Lickliter, Barta Address Iowa Fans

After meeting with the Iowa media, Athletic Director Gary Barta introduced new Iowa Basketball coach Todd Lickliter to the 1,000 or so Iowa fans that had gathered on the Carver Hawkeye Arena floor for the pep rally. Read what Barta and Lickliter had to say in this Q&A

Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta


"When I left Iowa City to find a coach, I had a plan in hand and a list of names.  Coach Lickliter was in the top list of names.  As I went through the list, I found several coaches that could win and several that were committed to academics.  But that third piece, that had to do with the value system, the work ethic and the Iowa feel; somebody that is like us, somebody that wants to be here.  I found the right person.   I was feeling good through the process, and it was the eve of the final meeting, and never once did he tell us what he had been doing the night before.  President Fethke's wife called us and said ‘did you know where Coach Lickliter was last night?'  We said no.  She said he was named the NABC's Coach of the Year. (Cheers)."


"What's great about that story, to me, and again going back to that value system, the humility, is that he never told us and he never would have told us.  What is important is coaching basketball, creating relationships and education.  Without further adieu,  it's a tremendous pleasure to introduce Todd Lickliter."


Iowa Head Coach Todd Lickliter


"Thank you.  I don't think that thank you is enough. Gary mentioned that he wanted someone that wanted to be here.  I can't imagine anyone not wanting to be here.  How could somebody not want to be here?  You'd have to be crazy.  I thought that was the case, and you may have heard that I jumped on the plane to come here and left my car down there.  After this, I don't care if I go back to get it.  They can have it.  I would just as soon stay."


"I can only imagine as I walked in here and have heard about our fans, I can only imagine this being filled and this team coming out and competing every night with a great spirit and a crowd that sees us through.  Why can't this be the most difficult place in the nation to play?"


"If we fill this, and you cheer with spirit, I promise we will play with it.  I will be brief, but Gary mentioned the coach of the year award.  I am honored, but I received it on behalf of the coaching staff and there is no way I could have done it by myself, and most importantly the players.  I was very fortunate and am very fortunate, and I have a feeling that I will be again.  I think it would be better for these guys to stand up, than for me to stand up.  Here is your team (current Iowa players to cheers)."


"This isn't what they planned, but they will respond well.  I look forward to getting to know them well and to work together and to develop a team that this great state, the fans everywhere, will be proud of.  Twice today I heard that it's a football school, and I think it is.  I think it's a men's and women's basketball and a wrestling school, and on and on.  I don't mean to leave anyone out; I just don't have enough time to mention it all.  If you are a Hawkeye you are a Hawkeye.  I have been told that once you are a Hawkeye, you are always a Hawkeye.  I would feel good if you allow me to become one, and I promise to always be one in my heart as I will always remember how I have been received.  I want to thank you for being here and for this opportunity."


FAN Q & A (Questions from fans, answers from Coach Lickliter)


Q:  Can they get the names put back on their jerseys?


A: They will have to, how else would I know who they were?  I have to know.  I didn't know you didn't have them.  Absolutely.


Q:  What will be the biggest challenged between the Big Ten and the Horizon League?


A:  We played Indiana and Purdue this year, and we had success against them.  (cheers).  I don't think that I have to adapt.  These guys and the guys coming in have to play at a high level.  We know it's a challenge, it's a great conference and we want to compete for the championship not just next year, but every year.  What we need to do is do what champions do, today.  We need to do what we need to do today to prepare.  Right now, that is lifting, conditioning and hitting the books and take care of their business in the classroom.


Q:  What do you think about keeping our stars from Iowa in the state?


A: I will take stars.  We love stars, and if they are in Iowa, that makes them especially nice.  We will take stars that are serious students and fit the program.  If they want to stay in the state and go here we will take them.


Q:  Do you plan on beating Iowa State?


A:  Do I plan on beating Iowa State?  I plan on winning the next game, and when they become the next game, I hope that we are prepared well enough to get that done, so we will prepare to get the next game.


Q: What is your time frame for assembling your staff and have you had a chance to talk with Coach Garrett or Coach Buckley (members of Steve Alford's staff)?


A:  I have had a chance to say hello.  We knew each other previously, but we have not discussed openings.  As I told this team, my main focus initially was speaking to the young men that I coached this year and I did that last night.  Then my focus was to introduce myself and spend some time with this team and now we will move to the next thing and hiring the staff is on the agenda.  We want to hire the right staff.


Q: What did your Butler players say when you told them you were leaving?


A:  This is the way that we run our program.  If any one of them had an opportunity to better themselves, we would encourage them to do so.  We would miss them.  It's different for college athletes.  They have four years and they will be there then move on.  For a coach, there is never a good time.  If you have good players, a good team and good people there is never a good time.  I am fortunate because these young people were happy for me and supportive.  I know their AD, Barry Collier, will get a very capable replacement that will help them.  It's hard to leave them, but I don't know that I could leave them for a better place than I have here.


Q:  I gave someone a hawk key chain that plays the fight song, it was supposed to end up with you to teach you the song.


A:  I need the words, because we have a tradition at Butler that after every win, we sing the fight song in the locker room.  I am assuming we will carry that on here.  I will have them teach me.  Hopefully we will learn it very quickly after a few wins.


Q: It might be early, but can you appraise us of the recruiting situation? 


A:  It is early.  You are not allowed to speak about specific recruits that are not signed.  I know that three signed in the fall, that have committed.  We need to follow up and find out where we are at.  I am assuming that if you committed to Iowa, you will be here and I don't blame them.  We will work diligently to perform at a high level next year.



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