Husky Football Blog
Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.
December 5, 2007 5:50 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
Here are a few of the more pertinent quotes from today's press conference:
From UW athletic director Todd Turner:
Overview of the decision to retain Tyrone Willingham: "I think it's clear that none of Husky nation is thrilled to have only four wins under our belt the past year, but the body of work I have observed and the university leadership has observed the past three years gives clear evidence to me that that record will change in the very near future. In fact, we are committed to that and feel stongly that coach Willingham has provided the kind of leadership that's gives us the base to make that bappen.
"The charge that Tyrone had when he arrived was to put in the building blocks for a program that can sustain itself over a long period of time, and by any measure the foundation we believe is in place to alllow the wins now to take care of themselves''
On the process: "We approached this situation as business as usual and as I always do, coach Willingham and I began visiting almost immediately, even before the end of the season, talking about things that he needed that we could provide that would enable his team to have better success.''
"As always, I involved (President Mark Emmert) in my evaluatoin and discussion and he had some good conversations with me and Tyrone individually and me and Tyrone together and we call came out on the same page that the building blocks are in place and with continued vigilance and creative and good thinking and hard work and continued investment, the next step of the rebuilding of the Husky football program will not be far away, and that's winning games.''
On what some of those building blocks are: "First and foremost, you've got to look at the recruiting class. We're really encouraged about the reception that our staff has received, particularly in state, from some of the better players, and I think that validates in many ways the hard work and effort that's taking place over a period of time to change some of the perceptions and images of the football program here. Frankly it's been a challenge for all of our programs in every sport to create the kind of trust and reputation for athletic programs at our university that are consistent with our values and actually consistent with what we really are. So I think we're starting to see some fruition of that. I hope our basketball coaches and other coaches could validate that for you. I think their recruiting successes have been improving as time goes on and likely that will continue to occur in football.
"And the attitude and experience of the players as has been exemplified in some of the things that they have told you (reporters) points to some quality in their experience that's only missing a few more victories. Their performance in the field was gutty, they never gave in. That's a credit to the leadership, not only of the players, but to the coaching staff that put them in those positions. Could we have won a few more games? Yeah, sure we could have. But we could also have given up at any time, and that never happened. I think that's a credit to the leadership of the program.
"I think too the context of knowing that the Pac-10 is as good as it's ever been, that success is not a guarantee for anyone. This is a tough league, and competing in it requires diligence and consistency and patience over time. We will be there, and I'm convinced of that. Otherwise we would be having a different conversation today. We feel really good about where we're going. We're not pleased about where we are. We're very concerned about building upon that, and we're doing all that we can to give our students the experience that Dr. Emmert outlined in his comment.''
His comment to fans who didn't want Willingham retained anymore: "First of all, you've got to love your fans. The fact that they'll take the time to express their opinion--what would worry me is if nobody cared at all. We track pretty closely the feedback that we've gotten from the fans over the outlets that are available to them, and we heard from a lot that were not very happy and we also heard from quite a few that were proud of the University of Washington's football program. They were proud of the way we competed, they were proud of the way that they were being led, and they encouraged us to stay true to our values, true to our vision and to serve the broader mission of the university in the proper way. At the end of the day, I think our university leadership felt the same way.''
AND FROM WILLINGHAM:
General statement: "Our football team, as I've said, I believe is poised to do some good things. I share the disappointment our president echoes from our fans, our boosters and our supporters. There is no one that wants to win badder than Coach Willingham or the team. And what we will continue to do is endeavor to do that by making the right decisions in our program to put us in a place to win.''
On what are some of those decisions: "The No. 1 thing we have to do right now is continue the excellent job of recruiting that we got started. Todd mentioned the reception we've been receiving I think is excellent. I think we're doing an excellent job in state and a fine job out of state. We got to secure those guys we already got commitments from and cont the process of adding to them so that we have a team that can be better in the future. And the other segments in the evaluation of our program will be as we normally done each year. We sit down and try to evaluate each segment of our program and make decisions at the appropriate time.
On whether there will be staff changes: "That will be part of our normal evaluation process that moves us forward. We will look at all those things because I've said this many times --- I am committed to Husky football, to do the things that are right and appropriate for the program. We will evaluate as we normally do and make the appropriate decisions.''
On whether there is a timeline to making those changes: "There's not. If something has to take place you'd always like it sooner than later.''
On whether he listened to the debate the last few days: "Having been in the business as long as I have, there's always going to be something nipping at the coach's heels. So I have been very fortunate that I have been able to maintain my focus in these processes because unfortunately I've seen them before. I would imagine, hopefully not a situation like this again, but there's going to be something. So it's always difficult, but if you can keep your eyes on your prize you'll maintain focus and be okay. And I think I've done that.
On whether there was a point where he knew he was keeping his job: "The whole process is that as you go through it... I said even before the season that a coach is always in that position. For me, that is probably a very comfortable feeling to have because it means you never put your guard down, relax or get comfortable. You keep trying to do your job the best you can. But with our conversations over the last couple days that always have, then put things in the proper place, the forces spoke and we moved on.''
On what he would say to fans who didn't want him back: "My message to them is, 'please hold on.' We've had some rough and turbulent waters to navigate when I arrived and hopefully we are in the process of getting through those difficult waters and punch through to be the kind of football team I think we can be and -- to me ...quot; that's exciting.
On whether he feels this is any more of a challenge now: "For me, I've lived in a daily world of doubt, but I don't think that's a bad place to be at that you wake up every morning with a little chip, something to prove. I think I've always been that way. Sometimes it makes you hesitant to let people in when you are that way, but at the same time, it's a great way to make sure that you are always on your game.''