Quinn took over for retiring AD John Easterbrook on January 14th of this year and he seems to be enjoying every minute. At 60 years young, he has the passion and excitement college intern yet. Throw in 40 years experience and you now have the Titans new AD.
Outsiders will love him because he brings something we haven't had in the department in quite awhile: a positive attitude. The insiders? Well, some may not like what he brings because it will mean change and more work. Hopefully lots of change and lots of work.
TitanCentral.com had the pleasure of sitting down with Quinn and talking about some of his plans. Some are already in progress and others are coming soon.
TitanCentral.com: You've been on the job six months now, what are your impressions thus far? What are some of the things that need to be worked on?
Brian Quinn: Well my first impressions are very positive. I think we have a great staff here in place, really strong people. The institution does want to win and I really feel that from the president and vice-president. They'd like to see us win.
Things that need to be done: A lot needs to be done. Attitude. We have to get an attitude that says "we can", not "we can't." I hear that too often. My slogan to everyone is, "Write me solutions, not problems," and that's what I hope to do. Come in with solutions to how we can make it better, don't come with a problem how we can't make it better. I hear a lot of that on the campus and in this department. Let's not except mediocrity or non-success.
Look at the gym. It's a lot better than what it was and it's going to be even better. We're going to turn it into a great home court for our basketball teams.
The biggest goals I have? Men's and women's basketball. We have to get those programs up. We want them to be in the same league as our baseball program is, as our softball program. Also women's volleyball is another, but our primary goal is men's basketball. That has to be our number one goal right now: to get that thing fixed.
TitanCentral.com: Obviously that's going to take some up front money. Is this something you can address with the president or how is that arranged, specifically men's basketball?
Brian Quinn: First of all the state can only give so much. We're pretty comfortable from what we receive from the institution, from the state and student body. What we don't do well here is outside money and that's the difference in a lot of programs.
We're pretty well funded. We're fully scholarshipped, the salaries and those sort of things, those are taken care of. What we have to do here is get more recruiting dollars. Our recruiting dollars are very low. We need to raise that money, find ways through increased revenues, ticket sales, through increased donations, through increased rentals of the facilities, that's the way to do it.
TitanCentral.com: To me you have to put money in to get something back and I don't think I've seen that in years past. How can you address something like this?
Brian Quinn: First thing we have to do, and I keep going back to it, is make the building look better. Number two, make it friendlier, make it so people want to come back. We can do all we want, stand on our heads, dog and pony shows to get people to come, but if they don't like what they see, they don't come back again.
So friendly atmosphere, fun, and a team that's competitive, then it takes care of itself. You don't have to do a whole lot once you get there, so in the very beginning it's a lot of hustling. It's working with the students. We're putting all new bleachers under the baskets... It looks like if the disabilities act passes, they are going to be eight feet closer to the court which means we will really have a good atmosphere in there. It will be fun. Another thing about the bleachers under the basket, what could eventually happen, when we really get good, they can become chairback seats because they're made that way (without replacing them).
TitanCentral.com: Well, I was going to ask you about the gym so we might as well get into that. What other plans do you have in store?
Brian Quinn: Lighting is going to be changed over the center court, bright lighting and they are currently working on that. We really need that. If you have the center really illuminated and the rest of the gym not as light then it gives you an arena look.
And the drop-down scoreboard, we haven't given up on that. We still have plenty of time to do that and I still think we're going to find a way to get it done before basketball season starts. We're giving out proposals, working with university advancement, coming up with ways ... we're going to find it.
TitanCentral.com: What would this cost?
Brian Quinn: About 40 grand. 13 foot sides. Gorgeous. That would be an arena then. You would get just a whole different flavor.
And the next goal would be to get the south side seats and that would be about $75 thousand. If we can do that than we'll have an arena of over 4,000 seats. It would be a great building. It would look good, it would be bright, it would be cheerful, then we've got to make it friendly. Let's have a good time. Come here, rock 'n roll, don't be profane, don't use racists statements or sexual statements but come and have fun. Have a good time.
So those are the things we are trying to do and with that, I think you'll see people coming back. I think the kids will play harder. That's the beginning for basketball. Then there's the fundraising aspects. Finding more people out there. There are plenty of people in this area looking for a winner. There's nothing out here in North Orange County for them to really support. There is no team. We have to become north county's place to go.
TitanCentral.com: How do we get the corporate sponsorships and local companies to help support the basketball team?
Brian Quinn: It's the building. Look at the baseball park. We have so many out there and Steve (DiTolla) does a marvelous job in selling those. He doesn't have any, what we call, inventory. This gym has not been a friendly place, in terms of selling it because of the building. Who wants to put their stuff in there? Again, if the building is sharp and it looks good ...
... if the scoreboard is not paid for by one donor, there's also ways because there is room for advertising. There's a lot we can do with the gym if it looks better.
TitanCentral.com: Now I know you don't have a sponsor for the scoreboard but isn't this something the president can do with the snap of his fingers? I mean, $40K is not very much relatively speaking, so why can't he just say, "Go ahead and do it and well pay it back with advertising"? And same thing with a sound system. That can't cost much relative to the entire school budget. How much is this?
Brian Quinn: $65 thousand for the sound. The scoreboard I think we're going to get. I'm working with advancement on this. I'm just very optimistic about everything anyway's so I just believe it can get done. I just tell people we can do it and they all look at me (like I'm nuts). But here we are, we got a $105 thousand for the bleachers and who said we weren't going to get that but we did. And we got the floor redone and who said we were going to get the $37 thousand (or whatever it was) but we did. And the lighting...
TitanCentral.com: Now, just to clarify, the $75K was for the south side bleachers? And that won't happen this year, right?
Brian Quinn: Yes, it's for the mezzanine upstairs. And that won't be ready even if we had the money right now. We should be able to do that next June so I have to find $75 thousand between now and June and we definitely will find it.
TitanCentral.com: To be honest, all these improvements are relatively inexpensive and I believe it's going to transform the gym into a nice home court advantage.
Brian Quinn: It will be an old place that's new and that's kind of fun. It's going to be a place you walk in and say, "Wow, this place is sharp. This is a home court advantage."
TitanCentral.com: Yup, if you can fill the seats I can't imagine a louder place to be than the new Titan Pavilion. Don't get me wrong, The Pyramid is a nice facility but it just will never be a loud arena and that's what college basketball is all about. There is not a louder place than the old Titan Gym when it's filled. Just ask Jerry Tarkanian.
Brian Quinn: I can only imagine what that would be like in there. This should be that way again. We should make it so much fun and just rock and roll in here... I just think we have to get after it though. We have to find ways out there to get our community back but we have to give them a product.
TitanCentral.com: Speaking of product, what's your feeling on what's in store for the coming season and the new recruits?
Brian Quinn: Hopefully they'll all turn out and they will be eligible. It's always that worry when you have so many community college kids coming in. And Donny's right on it making sure they finish those AA degrees. Once they get that done we could really see a whole different basketball team because we have some good kids coming back.
We now have Brandon (Campbell) coming back which is real good news. He's not going the Pro (track) route and he's an athlete and he'll help us. He can defend people and he can do a lot of things for us. And I think we can move Derick Andrew to the two guard which is probably a position he is more comfortable in. So I'm looking at that and thinking we have a couple big kids to throw the ball to (Pape, Babacar) and you throw in the recruits, which I hear really good things about, the team could get a lot better.
And the schedule, truthfully, with the non-conference schedule we have a good chance now to win some basketball games. I think Donny has scheduled some teams to give our kids a chance and I think that's really important.
Check back soon for Part II of "Quinn's Quest for Success"