Coach Kellogg Press Conference
April 23, 2008
AMHERST, Mass. -
John McCutcheon opening statement:
"Thank you everyone for coming out this evening for this very special event. We couldn't be more excited about where we are with UMass basketball. It's been quite a ride here at UMass over the past three weeks, but where we are right now is what it's all about, where we go from here is even more important. I do want to briefly thank Chancellor Cole and my committee for their support and their effort over this past week, and my staff as well. But in particular, I want to identify Tim Kenney, my associate athletic director, who has been with me every step of the way through this process, without his help and support we wouldn't be here tonight. But tonight, we turn the spotlight on a very special young man. He's been a part of UMass basketball history and now he's going to be part of UMass basketball future. He's been associated with one of the most outstanding programs in the country for the past several years. He got a little guidance from a guy we know a little bit about, can't recall his name, but he's also very special. He's got a reputation as one of the country's most outstanding recruiters, but above all this, his passion and love for the University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts and the UMass basketball team are unequal. Ladies and gentlemen, it's my extreme pleasure to present to you the next head coach of the UMass men's basketball team, Derek Kellogg."
Derek Kellogg opening statement:
"First of all, I am delighted and honored to be standing in front of you all today as the head coach of the University of Massachusetts Minutemen. I worked my whole coaching career to someday be standing here in front of you as the head coach of my alma mater. I remember the first day on campus, I believe it was 1991, walking and enjoying being around the other students and just seeing the vibrance of the place. I said to myself, if it doesn't work out in the NBA, I could see myself coming back and someday being the head coach here. This is my dream job. I would like to thank and acknowledge some people for giving me the opportunity of having the confidence in me to be standing here at this podium in front of you this evening. President Jack Wilson, Chancellor Thomas Cole, Athletic Director John McCutcheon, Associate Athletic Director Tim Kenney, and all the members of the advisory committee, I thank you. I would like to make a special acknowledgement to a dear friend and mentor who can't be here today, Coach Jack Leaman. I know his wife and daughter, Rita and Laurie, are in the crowd and I want to say thank you. To the students and fans, we're thanking them from the bottom of my heart, but this is your team. I'm just here as a support role, this is your team. We need your support. We need all the fans, students, and people in the area to come out and support this team. We've got a great group of young men. I met with them this afternoon and I would be proud to have them in my home as part of my family. But they want the Mullins Center to be rocking again. They don't want an empty seat in that house and we need the students and the fans to come out and support these guys. I've talked about it with these players and that the fans will come out and support and do what they need to do. That's worth two or three more wins per year and you know what that means, we'll be in the NCAA Tournament. I want to send a special thank you out to my wife Nicole, who has been with me thick and thin in the coaching profession. She's been by my side, but she can not be here today. She's in Memphis two weeks away from giving birth to our first son, Max. And in the sonogram they said it looked like he could he really shoot free throws and has a 40-inch vertical. I know you're watching and I love you. I want to say hello to my parents, George and Ruth who are here today. They've guided me through not only my coaching career, but my life. And all the family and friends who are in the crowd, I see a lot of familiar faces out there and we appreciate your support. I want to send a special thanks to Ellen Calipari and Erin. But I want to send a whole hearted thank you to not only my college coach, a friend, father figure, mentor, and now a colleague, John Calipari. I was fortunate enough to work with him for the last eight years and he groomed for this day, this position, and to take UMass basketball to the next level of where we can take it. It's been a great time in my life to leave him and to come out on my own is bittersweet and I whole heartedly want to thank him for what he's done for me and my family.
Now let's get on to where the program is here today. Travis did a great job of building this program and getting it to the level to where it is right now. We have to applaud him and be thankful for what he's done. WE were able to observe from a distance and watch him many times on TV. We had the old UMass staff, whether it's the huge victory in the NIT, the game at Syracuse, and there was the game at Vanderbilt and the game at Fordham, where we weren't feeling too good after the games. But we rooted like we were here and I want to thank Travis for building a program, as an alum, and also for the easy transition in getting to know the players and making it as easy as possible for me to come in here and become the head coach.
Now my vision for the program and where we're going to go. The one thing I'm not going to do is promise anything. I'm not going to promise wins or loses, but what I will tell you, is that we are going to be the hardest working, most fun, most passionate, most energetic team in the country. We're going to play a style that the fans are going to want to come to watch and enjoy, that the people in the state and the community and area are going to come and feel the energy and passion in the air. I have a track record as a player and a coach as a winner. Here at UMass, playing in this building for a year and a half and also at the beautiful Mullins Center, we went to four straight NCAA tournaments. Coaching for Coach Calipari at Memphis, we have 11 NCAA tournament wins as a staff. We were ten seconds away from being National Championships. So I think I believe what it has to build a program and to take this program to the next level, which is to get to the NCAA Tournament. WE want to create a love affair with the student body, with the faculty, the people in the community. We want to reach out to the people of western Massachusetts and from that point, we want to go state wide and from their nation wide. We're going to do that with great yond men like we already have in the program. We're going to recruit and continue to get players like themselves and we're going to win. We're going to win. Not to be nostalgic, but there is no better feeling than walking through the tunnel at Mullins and having ten thousand people screaming, the band playing, the cheerleaders flipping, the t-shirts going into the crowd. How many people were a part of that? And for those of you that were, and for those of you that weren't, I want everybody in this room and everybody across the state and in the area to feel what I felt as a player. Thank you."
Coach Kellogg on the staffing situation:
"Well will tell you this much, we could really use a staff right now. What we're looking for are coaches who that are going to be confident in their abilities and that aren't afraid to make suggestions. We're going to try to get the best team members as staff that we can get. We haven't made any decisions yet, but there will be people over the next week or so that we will contact and possibly interview and get to know a little bit better."
Coach Kellogg on the events of the last few weeks:
"It still feels very surreal, going from your first ever coaching experience in the Final Four and looking back in the crowd getting the thumbs up like you're going to be the National Champions to having the opportunity to interview at a special place in your heart, like the University of Massachusetts. It has been just an unbelievable ride. I met with John McCutcheon and Tim Kenney and we had a great meeting and from that point on I was just waiting for the great news. When it came, there were no real negotiations, no I'll wait and see, but when can I come."
Coach Kellogg on tracking the Travis Ford situation:
"You could say that. I was actually very happy with the way the program was going with Travis as a head coach, as being an alumnus and being from the area with friends and family all around. I think it's great for the area that the program is doing so well. I was always looking forward for the opportunity and it just seemed to work out perfectly that things were going so well for my in my career at Memphis and things were going so well here that, to me, thank goodness, John McCutcheon was a match made in heaven."
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