Transcript of VP Lisa Love and Basketball Coach Herb Sendek's Press Conference

April 3, 2006

Listen to the press conference (Audio courtesy of SunDevilSportsNetwork)

Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love

'The search was a grind. It was exhaustive. It was deliberate. And it was calculated. It started immediately after the decision was made to make a change in leadership and ultimately all roads led to Herb Sendek. No question about it.


'I proceeded as though I had an ideal in mind with ArizonaStateUniversity basketball about what we can do and where we are headed. From the very beginning when I came on board here in July, I have spoken to the same three tenets. There is one I have spoken to so much that you are probably tired of hearing it and that is the desire to have a talented, talented group of head coaches who follow the rules and who are tremendously talented. I was looking for someone who can create tremendously competitively programs and, in this case, it happens to be men's basketball. I was looking for someone who plays by the rules and takes care of the guys who play for him, academically and socially. They are engaged in those areas. It's basically the three tenets that I have stuck to religiously.


'With very few exceptions during the search process, I focused on people who were program builders, people whose fingerprints were all over the program that they were associated with. I wanted to know that their talent level was reflected over a time span on the work that they've done and the success that they've had. Then I wanted to look under the covers to see how they did it. I spoke with numerous people, and numerous isn't even a generous figure, among the leaders of men's basketball. I spoke with common names in college basketball, people that you know of, people of high integrity that were incredibly accomplished in the sport, to find out who the right fit was to build the basketball environment that I feel we can have, and will have, at ASU. Ultimately, all roads led to Herb Sendek.


'There was a lot of information out there that was frustrating and led to some damage control during the search process. Ultimately, we were able to manage it and the coaches that I spoke with understood that those things can happen and it didn't deter me one bit. I stayed with it without a particular timeline in mind in an effort to say, `We will get this right no matter what it takes. No matter how long it takes, no matter how many flights I have to take, no matter how many frequent flyer miles I accumulate, we will do this the way it should be done to create a marriage that will remain, all for the right reasons to put us in the right stead.'


It was program building, integrity, talent, graduations, GSRs, APRs, everything was brought into play. It was the way that all these different things came into play in creating the program that was going to fit us. I was very pleased that Herb Sendek accepted the ONLY offer I have made for this position. This was the only offer I made, conversely to what has been reported, and it was to Herb Sendek. I think that it is important and I can't say that emphatically enough.


'I felt like in introducing Herb to you after discussing the search to the tune I just did, Herb, as you probably know and have done your research, just finished his tenth season leading the [NC State] Wolfpack in Raleigh. He is accustomed to postseason play over and over and over and over. As an assistant, he has been on Final Four benches, as you already know. He has been in at least the NIT every year, and even more impressively, was his role in reestablishing North CarolinaState as an NCAA tournament program in the five most immediately past years.


'He is accustomed [to winning.] It is not new to him, it's an expectation. That's normal for Herb Sendek. He has faced the eye of the tiger in coaching for and against the very best in college basketball. He is of blue blood lineage in basketball that we are importing to Tempe. I think that all of those things, plus the style and the way that he is true to his process in delivering a championship program, is what became very appealing to me about who he is. Very methodically, no shortcuts, very calculated.


'From his recruiting choices to the hurdles that he has had to tackle from his first year at NC State to where he has established that program in continued growth, I feel very fortunate that this is going to be a wonderful marriage between Herb Sendek, as our new architect for basketball and from our program and what we have to offer in that regard. I think it will be powerful stuff and a great collaboration and partnership between the administration, the Sun Devil fans and the community. These are people who are anxious and ready for great basketball in Tempe. Herb Sendek, I believe, will deliver that very product in a very classy, top drawer, high style fashion. He knows how to do it and he has shown it. Therefore, he is my very first choice, and I say that clearly, my first choice for this job and I am very proud that he has accepted this job to lead this basketball program.'

Head Basketball Coach Herb Sendek

'I'd like to begin by thanking so many wonderful people at North CarolinaState. I was very blessed to have a remarkable chancellor, Dr. Jim Oblinger, a terrific athletics director, Lee Fowler, our chairman of the board, Wendell Murphy, as well as a great faculty and staff to work together with and a wonderful fan base who put us year in and year out among the leaders in the country in attendance.


'Perhaps most significantly though, the opportunities that I continue to be blessed with are because of the wonderful young men who came to NC state to play for us. It is with a real sense of gratitude that I sit here today because of so many of those people and their efforts to help us along the way.


'At the same time, I have a real sense of appreciation in my heart for the opportunity that Lisa [Love] has given me together with Dr. Crow. We had dinner last night and I got goose bumps listening to them speak with such passion about ASU and the possibilities, the limitless ends, that this institution and community have open to them. When Dr. Crow identified his vision of excellence, inclusion, and impact, it really resonated with me that the timing right now is perhaps like no other time in this community or university's history to move forward and continue to do extraordinary things. It is with a very grateful heart that I sit here before you and together with you.'


On the facilities at ASU

'I had a first glance today and I will continue to have a chance to go over and see them.  I see great potential here in our leadership.  There is a mindset of `Yes, what we can do' rather than `what we can't do'.  Forward thinking is our focus, it's not what we lack or what we are insufficient in.  The mindset that Lisa [Love] forwarded to me in the first meeting, and Dr. Crow echoed to me last night, is what our possibilities are.  What we can do together.  And to me, that's tremendously invigorating. 


'I had been to Wells Fargo [Arena] in the past, a few times.  But I had not been here in several years.  I still haven't seen all the facilities to be honest with you.  Just the parts I happened to see while I was weaving my way around trying to meet people.'


On a Pac-10 coach being from the West Coast

'We have great respect for the West Coast and all it represents.  I hope we are welcomed here, because this is going to be our new home.  Our world is closer than it has ever been before.  It's not west coast-east coast United States.  We live in a global world.  Our neighbors are everybody.  We don't have arbitrary lives drawn by the Mississippi River, like we used to back in the cowboy days.  We are in 2006, California and North Carolina are really not that far apart.  We have had experience in recruiting the west coast.  We have a member on my staff that has been on coaching staffs in the Pac-10.  But let's be inclusive and inter-connective.  The Mississippi River is no longer the great divider.'


On trying to become a top-tier program

'I think our focus has to start and end with ourselves.  We had a saying that we shared with our team all the time, `It's about us, not them'.  That's where we have to focus our energies.  That's where we have to focus our time and efforts.  Specifically the first focus has to be toward our men on our team right now.  Not on the men on Washington or OregonState's team.  We have to embrace who we are and focus on ourselves.  This is a great league with some very accomplished programs.  The Pac-10 is as competitive as any league in the country.  We are going to have to battle tooth and nail to continue to get better.'


On meeting the team

'I had a chance to meet the team briefly this morning and I'm going to meet them again this afternoon when we have some more time.  My first impression was exactly what I expected from a Rob Evans-coached team.  I've known Coach Evans and I've been extremely impressed with him through out the years.  The guys I met this morning presented themselves as gentle men.  They were articulate.  They were courteous and respectful.  And I was very impressed with our first meeting together.'


On the next stage in his coaching career

'Not that I'm trying to put myself on the same plateau as Coach Olson but it struck me that he was very successful at Iowa and in a well established program in the Big Ten and he made a quantum leap to Arizona at a similar stage in his career.  And as you look at the demographics in this area, and all the possibilities, I go back to phase I used earlier, timing is everything.  It just seems like, for all the right reasons. This is the perfect time to be making this move for myself and my family.  This seems like a limitless world.  It is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this family.'


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