Q&A with Blake James

Read on to see everything Blake James was saying following his decision to fire Al Golden.

Opening Statement…
“Thanks for being on the call tonight. Obviously this is a tough day for me, with this situation as Athletics Director, [one] that you never want to have to deal with. But it’s one that’s a reality of the business that we work in.”

On the difficulty of the decision…
“As you touched on, Al navigated us through the NCAA case. He has always represented our institution in a first-class manner. Obviously he’s a great person. Anytime you have to make that type of decision, it’s very difficult and one that you have to take with a great seriousness to it. It came to a point where I felt it was what was best for our program.”

On Al Golden’s reaction to the news…
“That’s a conversation between Al and I. I’m not going to get into discussing his feelings.”

On any other staff changes…
“The only changes we’ve made on our staff is Al Golden is no longer our head coach. Larry Scott has been appointed as our interim head coach.”

On if he was able to speak to the team, and what his message was if so…
“I did have a chance to talk to the team, and I notified them of the decision, and my commitment to supporting their efforts here as students in our program.”

On what changed in the past 24 hours since the game ended…
“My goal is always to do this at the end of the season, for any one of our programs. With that said, I felt going through yesterday’s game, my analysis was at a point where the end result had been identified. We weren’t where I felt we needed to be as a program, and I felt this was the right decision.”

On the decision to appoint tight ends coach Larry Scott as interim head coach…
“In my analysis of our staff, I felt like Larry had the right qualities to be able to step in and really lead our young men over the next five weeks.”

On if he regrets the decision to start 2015 with Al Golden as head coach…
“No. Not at all. I felt at the end of last year that it was right for us to continue on in this process. I stand by that decision.”

On the qualities he is looking for in the next head coach….
“In any great coach, you want someone who is going to recognize the important role they play in the young men’s lives who come here to this university. You want someone who is going to recruit to all of the great things about our university, and someone who recognizes where our program’s expectations are, where we’ve been in the past and where we want to be in the future. I’m confident that we’ll find the best person for the job, to be able to meet those expectations.”

On what role the Board of Trustees and President Julio Frenk played in the decision…
“I’m not going to discuss the factors of the decision. I made the decision this afternoon and let Al know. Beyond that, I won’t have any further comment.”

On his timetable for the decision and whether he will use the services of a firm…
“I’m not going to discuss specifics of the search. We’re going to look to get the best person for the job here.”

On the reaction of the players…
“That’s a conversation between the team and myself. I wouldn’t want to get into speculating on their feelings. I had the conversation with them, and we’ll leave it at that.”

On how the decision evolved in his mind…
“It was a situation where I didn’t feel like we were where we needed to be at this point in the process. This was the decision that needed to be made.”

On who else was considered for the interim head coach job other than Larry Scott….
“Larry was the best choice. Obviously we have an entire staff, and it’s my job to identify the best person for the job, and I’m confident that’s Larry Scott.”

On the difficulty of the decision…
“As you touched on, Al navigated us through the NCAA case. He has always represented our institution in a first-class manner. Obviously he’s a great person. Anytime you have to make that type of decision, it’s very difficult and one that you have to take with a great seriousness to it. It came to a point where I felt it was what was best for our program.”

On whether Larry Scott can make changes to the staff in his current role…
“Larry is our head coach for the next five weeks. I’m confident he’ll make whatever changes he needs to do to give our student-athletes the best experience possible, and to put our team in the best position to be successful in these games.”

On whether Larry Scott would remain interim head coach if the team qualified for a bowl game…
“I would say that Larry will be our coach as long as this season is going.”

On any other staff changes…
“The only change we’ve made is with Al Golden.”


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