A Turning Point

TCU director of athletics Chris del Conte introduced new head basketball coach Trent Johnson today. News of Johnson's hire leaked Friday.

TCU director of athletics Chris del Conte introduced Trent Johnson has the 21st coach in the history of TCU's mens basketball program.

Johnson departed from LSU and followed departed coach Jim Christian who took a job at Ohio University.

After stops at Nevada, Stanford, and LSU, Johnson noted today that this is the place he could see spending the rest of his coaching career at.

"I'm here to tell you right now," Johnson said. "This is where I want to lay my stone. I'm so comfortable about wanting to be here for the rest of my life and wanting to get this program to an elite level."

Del Conte said of Johnson, "With our move to the Big 12, he is a perfect fit to lead us into a new era of Horned Frog basketball. Trent is a proven winner who has taken two different schools to the Sweet 16."

Trent Johnson also comes with a proven recruiting record and three conference coach of the year awards under his belt.

With Johnson will come three assistant coaches. Two of those assistants are Donny Guerinoni and Brent Scott who were both with Johnson at LSU. Guerinoni is a former player of Johnson's. Scott has Texas roots and graduated from Rice University.

Johnson did not hesitate to place some initial expectations on his tenure and program.

"The bottom line is winning your conference championship," Johnson noted. "When you look at the Big 12, it has five coaches that have been in a Final Four. For us, every step of the way, we have to keep that goal in mind. The players have to understand that. It's going to be a journey and the process is going to be extremely hard."

Before the press conference, Johnson had not had a chance to meet with TCU's current players, and he had not met with any members of TCU's current staff.

Besides noting that he is friends with current assistant Rob Evans, Johnson refused to comment on what the final makeup of his staff would be.

As for the players, Johnson had a very direct message for them.

"They need to understand that this group has a chance to do something special. They're on the ground level and this will always be remembered as the TCU basketball team that played its first season in the Big 12 Conference. That's something special," the 55 year-old Johnson said.

Rising senior Garlon Green said after the press conference that he did not know exactly what to expect from his new coach.

"We'll see," Green said. "I look forward to finding out all about him, and I just want to win. Being a senior, that is what is important to me next year."

TCU moved quickly on their decision to hire a new head coach. In comparison to SMU which is going on week five of its coaching search, Chris del Conte and his athletics committee quickly new that Johnson was the right man for the job.

"I had to do a little recruiting," del Conte joked.

"Let's find a coach that has built a program from the bottom up, someone who took over a program that nobody ever thought would be successful and turned it into a winner," Del Conte said of what he looked for in a coach. "We wanted someone who will recruit the top student athletes in the country and is not afraid to go to war and not afraid of the challenge."

Challenge was the day of the word for Johnson. "Opportunity and challenge" was Johnson's answer about why he took the TCU job.

With Johnson comes a new beginning for TCU basketball. The task will be arduous, the journey long, the path unchartered, but new head basketball coach Trent Johnson said he is confident he has the right answer for the TCU program.

"The rim is still 10 feet here," Johnson joked. "I want players who want to be part of something special."


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