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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 8, 2008 at 4:05 PM

Emmert on the hire

Here’s some of what UW president Mark Emmert said today about the hiring of Steve Sarkisian:
On the size of the salary being less than had been rumored UW was willing to pay: “The size of the salary wasn’t a factor in it. The only question was, is this the right person for out team, and he is. We had chances to hire sitting head coaches, and they probably would have cost more money, but this decision wasn’t based on the price.”
How important was dynamic personality to bring fans back. “First of all, you have to have the right personality to work with these young men, to be their teacher, their coach, their mentor. And that, to me, naturally involves having a lot of energy and bringing that back into the program. And then to have someone that will embrace the rest of the community is terribly important. You saw the reaction in the press conference when he said he was going to invite people back in. We’ve got lots of fans, lots of supporters, students and former ball players who want to be back engaged with Husky football, and we’re going to get that now and I think that’s a very very positive attribute that Steve brings with him.”
How does this compare to your hire of Nick Saban at LSU? “Nick and Steve are at very different stages of their career. Nick had been a head coach a couple of times at a couple of different places and so that was very different. And yet the way that they think about football, the kind of energy they bring to it, the kind of mental toughness they bring to it is very similar in many ways. They have different personalities like we all do, but I think they’re going to bring a lot of the same things.”
And yet you were equally excited about Tyrone Willingham — how hard to know if you’ve got the right guy? “It’s obviously hard in any case. But when you look at this fellow and the success that he’s had and the kind of programs he’s come out of, the kinds of things that are missing in the equation right now, Steve in my opinion fills that bill really well.”
Are the criteria different now than four years ago? “Yeah, sure, you always have to hire people for the situation you need right now and for the future. The situation is different today than it was four years ago in all kinds of ways.”
What do you recall of the Thanksgiving Day interview? “It was a couple of hours, I don’t remember exactly; at least a couple of hours. It wasn’t any one thing, it was everything together: the way he thought about football, the attitude he had toward it, the values that he was espousing that were manifest in his behavior. Obviously, his energy level is terrific – that was impressive. His knowledge of and his ability to recruit on the West Coast – especially in California as well as Washington state – those things all figured into it very highly and moved him up on our list very fast. And then as you heard from Scott, we talked to lots of people who are very very knowledgeable on football and every one of them came back with extraordinarily positive things to say.”
Any worry about a lack of head coach experience? “Obviously that’s a little bit of a risk whenever you look at someone. But it worked out OK for Oklahoma, it worked out for Jeff Tedford, it worked out OK for Georgia. So there’s plenty of good examples out there. I had to be a president once for the first time, it worked out OK.”
What kind of questions gave illuminating answers? “It was no one single question. It was more the response to a whole selection of those questions. When you’re looking for someone especially who hasn’t been a head coach you try to see that they understand the nuances of the game and the complexity of the operation that they do. They haven’t done the CEO role, the management role, the personnel side and those kinds of issues, and one of the really impressive things about Steve is that Pete Carroll really has done a great job in getting him ready for this. I spent a lot of time talking to coach Carroll about it. He’s worked hard on getting Steve all of those kinds of experiences and has actively mentored him to be a head coach and that’s a very impressive thing. That doesn’t usually happen in any role in life.”

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