Keith Gilbertson Press Conference Quotes
Nov. 1, 2004
WASHINGTON ATHLETIC DIRECTOR TODD TURNER
"We have an unbelievably rich history in our program and we have incredibly high aspirations for its future. We want to continue the tradition of excellence that has existed here for so many years. Keith took over this team at a time when there were many distractions. The chance of being successful was very small. He made the decision to take this on, in my opinion, for two reasons. Number one because he really loves the University of Washington and number two, because he had a strong affection for his team and the coaches that were a part of this program a year and a half ago. He has provided great and steadfast leadership. He's demonstrated uncommon resolve and determination. He's instilled in our players discipline and accountability. They've gone to class, they've been good citizens. They've treated people with respect and treated each other with respect and it's an attribute to Keith Gilbertson.
"Keith's a good man to whom the University of Washington owes much and I'm proud to have him be a part of our university family. I'm very pleased too that he's willing to assist me as we invest in the football future at this university and I'm going to need his assistance in doing that. We are going to be back in the nation's elite. It will take a commitment on the part of many, many people and I think Keith has recognized that and he is willing to make it his goal."
HEAD COACH Keith Gilbertson
"I'm not angry at the University of Washington, I love this place. It's been a part of my family for three or four generations. I want the best for this program, I want the school to make a commitment to football again like it did when I was here before and we were the best football program in the country. Whoever they bring in I will support them all that I can. The best thing for me has been the great people I have got to work for here as an assistant coach, the great people that I coached with, and these unbelievable young guys I got to coach."
"I met today with the team. We explained our expectations for them for the remainder of the season and also for the interim period. I am going to ask that our fans and our supporters, just as I've asked the players, that they would stay focused on what remains of this year. We still have three important games yet to play. We are supporting our coaching staff throughout this time period and we want to treat them with enthusiasm and respect and hopefully this season will end on a good note. I have confidence that the players that are here have a lot of pride, they have a deep affection for the coaching staff, they are dedicated to ending this season on a positive note and I know that they will take that challenge seriously and do a great job.
On the decision making process: "I will begin the task immediately of developing and researching potential candidates for this position. I will not talk to sitting coaches until the regular season is over. We hope to complete the process in a timely manner, that is as much in advance of the signing date as possible. We will not rush. Our goal is to get the right person and not necessarily meet an external time frame. We will work with the university's leadership and a number of other constituent groups important to our program to develop a profile of the head coach that will take over our program.
"We will meet with members of the faculty, current and former players, some boosters and supporters, and some people who have a lot invested in the future of Husky football to get their input about the profile of the coach we would like to bring into this position. And using this profile, I will meet personally with the president throughout the process to identify who I believe to be the best candidate or candidates and then I will meet with an advisory committee that will review the final candidate or candidates at the appropriate time. In order to ensure that we have a deep and talented pool of candidates and to protect the integrity of the search, after today I will have no public comment on possible candidates until I introduce the new coach to you."
On why stay and help the UW: "I'm not angry at the University of Washington. I'm a bottom line guy and the bottom line is that with wins and losses it isn't happening for whatever reason. I'm not going to throw a lot of excuses out there. Like I said, I thought it was going to take some time and if they weren't going to make a commitment to me, that was fine, as long as they made a commitment to football on this campus, I'm okay with that.
"The other thing that really started me thinking that maybe it was time for a change is that we work on recruiting 365 days a year and a year ago at this time we had a large number of commitments. This year it was tougher and we had lost some kids because they thought there was too much uncertainty at Washington right now. So I felt like in the best interest of the school and the program, if there was some certainty, that recruits would hold off decisions until they see who comes in. I feel that it is really important that this next recruiting class match last year's to give this program some depth. All those things were weighing heavily on me, the way that recruiting wasn't going the way I had hoped, obviously the season wasn't, and when you're having our kind of season, recruits are going to be a little bit hesitant jumping in. So all those things really started to ware on me, and I felt like if it wasn't me, they had to make a commitment to somebody and I really felt strongly about that."
On what he told the team: "I told them that it was going to be business as usual for the next three weeks. They have to go to class or else I'd be pissed at them. They have to go to study tables and they have to go to tutors, and they have to be on time and they have to lift weights and they have to practice with some urgency and get better and we have to go like hell in the final games down the stretch."
On plans after season: "I don't know. I have a health issue I need to get taken care. I have a hip problem that needs to get taken care of, so that's going to take awhile. Then I don't know. I'll do whatever the university asks at the same time, I'm a football coach, that's what I know, that's all I've ever done, so we'll see."
"It would have been easy to say no and just go about my business. I had other opportunities to go places, but that would have been doing the opposite of what we tell our kids, which is to step up and take a shot, do the best you can do, it doesn't matter. And coaches are kind of like pioneers or astronauts anyway, there isn't a thing we don't think we can do, there isn't anything we can't handle, there's no problem we can't overcome. We're idiots like that. I did what I felt was the right thing to do at the time and I have no regrets, except I would have liked to win more games, that would have been fun."
On retention of any coaches: "I told them today when I met with them that I feel the world of them and I would be very happy to have any and all of them stay, but as is always the case in a changeover, the new head coach will make the determination."
"That's kind of been my message for a couple of weeks. Our staff is going to continue to talk to people every week with that same message and I think it's key that maybe there's a guy in this state who has said he's not interested, that they reexamine this and take a long look because I know the guy who comes in here will be a big timer, first class, and that there'll be a great commitment again on the campus to football and if you're a local guy, you should stick around here and play. I'll do what I can do in the next two weeks or month to keep guys interested and I have no problem selling this university."
On team's reaction to the announcement: "When they stopped cheering they carried Todd out on their shoulders. No, I told them what I told you and then I left so Todd could visit with them. I think some of them really understood and I think some of them were quite surprised."
On the profile of a coach he is looking for: "It's more about personal characteristics and experience than it is about a particular person. A couple things that you can rest assured about, they're going to need to have a P.H.D. in coaching, they need to know the game. They need to be people of the highest integrity with flawless character who understand the mission of the university and the job. With that being said, I think it's important for the new coach to have significant experience on a college campus. It's a culture shock I would think to go to college without any experience at all in recruiting and all the things that go along with it. That doesn't mean that it's impossible for that to happen, but I think it would be a challenge, but there are people in professional football who have had considerable collegiate coaching experience, Keith was one. The profile will have to fit our institution, it will have to fit our league, they have to be able to recruit in the west, particularly in the northwest, and put some pazzazz and give people some confidence and hope and I expect that with the help of President Emmert and our various boards and supporters that we'll get that done. This is a great job. I think there are coaches who dream about being at the University of Washington and hopefully we will find the person who finds their dream here and it works great."
On particular point where this decision became apparent: "I don't think there was any particular moment and I felt back for our coaches and our kids because not only was the table set in a tough way, but if it hadn't been for bad luck, we wouldn't have had any luck at all. We've had a dozen kids have surgeries and it was just one thing after another. Somehow we have to put all that behind us and focus with a positive frame of mind and with a new sense of energy and vision and move ahead and put Washington football back on top."
On how long it will take for UW to be on top: "I hope not long, but it is a process and there are no magic potions and it will take hard work and the right people doing the right things. For instance, if you're going to talk about an investment in our stadium, that's not going to take six months, that is a three to five year project just to get that started. The specifics will take some time, but the vision is not going to take very long. We're going to pretty quickly know what we need to do and how we need to go about doing it. It's the implementing that will take a little bit of time."
On the difficulty of bringing a coach in from a different part of the country: "I think it's lot different than it was 15 or 20 years ago. The world is a lot smaller and I think people adjust more quickly. I wouldn't rule any part of the country out. Obviously, if you have ties to the west coast, you will probably be at an initial advantage, but whether that is a difference-maker in hiring the right person, that's hard to say."
On relationship with Gilbertson: "I really appreciate our relationship. It has been very professional, very positive, and we have not had a cross word or disagreement. We're bound by one thing and that's to do the best thing for the kids that are here and I think together we've sailed through this stormy weather and I think there's still a little water in the boat, but we're doing fine."
On how UW has fallen behind the leaders in football: "I've had the chance to go workout players in Texas A&M and Texas. I've seen Utah's facilities and I know they have new facilities at Arizona and Arizona State and Stanford. Obviously the Oregon facilities are really good. In 1987 I think we had really good facilities, but it's the same facilities other than the indoor facility which is a first class, major league facility. The facilities build on campus have been for the whole athletic program than specifically football, so we've fallen behind there in that."
On giving up dream job: "It would have been anybody's dream whose dad was a high school coach in the state to coach at the University of Washington if you were a guy they went out and sought to hire, that you had a long-term commitment and you had an understood of what was going to happen for you when you were there. The way I got this job was not a dream job. That was hard on a lot of folks, (Neuheisel), us, everybody. I would not call this a dream job situation. I do love this place and I have a great passion for Husky football and I feel like I've made a contribution here. I'm sorry this year has not been a good one, but that was not a dream situation for anybody. It was real tough on our players, on Coach Neuheisel and his family, on our staff, on the university, that was not a dream situation by any means."
On how to make the next three weeks the most enjoyable as possible: "The best part of my day is when I go down that tunnel and go to practice. You'd have to be a coach to know it. I have 12 more practice days, Monday through Thursday for the next three weeks and hopefully we can make some good Saturdays in the next few weeks and that would be plenty."
On hardest part of coaching: "I think the amount of information. The internet coupled with things like talk radio, there's just so much of it that it has a mind of its own and you can't control it all and I don't pretend to be an expert at it. You used to be able to tell the flow of information. The other part is recruiting, all the information about recruiting now is tough to track. I think that's the hardest part now, but you don't get in my business unless you love doing it and you love being out there, but you can't control the talk."