April 8, 2009
Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike Lynch
Welcome, and on behalf of our athletic program and our University, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for coming here to be with us today. This is a special and exciting day for our program. These are exciting times as well. Less than 24 hours ago, our men's ice hockey team departed for Washington, D.C., for a chance at our fifth national championship. Today, I have an opportunity to introduce our new head men's basketball coach, Patrick Chambers.
As we begin to blaze this new path, I think that it's important to start by recognizing and thanking a few people that played vital roles in our ability to attract and land a coach of Pat's caliber and pedigree. Many of those folks are here today, some are not. I want to start with Dr. Robert Brown and Joe Mercurio, our executive vice president, and our trustees for their leadership throughout this process. I want to thank a few key members of my team as well. I would like to thank Drew Marrochello, who is my deputy director of athletics, and Dan Satter, our assistant athletic director for marketing communications, for their hard work and support and counsel throughout the past few weeks. It's been a pretty intense few weeks here and without their help, we would not have come to this conclusion today, which I think is a really great move for Boston University.
I also want to thank our coaches, who have been patient throughout this. I think there has been a lot of speculation as to which direction we are headed. I certainly want to thank (men's basketball associate head coach) Orlando (Vandross) for his patience, and (men's hockey) Coach (Jack) Parker for all of his wisdom and counsel throughout all of the candidates we looked at for this position.
Now I would like to thank the team. Many members of the team are here today. I would like to thank them for bearing with us in a very uncertain time. As an 18, 19 or 20-year old young man, I can certainly understand the trepidation in a situation like this, but I really appreciate their support and their patience throughout this. There are also a number of friends that I have throughout the country, who are close to our program, who I leaned on heavily for support and counsel throughout this search. There are too many to name, but they know who they are and I want to make sure to thank them as well.
Finally, I want to thank the Chambers family, who are here in mass today. Pat is one of 12. I want to thank them for their support of Patrick throughout this process, which I'm sure played a key role in his decision making. Where's [women's basketball head coach] Kelly Greenberg
? I don't know what they are feeding you guys in Philadelphia, but Kelly is one of 12 as well, so I'm interested to see a little match-up here at some point, which would be pretty interesting.
Every time I come into this facility, I'm reminded of the investment that our administration and our alumni have made in our athletic program and in the life of the student population here at Boston University. I'm also reminded of the importance that's placed on the experience of our student-athletes here at BU and of the goals of creating a championship-level program that brings pride to our alumni and everyone here on our campus and across the globe.
Over the past five years alone, over 300 million dollars has been injected into program through facilities, scholarships and academic support. Throughout the department, those investments and directives are paying off with tangible progress on the field, classroom and throughout our community. Over the past three years, we have won consecutive Commissioner's Cups in the America East, which signifies the strongest athletic department in our conference. We have won that award four out of the past five years as well. This year alone, we have won championships in lacrosse, tennis, two championships in soccer, women's swimming and diving, and track and field, women's basketball -- and I already mentioned men's ice hockey.
I think we're well on our way, and I think those investments are paying off. Our program is excelling in most every area. In addition to the work on the field, in the classroom as well, our student-athletes' GPA has been increasing every year over the last eight years. Our GSR and our APR are among the best in the nation. I feel very good about where we are at, but we are not all the way to where we want to be -- and that is where basketball comes in.
I see our athletic engine being well-oiled, but in order to reach our goals and expectations and take full advantage of the promise that each one of us on campus believes we have as a program, we need to add what I consider a booster to our engine. I see men's basketball's success providing that booster. This hire of Pat Chambers has wide-ranging implications for our program and arguably is one of our most impactful decisions that the department has made in the last 15 years.
We started a national search when we made a decision to go in a different direction. Our search, I believe, was methodical and broad-ranging and included candidates of various skill and backgrounds. Throughout that search, we kept our concurrent goals of championship play, academic excellence and impactful experiences for our student-athletes front and center. From very early on in the process, I knew that Pat was our man. He's bright, he's articulate and he's a student of the game. He's got a wonderful means of connecting with people and I know he's already started to do that with our team, which I'm very happy about. He's a proven winner, having achieved success at every level. He's also energetic, motivated and an ideal fit for this position.
With a great experience at a very dignified institution, with a strong academic and athletic reputation, I'm confident that Patrick possesses the skills and expertise to lead our young men championships on the court, while doing so in a manner that's reflective of Boston University -- with class, with dignity, with humility and with an eye on the development of our student-athletes. It's my pleasure to introduce our new men's basketball coach, fresh off five NCAA appearances, four Sweet Sixteen appearances, and most recently a run to the Final Four, head coach Patrick Chambers.
Before I leave the podium, I also want to make sure to welcome Courtney (his wife) and Grace (their daughter) as well to our family. Thank you very much for joining us at BU.
Head coach Patrick Chambers
This has been an incredible time for me, my family, and I'm just trying to sort this all out. This is something you dream about, something that you kind of sit there in your office and wonder, `How's it going to happen?' `What am I going to say? Who's going to be there? Is ESPN going to be there? Is Fox going to be there?' Here I am, the new coach of Boston University. I am so thrilled and honored to have this position. I first want to thank Dr. Brown, Joe Mercurio, Mike Lynch, Drew Marrochello. I want to thank them for having the faith and confidence in me to lead this incredible basketball program with such a rich tradition. Last year, they celebrated 100 seasons. That's incredible.
I want to take the time right now to acknowledge Jay Wright, Villanova University, Villanova basketball family and that wonderful program. If not for those basketball players and Jay Wright, I would not be standing here today. Those players gave it up. They sacrificed. They are disciplined and for that I thank them so much. My five years there were incredible. Mike (Lynch) just touched on the Sweet Sixteen, Final Four, Elite Eight. These kids sacrificed so much. To Jay Wright, you know, I get emotional every time I think about him. He's like a brother to me. He taught me this business. He was my mentor. He's been an incredible guy, he's guided me, he's directed me, and it was because of him telling me to interview when I was in Boston. Telling me to pursue my dream and I thank him for that. During that time, you would think a guy would say, `Just be focused on Villanova basketball.' But, he knew deep down inside this is what I had to do. I don't know of many coaches that would do that. So Jay Wright, if you're watching. Thank you.
To my wife, Courtney, and my daughter, Grace, please come up here. This is my immediate family. They mean so much to me. Thanks to Kirsten [Olson] in the athletic department, we already have Grace in a Terrier basketball onesie.
If it were not for Courtney's strength and her believing in me, and her faith in me, we would not have been able to make this decision today. We would not be able to move to this wonderful city of Boston. Thank you and I love you very much.
To my family, you have been with me every step of the way. For you guys to come here today in mass, my mother is here today, this is incredible. You guys have prepared me for this. Just know that. I thank you. You pushed me, you drove me, you sacrificed. I'm so appreciative of your love. You've always been there for me, through good times and bad. We've had some bad times, but we made it through because of you guys. Thank you for the support and confidence. As one of my brothers who is not here recently said, `Attendance just went up.' We are going to get this building filled. Between us and the Greenberg family, we are in good shape.
I want to take the time to recognize coach Dennis Wolff for his commitment, his service, for keeping this program afloat and doing an incredible job for 15 years. He has left me with a talented bunch of guys. I want to make sure Dennis knows that I'm appreciative of him, and I look forward to building a relationship with him. Learning about Boston, learning about the program and learning about the traditions. I look forward to that.
There is a long line of incredible coaches that have coached here. I'm privileged to be named with those guys. There are some big-time coaches, and I'm honored to work for Boston University.
I want to thank Jack Parker, who has been here close to 40 years. I had the chance to meet him a couple of times, and I'm definitely going to sit down with him and tap into his model for success. We are going to work hand-and-hand together. I look forward to working with Coach Parker. We wish him and his team the best of luck Thursday night, and hopefully on Saturday as well.
Kelly Greenberg. Coach Greenberg, thank you so much. We spoke about the job. I'm a Philly guy, she's a Philly girl and I said, `Tell me what Boston University is like. Tell me what the administration is like.' I could hear her energy and her enthusiasm on the other end of the phone, and it made me even more excited to join this family. Coach Greenberg, I look forward to working with you and congratulations on a successful year.
To the other coaches, I look forward to meeting you. I look forward to sitting down with you and learning about Boston University. Learning about how you do things with your program, supporting your teams. We'll be out there. We want to see how your teams do.
The vision for BU basketball. I look at BU basketball like a Gonzaga or Xavier of the Northeast. We want to play that style. We are going to play hard, we are going to play tough and we are going to play physical for 40 minutes. A style that fans will say, `Man, do they give it up for each other.' And the other team is going to say, `I don't want to see them ever again.'
I look forward to working with these guys. Mike touched on it. They've had to handle adversity all year. Battle through injuries, losing their coach. That is not easy. I'm going to recruit you guys right now. I'm going to do my best in the next few weeks to build a relationship with you guys that will last a lifetime. Not just a short time while you guys are here. For a lifetime. I understand the anxiety about me being the new coach. We are going to develop your game on the floor and work hard in the classroom to make sure that you get your degree. That is important to us, that you get your degree. We are going to keep the academic standards and excellence at a very high level. We are going to recruit character guys. We want to make sure we stay humble and hungry.
We had a team meeting, they may think I'm a little crazy, but we brought some energy and some enthusiasm to our first workout yesterday, and it went great. They are ready and willing to get on the court and work hard.
Boston University is a lot like Villanova University with the academic standards and the pride in the institution and that makes a good fit for me. I understand the demands and the standards that are set forth and we look forward to keeping that at a high level. Our guys are in good shape and they will get their degrees under our leadership.
Finally, we want to rally the community. We have got to get out there. We have got to get into the schools, we will run clinics, I'll give lectures. We will have the guys out there speaking on our behalf.
Finally, I want to reach out to our alumni. I hope there is some alum here today. We want to invite you in to the men's basketball program. We don't want to shut you out. We are going to reach out to everyone. We're excited, my family is excited. I want to thank you so much for being here.
Questions and Answers with Patrick Chambers
How much did you know about the program?
Speaking with Coach Greenberg. And I've known Coach Orlando [Vandross] for the last five years. This guy was put in a difficult situation. He's done a heck of a job keeping these guys afloat, and making sure these guys were going to school. He's a good friend of mine, I've know him for five years, and I want to thank him for his loyalty to Boston University. He's going to make me a Bostonian in the next couple of months. I thank Orlando for staying on.
Talking with Orlando and talking with Coach Greenberg. I knew about the University, I knew about the tradition. I'm excited to be apart of this.
Mike Lynch said that early on in the process he knew that you were his guy. How early in the process did you know?
I didn't. But, I was hopeful. My wife and I were very excited about being contacted by BU. When I started doing research, I talked to a good friend of mine, Sean McDonough. We spoke for about 30 minutes and he gave me the lay of the land. I was excited to be apart of this. We were thrilled. I'm excited to stand in front of you here today.
You mentioned the brand of basketball. How much did you guys know about the current guys?
The one thing we are definitely going to do is play hard. I'm getting to know them better. Reaching out and talking to Coach Orlando and talking to the other coaches in the America East about the personnel. They are a very talented group of guys. It's going to be my job to put them in the best position to be successful. As we work out here, we'll come up with whatever is going to help them and our team.
On the most important thing he learned about Jay Wright.
His leadership, his communication ability. His ability to handle difficult situations, but keep a positive attitude. His ability to relate to the student-athlete of today. His ability his athletes play with confidence and his ability to get on players but then put his arm around them. There are times when we are going to push you, and drive you, but we do care about you. I think that all those characteristics, in my mind, makes him the best coach in the country. He took a group of guys, who as high school seniors were not highly touted, and just took them to a Final Four.
He's an amazing guy. I'm indebted to him for life, because he took a chance on me. I was an assistant high school coach and he took on a chance on me. I'll never forget that.
Talking about taking over a veteran team and the dynamics.
That's a great question. I'm going to take my time, let them get to know me. Sit down with Coach Orlando and we are going to go over some things that Coach Wolff put into place. We are going to try to keep it very simple. We are going to play with confidence. It's okay not to be perfect. Don't be afraid to look bad, just go out there and play.