Wednesday, March 15, 2006

BSU Press Conference regarding coaching change

From BallStateSports.com:

QUOTES FROM BSU ATHLETICS PRESS CONFERENCE:

Opening Statement:

Good afternoon. Thanks for coming on short notice. As you know from the release, we're going to go ahead and make a change in the leadership of the men's basketball program here at Ball State University. I do want to take a minute to thank Tim and his staff because they've represented Ball State University with dignity and class in everything they've done. This is a tough day, but we'll get through it. I just felt today was the day that we needed to make the change and move on.

How did you come to this decision?

I listened to a lot of people inside the program and outside the program. I did a lot of searching myself and what I thought, where we could be, where we should be, and just felt we needed to make this change at this point in time.

Did you take the team's injuries into account?

I think you look at that in whole. You look at it when you're looking at everything else. That's part of what goes into the equation. I still felt it was time to make a change.

What didn't happen that could or should have?

I don't know that there's any one particular thing. It's just a gut feeling I had, where the program was at and where we want it to be, and I just felt like I needed to make the leadership change to make that happen.

Where should the program be?

I would think that Ball State University would want to position itself at the top of the MAC. I think we should be competing for that MAC Championship every year.

How difficult was it to reassign Coach Buckley?

It's a very difficult decision. I mean, you're dealing with people's livelihoods. And they have families, and I have empathy for that. It's very difficult. It's one that I didn't come to just all of a sudden. I've been talking to people. I've been listening to the people. I've been going to the games. I've been observing. So I took a lot of those things into account.

How did you evaluate this program week-to-week since you came here to arrive at this decision?

I listened to a lot of people, staff people and people outside the department. A lot of people sent me e-mails, both pro and con. I talked to people that I trust in the basketball industry. I tried to go through all those things and in my mind figure out where the program is at and where we need to go and if that required a change in leadership. And I got to the end, and I felt it required a change in leadership.

What kind of input did you receive?

I had all kinds of input. Everybody had their own opinions.

What qualities are you looking for in the new coach?

Be a great leader, a great teacher, good at X's and O's, a recruiter, someone who can fit in to the Ball State University family, someone who understands a little bit of the Midwest and the recruiting processes here in Indiana, a good organizer, able to hire a good staff to complement what he might not be best at.

Will you use a search firm?

We'll probably direct it ourselves. We probably will not use a search firm. We'll probably direct it ourselves, get some of the staff involved and go through a thoughtful process to make sure we've got a good pool of candidates.

Do you have a short list yet?

I do not. I meet with the President on Friday. That will probably be the first time we'll discuss how we're going to go about the process. It's a search. It's not going to be a rush. We need to find the best person that can help lead Ball State University.

Who will direct the recruiting efforts?

We probably won't do any recruiting in the short run here. Michael Bennett will remain with the program, and the players will check in with Michael. We want to make sure that the kids who are here do what they need to do, and then we'll keep them involved in the process here.

What was Coach Buckley's reaction?

Tim's a professional. Tim has acted professionally the whole way, and I appreciate that from him. I know it's a difficult day for Tim and for his family.

When was the decision made, and when did you tell Coach Buckley?

He was informed this morning. I met with Tim at 10 a.m., and I probably made the decision on Monday.

What would you like the new coach to do better?

Compete in the MAC for a championship. Being able to compete every year for a MAC title and get to postseason play, preferably the NCAA.

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