Below is a transcript of new Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel's introduction speech.
Jeff Capel Profile
"First of all, I'm honored to be here on this momentous day for me and my family. It's an honor to be here, and it's an honor to be your coach.
"Before I get started I want to thank President Boren, Joe (Castiglione), all the regents and all the people that are here. Coaches...it means a lot for them to be here. All of the students, former student-athletes, current student-athletes, everyone here to welcome me to be a part of the Sooner family. And before I go any further, I want to introduce some of the most important people here...our current team. If those guys would stand up...give them a round of applause.
"As you go through change, sometimes that can be a difficult thing for a young person. These guys lost a guy that meant a lot to them, that meant a lot to this university, and to be quite honest meant a lot to me. Coach Sampson is a guy that I've had unbelievable respect for...a person who I've looked up to in this profession.
"I admire him, I respect him. He's been someone that I could call on, being a fellow North Carolina guy, that I could call on and ask advice and he's given me advice about things. It's an honor to try and carry on the legacy that he set here, and also the legacy of coach Tubbs and all the other coaches before me.
"It's funny how things happen. Just last week, I was thinking about going on the road and trying to figure out what were going to do at VCU, working my team out and things like that. And then all of the sudden, I get a call to ask me if I would be interested in interviewing to become the head coach at the University of Oklahoma. It didn't take long for me answer that question. Before he could finish saying Oklahoma, I was saying yes and when I can I come and what do I have to do?
"The bottom line is that I'm here for one thing. President Boren talked about excellence and that's something that's been a part of my life since I can remember. I grew up in a family that demanded excellence in everything that we do. As a player and as a student, that's something I tried to do...was to be excellent.
"My father told me when I was younger, growing up in North Carolina, he taught me a lot about having pride in everything you do. When I was younger, my father used to have me doing a lot of yard work. And growing in North Carolina in the summers, especially where we grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., the summers there, to me, it's the hottest place in the world because not only is it really hot it's just incredibly humid.
"My dad had my brother and I, my younger brother's five years younger, but he had us out doing a lot of yard work cutting grass and stuff with hedges. For some reason we had bamboo in our back yard. For some reason to this day I don't know why (laughs). But we had to do some stuff with bamboo.
"But the thing I hated doing most was pulling weeds in the flowerbeds. I absolutely hated it. And I told my father when I was younger; when I get older I'm never doing yard work again. I'm thinking I'll be in the NBA and make a lot of money, and I'm never doing yard work again.
"A few years ago at my dad's birthday, I told him thank you for teaching me to never lower my standards, and thank you making me pull weeds when I was younger. Because what he was teaching me at the time is that in life there are a lot of things that you may not want to do.
"Some of you students that are here right now, there might be a class that you're taking that you just kind of think, hey, why is this important? I'm never going to use this in life, but the bottom line is having pride in everything you do, having pride in your performance. And that's something I talked to our guys about a little bit earlier today.
"We represent the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Oklahoma represents excellence. In everything we do we're going to strive to be excellent — in the classroom, in our community and on the court. That's what our athletic department represents...is excellence. And I came here because of President Boren and because of Joe, and the relationship that I felt that like I could have with them.
"And then also, secondly, and it's not that far behind. I really feel like this is a place, the University of Oklahoma, where you can win the whole thing. And I'm not just talking about winning Big 12 Championships; I'm talking about winning the whole thing.
"I shared that with our guys a little bit earlier today, and I really mean that. We're going to work as hard as we possibly can every day to put ourself in a position where one day, and hopefully it's very soon, where one day we're hanging a national championship banner in the Lloyd Noble Center for the University of Oklahoma.
"My philosophy is simple. We're going to work hard, we're going to play hard, we're going to run, we're going to defend. We're going to be a team that hopefully is very, very disciplined, that shares the basketball, that is one of the best communicating teams in the country. A team that loves each other, a team that trusts each other, and a team that becomes a family. To me, that is what the game of basketball is about — is becoming a family.
"Obviously, this university knows that. I look at the outpouring of support that's here today; I look at our student-athletes that are here, the coaches, all the administrators. You see the support, you see the pride that all of you have in the University of Oklahoma, and I think that this is a magical place and I look forward to being your leader and your coach.
"Today has been kind of a whirlwind for me. This morning, I had to do one of the most difficult things that I've done. And that's tell my former team that I was leaving to accept the job at the University of Oklahoma. It was difficult, because those guys believed in me when it was very unpopular to.
"I was named head coach at VCU at 27 years old. At the time, I was the youngest head coach in the country and there were a lot of things written and a lot of things said in our profession. One of the things that I learned very quick was that I never had to do anything to validate why I was named head coach. I was never going to answer a question..."Why do you think this happened to you?" Because I felt like if I did that, I wasn't going to be the head coach there very long. My whole focus, when I got that job, was trying do whatever I could to do the best job that I could do and make us the most successful program we can be.
"My grandmother, before she passed, used to always tell me when I was younger, she would say to me, "Life can only be understood backwards, unfortunately you have to live it forward." And I would say to her, "Grandma, what does that mean?" And she would say, "Baby, eventually it will all make sense."
"I know that this announcement, probably in the college basketball world, is shocking. But I know that I have all the confidence that it's the right decision. I know it's the right decision for me and I'm going to do everything that I can to make all of you...all of you...all of you, proud that I'm your basketball coach.
"I look forward to having incredible support at all of our games for all of our sports. I look forward to carrying on the tradition of excellence that's been set here by former student-athletes, former men's basketball players and the former coaches that have set the standard, and trying to take it to another level and eventually trying to put a national championship banner up in the Lloyd Noble Center.
"I want to thank you very much for being here. My wife and I, we're so happy to become a part of the Sooner Nation. We're so happy to be in Norman, Okla. I'm very happy that my parents could be here. My dad (an assistant coach for the NBAs Charlotte Bobcats), they play Memphis tomorrow and I know he had some scouting responsibilities, but it meant a lot for him to be able to be here. I know when he got here he was on the phone trying to figure out a way to guard Paul Gasol tomorrow, but it means a lot that he was able to be here with me on this day. And my mom, who's always been the backbone of my family. For them to be here sharing this special day with me.
"And we're going to beat Texas. So, you don't have to say that (laughs). Guys, you heard that (pointing to team).
"I want to thank you. I look forward to getting to know all of you, to meeting all of you and spending some time with you. (I look forward to) spending time on campus and getting to know my surroundings, for my wife and I to get to know our surroundings and really entrenching ourself in the culture of the University of Oklahoma and of Norman, Okla. Thank you very much."
Capel: "I'm honored to be here"
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