Jim Boylen was named new head coach of the Runnin' Utes Tuesday.
March 27, 2007
Transcript of Press Conference to Introduce Jim Boylen as the Head Men's Basketball Coach at the University of Utah
Remarks from University President Michael K. Young
"I just wanted to take the opportunity to do a couple things. Most importantly I want to welcome Jim and Christine to the University of Utah community and family. It really is that and the more conversations I have with our new coach, the more convinced I am that he sees it that way.
"Dr. Hill and I have had a number of conversations as we have worked through this process. I have come to two realizations. One is that we have an extraordinary tradition of great basketball here at Utah. This has been one of the great teams ... in the United States. It has a long and very, very distinguished history with extraordinary accomplishments behind it. Also, I am committed to and convinced it has great accomplishments ahead of it as well. Secondly, a realization that this team has also been a deeply integrated part of this university. Our athletes are students first. We always use the term student-athlete and that has an important connotation. It isn't accidental that the word student comes first. In all of our conversations with our new coach, I thought that he was at least five steps ahead of me on each and every one of those points. That made me very excited. This is someone who understands our tradition. He understands our program deeply and understands basketball. But he also very deeply understands the role basketball plays within an institution, but more importantly the role that education plays within the context of basketball. It is a thrill to be able to welcome Jim and his family to the University of Utah.
"Dr. Hill and I have spent an enormous amount of time over the past few weeks, talking and working together on these matters. I am delighted with the outcome. I am thrilled that Chris Hill is my partner on these enterprises. He is, I think, without a doubt, the best athletic director in the country and I think he has demonstrated that again today."
Remarks From Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill "Today is a good day. I'm excited about what's going on today. I also wanted to thank some people. I want to thank President Young. I have worn out the battery on his cell phone. Morning, noon and night I've been calling him about this situation and it is wonderful to have the support of the President. I want to thank some other people, too. I want to thank my staff. It is very difficult to be gone as much as I have been for the past month-and-a-half. I don't multi-task very well. I get tunnel-vision and just work on something. So, you can't leave this place, be gone as much as I have and work as hard as I can to find the very best coach that I can find for this University without a great staff around me. I don't have to worry about things when I leave.
"I also want to thank my family. They've put up with me through all that's gone on. They were very, very supportive and so much a part of what I do. It is impossible for me to do what I do without their support at home.
"I don't know if I should thank the next group or just acknowledge them. But I mean this sincerely, the media has been tactfully persistent and allowed me to do my job the way I want to do it. They have asked me the questions they wanted to ask and allowed me to answer the questions the way I feel best to answer. I really do mean that. They've been quite tactfully aggressive and always figure things out before I do. But I do appreciate that.
"Next year, we celebrate our 100-year anniversary of basketball. I think it is going to be a great time for us. Utah Basketball is very important for us.
"As I looked for a coach, I wanted somebody that would prepare our team the best. If a coach is going to prepare a team the best, that means he has to be prepared the best. I'm one to do things on my yellow notepad. I prepare for an interview, I write my notes down and I'm very careful to say before somebody comes `OK, I'm going to ask this question and that question.' But I need my yellow notepad with me to know what I'm going to say next. Jim was so prepared, as I was going down my notepad, I said `OK, I have got to ask ... no, he's already answered that.' I thought he was cheating. He had a crib sheet or something. Maybe he got into my room the night before. But he did that. It was kind of interesting. Then, an hour into the interview he had me up defending the post and showing me how he would do the pick and roll. He kind of had me there. I didn't know what do next. He had me going. I didn't pick up a charge though. At my age, you don't pick up a charge. That's for young guys to do.
"I share a vision with Jim - how good we want to be, how we want to treat our student-athletes and how we want to develop them. To be the best, you've got to be around the best at the highest level. Jim has done that at the college level and he's done that in the NBA. The knowledge he brings to the game ... he is both a teacher and someone who learns. He is constantly doing both those things. It is an affectionate term, for those of us in basketball, to be known as a gym rat. Jim, at his core, is a gym rat. That's where he wants to be. That's what he wants to do and he loves teaching. I love his enthusiasm. I love his commitment. I love his ability to want to hold people accountable. I'm excited to introduce our basketball coach, Jim Boylen."
Comments from Utah Head Coach Jim Boylen
"To say I'm jacked up would be an understatement. This is a big day for me. I'm pumped. I have two things I want to say first. I am very thankful to not be wearing any green. That green gets a little old, although Michigan State was a great place to learn and coach and work for Tom Izzo. Also, from here on out, it's We, Us and The Muss. That's our statement.
"I feel in my heart we can be great here at Utah. Our leadership is great. President Young and Chris were just unbelievable in the process - the honesty, the sincerity, the depth of the search. It pumped me up. It was a challenge. There were a lot of great candidates. But I felt I was born for this job. I'm excited. My family's excited.
"Really it came down to relationships for me. Past relationships, coaches I was with, players I was with. I coached Keith Van Horn when I was with the Milwaukee Bucks. I coached a lot of pro players. I put a lot of guys in the pros when I was in college. I've been around great people, great players. You're both (Dr. Hill and President Young) great people and I really appreciate both of you.
"I also think it is important to know what the vision is for us and for our team. I'm not big into me and I. I think it has to be a team effort with everybody. But we have 28 championships here. I figure I'm 41, going to be 42, I can coach for 20 more years. If we don't leave with 48, then I didn't do my job. I believe that. You have to dream it before you can live it. We're going to dream it here and we're going to live it.
"We're going to develop our players. We're going to take young men and make them into men and we're going to be passionate about the way we do it. To go into a lot of basketball, I'm not going to do that today. What I'm going to say is that we're going to play hard and we're going to compete. If we do those things and we learn and get better every day, we're going to be a team you can be proud of.
"Again, I'm thankful to be here and it is a big day for the Boylen family."
Questions and Answers With Coach Boylen Q: Did you have to go out and buy the (red) tie? A: "I did. Actually my wife bought the tie for me. We were talking on the phone and I was running around town trying to get some things done. She was going by the mall and I said I gotta find a red tie. I looked at one place and they didn't have a red tie, they were all green and blue and gold for Michigan and Michigan State. So she ran in and bought the tie for me and I'm happy to be wearing it."
Q: How do you answer questions about never beign a head coach before? A: "I get that question a lot. I defer to people I respect, who have been through the same situation. Rudy T(omjanovich), Tom Izzo, Chris Hill - they've been successful. We're going to get it done here, not because I've been a head coach or I haven't. It's because we're going to do it the right way and we're going to compete. That's really what it's all about."
Q: What do you think of the term mid-major? A: "First of all, if you're saying that Utah is a mid-major ... I don't think it is a mid-major. This is a high major to me. If it's not right now, we're going to make it one. The pressure is going to be on us to do that - on our players and our staff. My job as a head coach, no matter what level you're at, is to hold your staff and players accountable. That's what it's all about. Not accountable to my goals, but their goals. My team's goals ... they want to win. My job is to hold them accountable to that. My assistants want to win. They want to get head jobs like I just did. I have to hold them accountable to those actions. The high major, mid-major ... whatever you want to call it. To me, this is a high, high major and we're going to make it that way."
Q: Why do you feel you were born for this job? A: "Well, I love the city. I love the community. I've spent a lot of time here. I tried to figure out how many days I've spent in Utah over my 20 years of coaching. My first year with the Rockets, we had summer league here and we stayed at the Park Hotel. That was 15-20 days a summer for 10 straight years. There's 200, 150 days. We had three, seven-game series with the Jazz. I tried to figure it out. It could be 200, 250 days that I've been in Utah. Jeremy Ranch has brought me to my knees. Deer Valley brought my wife and I to our knees. We skied there one year over the All-Star Break. I've been to P.F. Chang's. When you're in the NBA, you go to P.F. Chang's downtown to eat. I've been to the Delta Center. I'm just familiar with it. Great people, great families. I've got two small children. I think it is a great place to live, raise your family and compete at the highest level. Those combinations are not easy to find ... to be in a major city with an NBA team, where basketball is valued. Again, the people that I'm associated with and are my bosses. I just think there couldn't be a better fit for me. When I envisioned being a head coach, I was hoping to get something like this. I was hoping to be part of something this positive. Again, I can't say it enough. I am jacked up. We're going to get it done and we're going to have fun. The other thing I think about Salt Lake City is, there are good people here and they care about people. I think winning is important. It is important at every level. But it is about how you do it. It is about the product you put out there. We're going to graduate our players, we're going to win and we're going to put guys in the pros. That's what we're going to do here. That's what we've done everywhere I've been and that's what we're going to do."
Q: Was there a time when you thought about this job, specifically? A: "Yes. When I was first in the NBA, I was a scout and a video guy. I did every job. When I worked for Rudy T, he wanted me to do every job in the organization from getting the Chinese food to washing his car. I was good at all those things and I was proud to do it. He sent me up here to scout and to see a Utah Jazz game and I saw a practice up here and saw the Huntsman Center and was on campus. Believe it or not, we used to walk from the Marriott downtown to East High School, because we used to practice there in the summer. So I used to walk the city. I have been here and I'm very familiar with it. This is a great basketball place. I'm not going to comment on what's happened here the last three years, or what that's all about. We're going to start from today and we're going to try to build something special and it's going to take all of you to do it. It's not just about me. Again, it's We, Us and The Muss and I think we gotta stick to that."
Q: About the NBA Championship ring you're wearing, does it help you prepare for this job? A: "I'll tell you what. It helps in recruiting. I know that. I have another one too that has back-to-back on it. I have a Big Ten Championship ring. One of the neatest rings I have is we coached the All-Star game in 1997 and there are very few of those floating around. The biggest thing about this is it speaks about the mountaintop. Getting to the mountaintop is what this is all about. We're going to try to get there to get (a ring) for the other hand from Utah."
Q: What about assistant coaches? A: "That's going to be a search. That's going to be a process. Dr. Hill and I have talked about assistants. We've put some names on paper. In our interview, we talked about staffing. I have some people in mind. We're going to take our time and hire the right people. I believe in teachers, because I think teachers are the guys that can recruit. In today's age, you've got to give a player something he can use. Players don't run through the wall for you anymore, like when I was a kid. They don't do that. You've got to give them something they can use. You've got to give them a goal they can work toward and give them the goals to get there. My assistants are going to be teachers. I don't want just office guys. I don't want just recruiters. Recruiting is very important. It is the life-blood of your team. But no matter what kind of player you get, if you can't develop him to reach his potential, that's what coaching is all about. At every level you have to improve. Tim Duncan got better when he got in the league. Hakeem Olajuwon got better when he got in the league. We had Drew Neitzel at Michigan State. He went from six points a game last year to 18. He got better. The development part of it is very important. I want a staff that develops players and develops young men into men. That's very important to me."
Q: What do you know about the current team and the fact that you may not be able to bring in your own players for a while? A: "Those are my players. We'll get new players to come here as recruiting classes come in. Those are my players. They're who we're going to war with. That's what we're going to do. As of today, they're our team. We'll handle recruiting when the time's right. We've got some guys on the radar. We have some needs, I think. The biggest need ... is to improve our toughness and improve our competitive edge. If we do those two things, I think we have enough talent, enough skill level to win games. But those two things have to improve. That's my job. That's why Dr. Hill brought me here. We talked about that and that's a priority."
Q: Where will you recruit primarily? A: "We're going to recruit Utah, obviously. We're not going to be limited to anything. We're going to recruit the player, not necessarily a place. We're going to try to build with good pieces. I'm a big believer in competitive guys. I'm a big believer in toughness. We'll have a saying on our wall whenever I can get a few dollars from Dr. Hill to paint a few things around here. I'm going to put up `Players Play - Tough Players Win.' So if you see PP-TPW around here, you'll know what it means. I really believe that. Talent is important. But we're going to find guys who want to represent Utah with toughness. If you come through the lane, you're going to get hit here. That's what I believe in. To win big and win in the NCAA Tournament and move on and win championships, you gotta hold people down. You've got to make it a scrum, a war. The greatest example of it is the Utah Jazz. They make it a battle, they make it a fight. We've got an example right down the hill of how to win championships and how to do it with toughness, with grit. Maybe not the most talented guys all the time. But the most focused, prepared and the toughest guys. I really believe that. I think it is that way in life. I really believe that. That's going to be our job and my job to instill that toughness."
Q: What do you say to Utah fans who have seen highly successful coaches win big quickly and cash that in someplace else? A: "That's a great question. I talked to Dr. Hill about that. He asked me that `How do we figure this out where if we do hire you, we don't lose you?' I made a commitment to him to build this thing. I have no plans on moving. I've moved four times in five years. If you think I want to move again, you're crazy. I have two small children. My wife is very excited to be here. My brothers are hunters, fly fishermen and skiers. You think I'm moving? I'm a golfer and I know the golf is great around here. We're here for the long haul. What this really is about is establishing something for me and my family and Dr. Hill to put our handprints together on something and make it great. You have to dream it before you can do it. You gotta believe it that you can do it before you do it. I believe it."