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Transcript From Monday's Football Press Conference On New Head Coach Curtis Johnson

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RICK DICKSON
Tulane University Director of Athletics

Opening Statement
"It's a historic day for us for a lot of reasons. I know a lot of you have waited patiently for this day and I've been patient too about getting to this day. We're all thrilled to be here together. I first want to take a moment. I had the opportunity to introduce the young men to their new head coach, but I would be remiss if I didn't say something because this is something Curtis and I talked about a lot. Our young men and the group of coaches that we've had - Mark Hutson as our interim coach and that group of assistants - did an unbelievable job. I would tell you that what's gone on around the country with all the changes, all the disruption and fragmentation and things that go on when you lose leadership did not happen here. And to that group - Mark, those coaches and our young men - I want to say thanks on behalf of Tulane University."

On the search for Tulane's 39th head football coach
"Everybody has been anxious to remind me how many days it's been and I've lived it so I know well how long it's been. We said from the start that we're going to do a very thorough national search and we told you about the kind of person and the profile of a coach that we would find. In working with DHR, who did a lot of the initial vetting and identification of potential targets, and over the next month I spent a lot of time - as most of you know who tracked me - and went all over the country to do exactly that. We said we'd find someone first with the highest level of character and integrity. We said that we would find somebody that had a proven track record of recruiting and developing young men at the highest level that would have the ability, desire and commitment to earn a Tulane degree. That's the point of the decision. It's a four-year decision for the rest of their lives. We said it would be somebody that had great training, great engagement, participation and contribution to high-tempo, upscale offense. We said we would love to find someone, if they meet all those criteria, that has New Orleans ties. I think we found that person. I've talked to many from all different backgrounds - from NFL to head coaches, assistant coaches, to coaches out of the game - but I'm here to tell you that we found the right man and the right person to do this. This is a historic day for us for a lot of reasons. Most of you in this room know where we've been, what our history is and where we've been for the last six years. A lot of things have happened, but never once did we stand back and say, `You know, those things that have happened, that's too much. We can't overcome this.' We never once said that. And as I've told you before, this is the first year I've had 16 programs. This is the first year that I've had all of our coaches, all of our staff and all of your student-athletes back in the Tulane family. We're whole again. I've said it to you, for those who have doubted our intent and commitment, we will provide these coaches, young men and young women the resources to succeed. Two weeks ago, like three years ago, we've got the bookends to prove it, and that won't stop. That will never stop because we're committed to this partnership. The key in doing that is identifying people who embrace that, that will relish that and will help be a part of that."

 

 

On introducing Curtis Johnson as Tulane's new head football coach
"So for those reasons, and above all the person that he is, I want to stop for a second and say welcome to (Curtis Johnson's wife) Angel, the two moms and the entire family. I will tell you one thing, I said this when I was introduced as athletic director at Tulsa 23 years ago, living in the area and having over 120 family members, I know this - our season ticket base just grew dramatically right now - today. But I couldn't be more proud of where we are today and who I'm going to introduce to you as our new football coach. Join me in welcoming Curtis `CJ' Johnson."

CURTIS JOHNSON
New Tulane University Head Football Coach

Opening Statement
"Wow. This is amazing. You couldn't have dreamed this. I say there is no way I could dream something so great as this. First of all I want to thank (New Orleans Saints owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson who took a chance on me, giving me an opportunity to coach with the New Orleans Saints after coming from college. He's been great. His family, Rita his wife, have been awesome. Mickey Loomis, who has been very supportive of everything we've done and everything I've done. But most of all, a great friend of mine for a long time, a great boss, the best boss. If I could be half the boss Sean is, I think I'll be doing a pretty good job. Sean Payton, thank you man. You've been fantastic. The Saints family, all of the support. Everybody has been so gracious and so great for me, and they supported me so much. I just can't...you wouldn't understand it. Also my players, I see a couple of them in the back. I see Marques (Colston). I think (Robert) Meachem came up. Meachem had a great game last night. Thank you guys for putting up with me. Also, I've got my agent, Rocky Arceneaux. He's done a fantastic job. We've worked tireless on this. We tried several times, but Rocky, you were right. We were successful. Thank you, man. Thank you. Also, I want you to understand what kind of president you have. President Cowen, you intimidated me at first, I've got to tell you. But golly, you've been awesome. It's a pleasure. But most of all, my new best friend, Rick Dickson. He's been awesome. I can tell you one thing about him. He's an honest man. He's an honest, honest man. I have a lot of family members here. My beautiful wife, and she's going to be mad at me when I get home. I put my wedding ring down and I don't have it now, but that's my wife, Angel. Thank you. My pastor, my family members, my mother and my mother in law, my son Aaron over here, thank all of you guys for coming."

On the current staff and the job they did during the 2011 season
"For me, it's an awfully exciting day. I just want to say one thing before I get into how exciting this is. The coaches that were here, they've done a magnificent job in holding this program together. It's hard. I've been where they are and I think they've done an absolutely fabulous job. You've done wonders with these young men that I can only hope to do. You have a very respectful team. You've been respectful. You've been a class act in everything that you've done. From me and the University, we really thank you and we will continue to have our dialog."

On growing up in the New Orleans area
"I grew up about 20 minutes from here in a little town called St. Rose, La., and lived in various places around the city. Tulane was like a dream. I really wasn't smart enough to come here. Don't let anybody know that. I thought I was, but I wasn't. I've got some friends. Lionel Washington, he went here. I was mad with him because he beat me in track and he went to Tulane and I didn't go here. It's a wonderful atmosphere. It's a wonderful campus. I know all about it. I relish this opportunity to serve the Tulane community. My thing is, for all of the people at Tulane, I'd like you to welcome me as part of your family. You guys have a strong family. I would love to be a part of that family and I will work hard on being a part of that family. Growing up here in New Orleans, Tulane was one of the places that you knew was going to have a lot of good things about it. It's a great university. It's a great academic institution. I just want to say that we're going to do the best as a football coach, as a football staff and as a football team to make you guys proud of us."

On his professional career to date
"I've had a winning tradition at every level. I've coached on a college team. I've coached in the NFL. My wife, Sean and these guys make me wear these (championship) rings. I really don't like to wear them. What we're going to do is we're going to do our best as expediently as possible to get these young men to work hard with academic challenges who make it in school and give them a taste of what we have. I just want to say, guys, just get ready. You guys are going to be champions. You guys are winners already. We will hold a trophy up. Give those guys a round of applause."

On what he told the team during meetings earlier in the day
"Two things I said going into the meeting with the players, I said, No. 1 we will put together the best staff - it may be existing guys, it may be guys from wherever and we will go anywhere to get coaches that are going to make them successful. They may already be in the program. We will do that, and I owe that to them because what they went through this year is something else. The next thing is, the guys we bring in you will be able to bring them into your homes for Thanksgiving and for Christmas, your parents will be proud of the guys we bring in because you guys have great character and integrity at this university. So I won't bring in any guys who are not Tulane guys."

On his immediate goals for the team
"We do have a lot of work to do. I want everybody's help. Everybody in here that supports this, let's not make this the last time we see each other. We've got to come together. We've got to band together and we're going to bring this program to new heights. We're going to bring this to something that we haven't seen. We're going to show this city that we can be a national player like all these other schools are. I love being here. I love New Orleans. The key is getting the right support staff. I think we have it here. We've got the right staff here already. We've got things in place. I think as long we stick together, and I'm talking to the staff, help me and I'm telling you we will be proud."

On his recruiting goals for the upcoming Signing Period
"Louisiana recruits, we're coming to get you. That doesn't mean we're going to stop searching all over the country, but look out. You're on our radar already. This is now the state of Tulane. We will bring some first class football players in here. Golly, get ready because we're coming. I'm not going to say anything about these other schools in the state, but they better look out. It's very important to bring some tradition of this school back to our city. We've got to be in the forefront of the city and we will be. We're going to make it proud that we are Tulane University as a football program because we will win games. You guys had a tough season this year. I don't want to belabor the point, but we will do our best to turn this thing around as expediently as possible and we're going to do it with class, style and great academic students."

Closing Statement
"It's hard losing your coach in the middle of the season. It's tough. But I know this, now it's time. It's time to start over. It's time to turn it on. It's time to get ready to go and get going. That's what we plan on doing."

On the New Orleans Saints receivers in attendance at the press conference
"I'd like to do one more thing. I didn't want to do this, but I see my players have come in and they've taken time to come out to this press conference. Would the Saints receivers come on up and just stand right in front for a minute? Marques, Robert, come on up. These are the guys that helped me daily. I'm proud of them, they support me and they will continue to. Could you give them a round of applause? I thank them for coming out."