been here, he was as good as any I’ve been around with everything off the court. This just came down to advancing our program and wins and losses.
I may get criticized for saying that, but that’s the truth. I’d rather not get into the specifics. I hope you can understand that. I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Johnson. You’ve got a guy who has been here a long time and worked his tail off for this place, and I wish him the best. I do know this, when he gets his next shot, he’ll be a much better coach — an even better coach — for his experience here.
Q (unknown): Whit, you’ve used the term fighter and scrapper when discussing what you’re going to look for. Is that an attitude that you’re looking for, or is that a demonstrated performance of overachieving somewhere, or have you worked with some guys in the past that embody that spirit that you’re looking for?
WB: I would say it’s an attitude. I will also say this, and with all due respect to these schools, I like hiring guys that have had to hustle somewhere. Would we maybe get somebody from maybe a Florida, an Ohio State, a Texas? Maybe. And those schools are great. I’d love to have their budget. But if all you’ve ever been at is a school like that, sometimes it’s tough to come to a place where — and we have great resources here, but we don’t have everything. So I really like those guys that have earned their way up, that have had to scrap to get where they are, and when they get to Virginia Tech, they look at it and go, “I get all this? I get to work with it like that?”
But if we have a high-profile coach that has a proven track record that everybody here has heard of, and, great, um, but I bet that that coach has had something in his background that he’s had to do it that way. But I just think to come in and take over our program right now, they’re going to have to be more blue collar, roll up their sleeves, and have a hunger for something that not many people have been here to attain — thanks to David for letting me know — for the last 25 years.
Q (unknown): To follow up on that, Tony Bennett at Virginia kind of followed that road map. What did you see there, and does that kind of give you some hope that it can be done here?
WB: Yeah, I learned something there, and this will sound like I’m arguing against myself here, I learned that it took him, what, four or five years? So that goes back to David’s question why I went two [with James Johnson], and again, I just did what I thought was best. It taught me something there, that if you get the right guy, you’ve got to give him a little time.
I tell you, what’s going to be tough about the guy at UVa … I know he’s a darn good basketball coach, but everybody says he’s a really likeable guy. That’s a dangerous combination when you have that, so I’m like, “my goodness, the Wahoos are going to be tough.” But you know what? That’s why we compete and get after it, and we’re going to do our best to get the right coach to go head to head with him and beat him.
Q (Mark Berman): Because you’ve been through searches before where there was a high profile guy like Tuberville or other guys that aren’t big names, but you thought you hired the right person, how much of that factored into your thinking, okay, I’m going to make a coaching change, because I have faith in myself and I know I can find a better coach. My gut tells me I can find somebody. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.
WB: I do have that confidence, but I know how hard it is. So I thought about it. Do I feel pressure? Absolutely. But I think it’s how you take that pressure and deal with it and channel it. Just like players before a big game. How do you take the pressure and deal with it. Do I feel pressure? Absolutely, I feel pressure. To deliver to this group and to this fan base success, and to let a guy go who’s a first class gentleman. I feel a lot of pressure. But do I have confidence that we can do it, and that we have an attractive enough job to get somebody good, and that I have good help behind the scenes? Yes, yes I do.
Q (Berman): Did you at all do this decision because you know there’s somebody out there that you know you’re going to get, and you’re waiting for this season to end, and that’s why you made the move?
WB: Uh, no, I do not have a coach in my hip pocket right now.
– end of press conference —