Morgan, Players Speak on Hiring

Wednesday brought a new era to Iowa State men's basketball when Wayne Morgan was introduced as the 17th head coach in the program's history. Cyclone players commented on the hiring, as did University president Dr. Gregory Geoffroy and athletic director Bruce Van De Velde. Here is a sampling of their comments.

Bruce Van De Velde:

"The search process was initiated on May 6th for a new head men's basketball coach at Iowa State, and lasted nearly seven full days. The initial pool was comprised of nearly 30 candidates from across the country. Twenty-eight of the 30 candidates had head coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level. The list was narrowed to five finalists. Of those five, Iowa State University pursued three. One of which we have here today."

"I want to thank the search and screening committee for their leadership and counsel during this process. Those members that participated included Steve Bergstrom, Dan Rupprecht, Gary Thompson and Jeff Johnson. I also want to recognize the 23 members who served on the advisory committee. The qualities outlined by this group's input were essential, as we identified qualified candidates."

"Those qualities included a coach who had demonstrated character, trust and integrity; a commitment to student-athlete welfare, academic progress and NCAA rules; a proven national recruiter that demonstrated success; coaching success at the highest level as both an assistant coach and head coach; and most of all, a player's coach who could develop, teach, mentor and communicate with young men."

"Over the course of the last seven days, through a national search, we have found a person that personifies these characteristics."

"Wayne Morgan's demonstrated record as a head coach and assistant is one of true success. As a head coach at Long Beach State University, eight of the first nine athletes that he recruited graduated. At Syracuse University, Coach Morgan participated in two Final Four appearances and in two National Championship finals. He has made three Elite Eight appearances, five Sweet 16 appearances, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, five Big East titles, three Big East Tournament titles. He won 91 games as the head coach at Long Beach State and one Big West Conference championship when his team finished with a 15-1 regular season record."

"We haven't reached terms fully on the contract. We still have the details to work out, but it will be a four-year contract."

"An outstanding recruiter with a national reputation, Coach Morgan has worked with 19 NBA athletes. We have found our man right here in Ames, Iowa. Congratulations to Wayne and his family. I am proud to introduce the new head coach of the Iowa State men's basketball program, Wayne Morgan."

Dr. Gregory Geoffroy:

"We are truly delighted to have Wayne Morgan as our new head coach for men's basketball at Iowa State University. I want to congratulate Wayne and his family on this important new role and thank him for his interest in this position and devotion to Iowa State University."

"Wayne has been part of Iowa State for about a year. He has shown that he has the talent, skill, energy and character to move to this new level. We see in Wayne everything that we want in a new coach for men's basketball – honesty, integrity, exemplary moral character and a true genuine concern for the welfare and success of our student-athletes."

"Wayne, of course, has a great knowledge of basketball and appreciation for talent in the sport. He has proven that here and in his six years at Long Beach State and in the 12 years that he served as an assistant under one of the truly great head coaches in men's basketball in this country, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse."

"He also has an outstanding reputation as being a very successful recruiter of student-athletes and the kind of young people that we need and who can be very success in this competitive Big 12 Conference."

"The players really like Wayne Morgan. He was their first choice and they are very excited about having the opportunity to play for him. Wayne has made a commitment to this program, to the University and to me, that he will always represent Iowa State University in a positive manner and that he will be an outstanding ambassador in everything that he does. Wayne has a solid reputation to build upon – the tradition of success that we have in men's basketball and in our intercollegiate athletic program."

"He has our full and enthusiastic support and we'll do everything we can to help them and the team be successful to keep ‘Hilton Magic' going strong."

"We've resolved a very difficult situation within Cyclone athletics with this announcement of Wayne Morgan as our new men's basketball coach. We are able to move forward again. I am one who is certainly looking forward to this coming season."

Wayne Morgan:

"This is one of the greatest days of my life. I couldn't be happier. Thank you very much. I am truly happy and excited about the future here. I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for our great program. I want to begin by thanking President Geoffroy for the help and guidance that he has provided me already. We met this morning at 8 o'clock and he was able to give me some great insights into the University and some things that will ultimately help me in my new position."

"I want to thank Bruce Van De Velde, our athletic director, who, through this whole process, as difficult as it may have been or perceived, was open, genuine, sincere and always professional with me."

"I want to thank the members of the search committee, who were fair and really made me feel comfortable during the interview process. I appreciated that. I would like to give a special thanks to Larry Eustachy, who is a friend that gave me a job last year when I was looking for one. I learned things from him, in terms of basketball. If it wasn't for him, obviously I would not be here today."

"Coach (Bill) Fennelly has been very helpful and supportive. I look forward to working with Coach (Dan) McCarney hand in hand, whether we're at Cyclone outings or just in the office talking about how to handle (student-athletes)."

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge ahead and the hard work that lies ahead. I am really looking forward to the success that we're going to have in the future."

"I'd really like to thank the fans for our support. We have gotten over 300 emails of support today. My cell phone has 39 messages on it. My office phone has like 56 messages on it. Letters and emails are pouring in and we can't keep up. But we'll respond to everyone. We have special fans here and special people."

"After the difficult time that we've just gone through, we need to come together and be one Cyclone Nation. We have guys here that will kill themselves for you and do everything they can do to make you proud and to win championships. I'd like to bring everybody together in the Cyclone Nation behind them. We absolutely have the best fans in the nation. I don't think that there's any place I've ever been that is even remotely close."

"I really want us to all come together and support these student-athletes. I want us all to come together and support this great University. I want us all to come together and support this wonderful program."

"We will try to play as hard as you're used to seeing us play. We will try to play a very smart brand of basketball. We will also work hard to maintain the staple of defense and rebounding that we have. We will probably play a little bit more up tempo and what I perceive to be a fun and exciting brand of basketball."

"It wasn't as difficult, because Bruce Van De Velde made it easier. He would talk to me and say he knew what the paper said and what you heard, I'm getting the same calls you're getting and that is not the case. Whether it was, ‘We haven't offered the job to this person,' or whether it was ‘You're still a candidate for the job, give us some time and have some patience, you're in a good position."

"Reggie George, Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson are overjoyed and are coming. Actually, when I called Curtis Stinson last night and told him I got the job he actually started crying. It took me about five minutes to get him to talk. The other kids are elated. I'm going down tomorrow to visit with Damion Staple and his coach (at Southeastern Illinois). Justin Holt is in a situation that we're not sure, because of an NCAA appeals thing with the 4.2.4."

"I wanted the job. I think it's a great program and opportunity. I look forward to those challenges."

"It's been difficult, a little bit of a rollercoaster. Initially, when this began, there came a time in conversation with Bruce that I said a lot of people seem to have an agenda and agenda there and nobody is worried about these kids. I told him what I was going to do is make sure they're still going to class, lifting weights and doing what they're supposed to do. We will continue to talk to the recruits and keep them interested and viable for Iowa State."

"I think that we need to play three or four national games if possible. I think that the rest of those games, we need to try to be in the position to win."

"I think the biggest job that I have in this process right now is to make (the student-athletes) feel comfortable and understand the direction we're headed. We need to get our whole team in here and our recruits. We need to make sure they get the help that they need. I need to get out to the various events, talk to the people, touch the people and let them know we're fine and going forward."

"I came to here to work for Larry because I knew it was a good program and that as soon as we had some very successful seasons that there would be opportunities for me. I also knew that Larry prided himself on trying to get his assistant coaches jobs, but never in my wildest dreams or imagination did I imagine I'd be standing here as Iowa State's head basketball coach. We all know now there is a God."

"His wife called. Right now he's not available. She said she spoke to Larry and he was very pleased, very happy. He sent his congratulations and as soon as he was able to, we'd talk."

"In three to five years, I would hope that we are competing for the upper echelon of this conference. In three to five years, I would hope that we could be perennial participants in the NCAA. In three to five years, I would hope that every time they take the court they feel they have a chance to win."

"I feel like that doesn't matter, because now I am the choice. That's all that matters. We're here now and moving forward. What's in the past is in the past. I actually thought I was as qualified as anybody, as bright as anybody, had as much background as anybody and thought I could do as well or probably a better job than anybody."

"I have not heard of anyone who's made a decision not to come back. At this point I'm confident they're all going to be back. If we can put everything together and get all of the recruits here and get everyone together, I think we can be excited about the upcoming year."

Jake Sullivan:

"He was my first choice, without a doubt. He really cared about me through all this time, as a person. That meant a lot to me. I think he's going to be a great coach. He's a guy that wants to win ahead of anything. I'm glad that we have the right guy that's going to give us the best chance to win and succeed. I'm really excited."

"We're all very excited and on the same page. There was more controversy made than was actually occurring. We're together 110 percent and have been the whole time. We're behind the decision and this is the guy that we really wanted."

"It's a smart choice. He was the most qualified for this job. The type of system that he wants to play excites players. To get this program where it needs to be again, he is the best guy."

Jackson Vroman:

"This is the easiest way to make the transition, by far, just keeping a coach who was already on the staff. We lost Larry Eustachy and this is the easiest way to replace him. This is clearly my choice. I'm really excited and looking forward to this season. He's a player's coach and I have good relationship with him. It's still developing and I hope it only gets better."

"I don't get bothered easily by publicity, but hopefully those days are over and we can get in a little better situation."

"We're not commenting on eligibility right now. I'm confident I'll be around next season. I'm going to be here this summer and will next season. (Tim Barnes and Marcus Jefferson) will both be here this summer and next year, as far as I know."

Tim Barnes:

"It was kind of fitting that he got the job. We know his face. He knows what our program is all about with Larry. He's a good coach, which we know from working with him in practice. It was a good decision to bring him in. I'm going to go out and play the same that I did for Larry, 110 percent."

"With a little bit of my help, I'm pretty sure we can work something out and get (Damian Staple) here. I talk to him. He's still kind of disappointed. He was pretty sold on Larry and so was my coach down there. It was hard for Damian, because he originally verbally committed to Western Kentucky and the coach left. He got out of that, came here and another coach leaves. He's in a tough situation right now."

"I'm pretty sure everybody's going to come back. Everybody loves Coach Morgan and enjoys this team. We just move on and get everything going."

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