Dakich Lays Out His Plan

New WVU head coach Dan Dakich talked about his plans for the basketball program on Thursday afternoon.

In his opening remarks, Dakich joked about WVU's pursuit of Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins.

"I hadn't read of any other candidates other than myself. I heard that there was an alumnus of this school that's in coaching, and I was shocked they didn't go after him."

Dakich indicated that he talked with Huggins about the West Virginia job at the Final Four, but did not reveal the contents of that converstation.

Dakich noted that similarities exist between his previous jobs at Indiana and Bowling Green and the current position at WVU, and that his coaching philosophy won't change.

"I've been two places: Indiana and Bowling Green. At Indiana, I felt like I represented not only the university, but also the state. At Bowling Green, I felt like the program represented a great institution and a great town. Here at West Virginia, it's the same thing, like it was at Indiana. It has the obligation to represent not only the university but the state, whether it's on the basketball floor or in the academic arena. I feel a great obligation to represent the people of this institution and of this state, beacuse it says West Virginia on our shirts.

"This is a job and a school of great tradition. On a personal level, this job became interesting to me when my wife got on the internet and found that Morgantown was the top small town in the nation. We've got two little kids, and we want to live in a place that fits us. The community here fit exactly what Jackie and I were looking for."

Dakich also directed several comments at the returning players on the team, a few of which were in attendance at the press conference, including Chris Garnett, Chaz Briggs and Tim Lyles.

"What has happened in the past has happened in the past. It's where you want to go and how hard you want to work that will determine how far we can go. We are used to nothing but the players best effort on the court, in the classroon and in the community.

"I cannot as a basketball coach play slow. I can't be boring, or be around mopey people. We will play very fast. I don't pay attention to a lot of sttistics, but were were first or second in the MAC every year in scoring. We're going to play man to man defense and we are going to run.

"I'm convinced that we are going to build a basketball program here that is going to be as good as it can be."

Dakich also noted that the support of the students is vital to the success of his program.

"We are going to get the students involved here. We want them to take ownership of the program. We will be out to talk with the students in the dorms, at the Mountainlair, and at the fraternities and sororities. We are going to work like crazy to get the students involved."

Dakich will immediately begin to address recruiting by contacting WVU's two current signees, Kevin Pittsnogle and Jabbar Young. He said that he will set up visits with them, and then evaluate the Mountaineers' roster.

"I want to see what we have. I think we have some guys here that can play a little bit. I know there's a good point guard coming off a knee injury and some good young players. We're going to work like crazy, and the kids are going to work. After the situation that occured last year, you can't say we're going to sit back and have milk and cookies and fix it. You have to go to work."

Dakich and his assistants, all of whom will accompany him from Bowling Green, will waste no time in getting to work. Several members indicated they would travel back to Bowling Green tonight, gather essentials, and be back to the Coliseum to work at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. Dakich also indicated that another support staff member would be hired, but said that the assistants from the current WVU staff would not be retained.

Details of Dakich's contract include a length of five years at a salary of $500,000 per year. that figure includes a base salary $150,000, with another $30,000 in guarantees from radio, television, Internet and endorsment opportunities, and $50,000 in deferred compensation.

Outside the $500,000 figure, the contract also includes another $135,000 in potential incentives for achieving certain levels in graduation rates, conference championships, "competitiveness", season ticket sales, and NCAA appearances.

In brief introductory remarks, WVU president David Hardesty said, "I think we have a wonderful coach. I think he will not only be a winner but also a very student centered indivbidual. He comes to us with a very strong and experienced background."

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