I want to first of all take the opportunity to thank Coach Welsh, for his ten years of hard work and commitment to Providence College. Today was a very difficult day for us, for Tim and myself, he's a good friend and somebody I care a great deal about. I wish him nothing but the best and I appreciate the value and hard work that he put in over the last ten years. Ultimately as the athletic director, I'm responsible for the successes and/or the failures of my programs and basketball is my primary responsibility and I just felt that at this juncture, looking at the body of work and where we need to go, that a change in leadership was necessary. It's not personal to Tim, its part of the business and having been in this business for a long time you trust your gut instinct and trust that with a change comes great opportunity and renewed energy. So that was the reason why I made the decision and the other reason was that I have a high expectation for men's basketball here at Providence College. There's a perception that we can never be successful or we're happy with just being in the Big East. That goes against every bit of my core being. My role is to win the Big East Championship. Will we get there? Time will tell, but there's no reason we can't be in the upper half of that league and if you're in the upper half on a consistent basis, you'll get to the tournament. I can look at Georgetown or I can look at Marquette, particularly Georgetown four or five years ago, they were nowhere near competitive. Look at Villanova, those schools have been able to do it, and with the leadership we have here, with the new facilities being built, what's happening downtown, the money we're raising, the new Dunk, there's no question in my mind that we can get there. Now, we'll have to improve everything but that's the reason I made this decision, because of the expectations we have.
Q: On being a parochial school in the Big East, advantage or disadvantage?:
I think it's a benefit, in that there are large state institutions with 40,000 students. We're small institutionally, everyone knows everyone else and if you talk to our student-athletes, they take care of them, they look after them, they have to go to class and do their work, but one of the things that we have is that we're small enough that we can make the kind of decisions that can turn things around very quickly so I don't buy it at all, and there are Catholic institutions that are doing it so I don't see it as a hindrance.
Q: How will the search for the new coach be structured, will there be a search committee?:
There will be no search committee. The people that I will interested in, and I haven't started, out of respect for Tim, I wanted to talk to him today, these aren't people who are going to come on campus, nor would I want to want to seek the input of a lot of different people. I've been doing this for thirty-three years so I have enough people out there that I respect in the business that will give me the proper advice. So I will do it by myself in conjunction with Father Shanley and we will make a decision and when we make it, I'll bring the person on campus.
Q: Do you have to wait until the NCAA tournament is complete?:
No, obviously a number of the people that we'll start looking at are in the tournament. Out of respect for them, we're not going to start all of those discussions in the middle because it would just be disconcerting. There's ways to find out whether people are interested without messing up their situation.
Q: On the time frame for hiring a new coach:
I'd like to do it as quickly as I can, but I don't want to put a strict timeline on it because if there are people that I want to talk to that are continuing on, obviously I can't do that. In an ideal world, you'd have somebody on board by the conclusion of the Final Four, but I don't know. I will take as much time to necessary to do the best job I can to get the right person. It's fluid.
Q: On hiring a search firm:
I've contemplated that. I may or may not, I'll have to decide if I want to do that or not.
Q: On how long this decision has been in the making:
You know, I wasn't set on any decision, it was very, very fluid. I had hoped we'd get to the Big East and go on a run and get to the tournament, so there was a lot of conversation of why don't you make a change in the middle of the season. I don't think that's fair to the coaches or the players, but I would be disingenuous if I didn't think about it a lot because basketball is the most important program. You hope for the best but you prepare for the worst and today is the starting point for preparing for the future.
Q: On how the players are handling the news:
Obviously any time there's a change its going to be disconcerting to them. They're loyal to the coaches and I would expect them to be so. Out of respect for Tim, I let him visit with his players and have the conversation without me being there and I'm going to visit with them tomorrow. I want them to have the opportunity to decompress and kind of react and we'll get together with them tomorrow. We'll talk about where we're going, what we're doing and hopefully they'll stay together as a family and get through this.
Q: On how Tim took the news:
Tim was great. Part of the difficulty of it is he's a friend, he's a man that I respect, he took it as a man with great integrity and dignity. He cares about this institution, he cares about these kids and its one of the reasons that this was such a very, very difficult decision. I really respect him.
Q: On Tim not getting a chance to enjoy or benefit from all of the improvements that have recently been made:
Its unfortunate because there's no question that the Dunk and what's happening outside, we're going to renovate this building (Alumni Hall), we're doing a $200,000 Walk of Fame, and in an ideal world, that would have happened twenty years ago, but it is what it is, and I'm hoping that the commitments we've made to the Dunk and the other infrastructure that we have, that this will make this a very, very attractive job to a lot of people.
Q: On the remainder of the staff:
There're tied to Coach Welsh. To their credit, a lot of them will be here to support the student-athletes as we go through this transition. It tells you a lot about them as people and the new head coach will have the option to hire whomever he wishes.
Q: On the staff and the players being around:
The assistants, with the exception of two, today, I've talked with them personally. I know that a couple of them are staying in the mix with us to work with the student-athletes as we go forward. I'll be surprised if more don't do that as well. So I'm hoping that there'll be a smooth transition and that's really a credit to Tim and his staff. A lot of staffs would just disappear but they care enough about the kids. I think they'll help us transition this where hopefully everybody will land on their feet and be okay.
Q: On what would make an ideal next coach:
It's premature for me to know until I get out and talk to them, obviously, a cultural fit is important. I have a list of criteria. I don't want to share that right now, because if I do, the question will be, well isn't that the criteria that you have already, and I just want someone that continues to have great passion and someone that really believes in their heart that we can compete at the highest level.
Q: On whether its more important to have an Xs and Os coach or a recruiter at PC:
I look for people that are CEO's, people who are hand-on in everything, not only their Xs and Os, guys that can motivate student-athletes, they can have relationships with people in the department. Really got to do it all. Like when I first came to Providence, I used to monitor and delegate. That didn't work here. If I'm not in every meeting and if I'm not in the admissions office, if I'm not 24/7 it doesn't work in a place like this. So, you have to have somebody who is almost a micromanager and wants to be in charge of everything, I really believe that's the kind of model that would fit because everything touches you.
Q: On whether he has confidence that he knows what fits here now:
I think I do. It's a really different place. What I thought worked at Cal doesn't work here, but after six or seven years in, I think I know. The question is, can you get those people to come here? You might have the perfect person in mind but whether its resources or whatever, I don't know. A lot of times you can't get the people you want. But I think I'm better prepared now than ever before. But will you get that person? I don't know, its fluid.
Q: On whether he will go to the tournament sites:
Possibly. I'll be watching as many people… you know, I'm a hockey player. I'm a coach, but a hockey player, I have to rely on the intellect of the basketball minds. I couldn't tell you Xs and Os, but I can tell you organization and passion, so I have to rely on other people.
Q: On whether other coaches or officials reached out to speak on Tim's behalf:
Well, I think people respect the role that I'm in and give me the distance that's necessary so I didn't have a lot of conversations with people in that respect.
Q: On the timing of the decision and announcement:
Because I had an important decision to make and in fairness to Tim, I wanted, once I made that decision, to share it with him as soon as I possibly could and in all due respect to the Big East tournament, that's going to go on, and we needed to move on, so to wait another day or two days, it didn't serve any purpose.
Bob Driscoll's Press Conference
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