Coach Kevin Morris Press Conference
Jan. 19, 2009
John McCutcheon opening statement:
"I will also thank you for coming out on a holiday. We really hadn't planned it like this but sometimes those things get taken out of our hands. It's a very exciting day. We couldn't be more pleased with where we are right now. I do want to thank Chancellor Holub and our consultative committee for their help in this process and also two staff people--Dan Markowski and Tim Kenney who provided a great deal of support through the past 10 days in a very intense process. To speak to the process a little bit. We started right off the bat a week ago Friday when we got the news that Coach Brown was moving on. We had a list at hand, but we added to that. We had really over forty people in our pool initially that we had identified or were referred to us or had called in to put themselves into consideration. That group was whittled down to about nine that we evaluated and brought in and had in-person interviews with both on and off campus. It was a very quality pool. We were very pleased with the response and level of interest and expertise in that candidate pool. In the end analysis, I think we got an individual who knows UMass Football, is familiar with the program, who will bring energy, new excitement, new ideas and new vision for our program. He will represent the program with class and integrity. I couldn't be more pleased to introduce to you the next head football coach at the University of Massachusetts, Kevin Morris."
Kevin Morris opening statement:
"I'd like to thank Chancellor Holub and John McCutcheon for giving me this opportunity to lead the UMass football program. It is a tremendous program. For the past five years, my family and I have been extremely happy out here at the University of Massachusetts and obviously with the success we've had, it lends to wanting to be a part of this program. Having an opportunity to lead the program is one that I am extremely excited about. When I look at the progress we've made over the past five years. Those five years were the best in UMass history in terms of wins and losses under Coach Don Brown and I appreciate the opportunity Don gave me to be the offensive coordinator during that time. I now look forward to taking it even another step higher in working towards a national championship, which is the ultimate goal of our program here at UMass. We have great kids in our football program, a couple guys are here today and I appreciate them coming out. Great kids attract other great kids, so we're excited about finishing up this recruiting class and moving on to the years beyond. We have a great group of kids already committed to UMass and look forward to finishing it out to join the guys here in the crowd today and see how well we can do on Saturdays next fall. But again, thank you very much and I appreciate everyone coming out today. I want to thank my wife, Rebecca, and my son, Ryan, for their constant support and as well as the staff. Our staff members here, we are going to continue with the staff that was on board with Coach Brown, so we're excited to keep this thing rolling. Thank you very much and Go Minutemen!"
McCutcheon on hiring process:
"Of course we knew Kevin somewhat from our experiences with him over the past five years as a person of quality, of high standards and great work ethic. Obviously a very accomplished offensive coordinator as evidenced by what our program has done over the past five years. But I think during this process I also got a feel for his approach and what his approach would be as a head coach. This isn't a matter of just continuing on what Don Brown did. This really hinged on Kevin's vision and how he is going to lead the program. That was very well thought out and very well presented by him during our conversation and really that's what tipped the scales. It was a combination of his knowledge of the program, but also how he sees the program, how he's going to address various components of that during the future and the energy he's going to bring to that."
Morris on his vision for the program:
"Yes. I think the program has a great foundation right now. All we're looking to do is build upon that foundation with the great coaching staff that we have. We'll add a couple more staff members and continue to bring in really the type of kid that UMass can attract. We're still going to maintain a nationwide recruiting process and also hit the different streams of the junior colleges when we have to fill a need as well as the transfer students. Those things will pretty much stay the same. We're just going to try and maintain a level of academic quality with that group as well and will really make our foundation that much bigger and stronger in each of our recruiting classes from here on out."
Morris on replacing recent graduate Liam Coen at quarterback:
"We lost Liam Coen who is leaving as one of the best quarterbacks in the program's history. Right now we have four quarterbacks in the program who will have an open competition for the job. We're going to bring in one more quarterback as well. It's an open competition and competition breeds the best."
Morris on becoming a head coach again:
"I think it goes in cycles. I was the head coach for a while at the Division III level and was really excited about being a coordinator. Then the cycle switches back and you really get excited about being a head coach again and formulating your own ideas, what you would improve upon and what you would change."
Morris on his interview process:
"As I said to the staff guys, I didn't think I messed up our opportunity to stay here around the program. I thought it went pretty well. I don't make the decisions. That was up to John and his staff and we're certainly happy he made this one."
Morris on the reaction of recruits to his hire:
"The reaction has been great. We talked to a bunch of the recruits this morning and they're very excited about keeping the continuity of the program and what UMass represents under this program. A lot of our kids, the kids we're still recruiting now, we've been selling UMass to them and UMass attracts a good quality student-athlete. That's kept the stream going and I think we're right back on those kids as of this morning and now we can actually give them some foundation. I can tell them that yes, I am the head coach and the message stays the same. Those kids have stayed on board all the way through the process with us and we're looking to yield an outstanding class."
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