Quinn's Quest for Success - Part II

In Part II of a two part interview, Cal State Fullerton Athletic Director Brian Quinn talks about fan support, the new Titan Hall of Fame, and what it would take to build an on-campus arena.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to read Part I of this interview.

TitanCentral.com: What are some of the things the fans can do to help out at Cal State Fullerton?

Brian Quinn: First of all, we really need to be positive. We need an army of guys because any negative stuff kills us in this world. It gets out into the street, you know, guys are unhappy. People are talking about the coach, they're talking about this, they're talking about that. It kills you in recruiting, just freakin' kills you. 'Cause the word is out and it gets out and everybody says, Well he can't win and they never recruit." We'll we're not helping them because some of us are out there bad-talking.

And I understand, we're all fans and we all have a right to do that but we're not good enough. At UCLA, you can bad-talk all you want and kids are still going to go there but any little bit here and someone says, "Gee the coach, he's not very good." It's that negative stuff and the next thing you know it really hurts you. We need an army of positive guys to keep boosting the coaches, boosting them up, making them feel good so they know we're behind them. And I have to do that as well.

TitanCentral.com: How about specifically for baseball and men's basketball, what can the fans and booster clubs do?

Brian Quinn: George, with the team he has, everybody coming back, basically the whole team, a fine recruiting class again, strong coaching staff, a great stadium to play in ... we're going to be very good. We would love to have the students come out. I don't know how but we need a lot more students coming to those games.

We have a pretty good adult following but we don't have a very good student following which is amazing to me with such a good quality program. So, we as a group need to sit down. We need to find ways to get more and more kids to come to those games and I think that would help.

George has needs out there, there's always needs, but they are in very good shape. That's a solid program. Kids want to go play at Fullerton. Kids in this area, all the local schools, they want to come and play here.

Basketball isn't there at all. So what can our fans and boosters do? Certainly come to games. Right off the top, we need our people there. Another thing is, "Eyes wide open." I used to do this at LMU. It's totally legal for a Paul Causey or a Kirk San Roman to come to the coaching staff to say, "Hey, I was just at a high school game and I saw a kid you should take a look at." There's only so many eyes and you can't catch everybody.

We picked up one of the best guards we've ever seen at LMU that our basketball coaches didn't want anything to do with. His name's Jimmie Williamson and he's coaching at Loyola High right now. Some of our boosters always went to his games and they kept coming back to the coaches and telling them to take a look at Williamson. But we had signed a guard that was one of the best in the west and the coaches said, "Nope. Kid can't play here." But they kept pressuring him and the rest is history. He was All-Freshman, All-Conference two or three years in a row. One of the guttiest kids I've ever seen play there.

That's the kind of thing you find out from your boosters. If we have 50 guys in the streets looking around... You can't talk to the kid and you can't recruit them but you're eyes are big. You guys know basketball. You've been to enough games to know who can play. That's more of what we need. We need good eyes out there. Go to those tournaments, go to those high school games, go to summer leagues, see what's going on. We can't always be there so that's something I think we should do.

The other thing is, some of us can give finances and some of us can give time. We can't all do the same, we all have different means. Those that are able, we need more money. We need people to step up and say ...

How much did we have for recruiting? We had $26,000. At LMU, 10 years ago we were getting $100,000 for men's basketball in recruiting. We raised it. The university gave zero. Well now you have a chance to recruit some kids. If you want to go to Europe, you want to go find some kids, you could go do it. $26,000? The women's program at LMU had $37,000 back when I was AD. I don't even know what they get today.

So we need help there. If we get this program really going, we will to have to recruit a lot harder until we win and if we have to go to some other places then that's what we're going to have to do. Once we win and the program's in good shape, there are plenty of kids in the state of California but right now they aren't coming to Fullerton.

So, resources, support, eyes and ears.

TitanCentral.com: You've talked before about starting a Titan Hall of Fame at Cal State Fullerton. Can you tell us more about this?

Brian Quinn: Sure. We want to do it next year. We would like to get it started to institute an athletics Hall of Fame to bring back the storied past, which we really have many people, many, many men and women who are so deserving here so I think it's long overdue. I'd like to have it so you do it maybe every other year so you don't do it all at once. You really want it to be special but you don't want to use up all your great athletes in the first three or four years. Start slow and try to build upon that and honor them and try to find a very nice place.

TitanCentral.com: Is this another part of the upgrade to the gym?

Brian Quinn: Yeah, it would be an upgrade in terms of what we put in there, how we do the plaques, how we do the signage and everything. I just don't know how yet because I'm waiting to see how the new trophy cases are made and put in on that wall to see how that looks in terms of space. I'm also trying to see how we can do the partition to the VIP room so I'm working on that this summer. Once we figure that part of it, then we'll work the Hall of Fame.

TitanCentral.com: Now what about marketing. I know Fullerton had a great hire right before you came on board in Steve DiTolla. Anything new going on is this area?

Brian Quinn: Yes, actually. Steve has met with his own staff and his student staff and they just put together an entire plan for marketing for next year, so they have a whole plan in place for marketing.

TitanCentral.com: Can you give us any specifics or is this something you want to go over next time?

Brian Quinn: We'll go over it next time.

TitanCentral.com: At one of the fabulous Titan Hoop Club's Chalk Talks you mentioned as one of your priorities as signing baseball head coach George Horton to an extension. Any progress here?

Brian Quinn: He's still here (laughs). We weathered the Fresno State storm but with personnel, in terms of contract, we're not supposed to really discuss this unless he makes it public. He does have a multiple year contract. Obviously we want George Horton to stay and what we've tried to do already is move one of his 10 month assistants up to 12 months. We're trying to do some other things as well, so yeah, we're working on those things. George, Steve and I have met and we're looking at things, kind of hearing his things. So we're addressing those issues directly, we're not waiting back.

He's too good. You want to hang on to him. He and Michelle, you have two outstanding coaches. You have to keep the stars.

TitanCentral.com: We're certainly not a big supporter of minor sports but over the years there have been some concern by one or two fans that the head coaches of these minor sports are under no obligation to produce winning records because their programs were under funded. Is this a misconception now that the students are paying to fully fund every sport? Is there more pressure and accountability on these coaches?

Brian Quinn: Any time you add more funds, you're going to have higher expectations, no question about that. And those programs that already have the funds have to produce. As long as I have any input into the matter...

Where I draw the line is where you have the resources and you have the materials, you have the facilities and you have everything and you don't win. It's a whole different story if you don't have those things. But if someone has those and they have the time to do those things, they had better produce. It's very simple.

TitanCentral.com: Is there any glimmer of hope to bring back football in a I-AA or as a non-scholarship sport? Does the Big West talk about this?

Brian Quinn: The Big West is a non-football conference and that's how they want to stay so there's nothing from the Big West and no, there's nothing at Cal State Fullerton or any conversation about restoring football. Our female population on campus is well over 60% so this means under the proportionality, student-athlete opportunities, you have to have an equal percentage in that range.

TitanCentral.com: I have a ton of other questions on this topic but I realize we are pressed for time here so perhaps I'll ask these the next time we talk. Where to you see Cal State Fullerton athletics in five years?

Brian Quinn: Five years from now I want us winning the conference championship in basketball and I want us progressing in the NCAA tournament. I want us in the upper tier, certainly three or four in the Big West Commissioner Cup standings. I want us to be fiscally responsible. I want no violations and to improve our graduation rates up to the proportion of the student body or higher. And I think if wee do that, and all priority sports vie for conference championships every year an progress in the NCAA tournament, that's what I would like to see in five years.

TitanCentral.com: Lastly, what would it take for us to build a new arena? What kind of money would we need to raise to get something like this started?

Brian Quinn: We could probably build an arena today, a full arena, in the 15 to 20 million dollar range.

TitanCentral.com: Couldn't the state make it a priority if one donor came up with a good amount?

Brian Quinn: There's all kinds of stuff that can be done but usually naming rights ...

Here at the university, I would think a major donor stepped forward with 2, 3 million dollars, it would probably be a good starting point, that would be my guess.

TitanCentral.com: Well, I know we have a few alumni with that kind of cash, so I'm sure we'll get that done soon. Mr. Quinn, thank-you so much for taking the time to talk with us. We look forward to all the great things you have planned for Cal State Fullerton.

Brian Quinn: My pleasure.