CRAWFORD | Seven takeaway quotes from Chris Mack's first Louisville news conference
Seven key quotes from Chris Mack's introductory news conference as Louisville basketball coach.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – During his official introduction as University of Louisville basketball coach, Chris Mack spoke and answered questions for a little less than half an hour. Here are five takeaway quotes from his comments:
1). TO THE FANS: “I know these past few months have been unbelievably difficult. They say the darkest clouds elicit the brightest lightning bolts. That lightning bolt is coming. It’s not me, it’s those guys (players). It’s time to turn the page and start building something special once again. I urge you, fill the Yum!, give these guys a chance, let’s get this place rocking. I want you to take pride in your city, in your team, and again, my promise won't come in wins and it won’t come in banners, it’ll come in the sense that I will work my ass off every single day to make you proud of Louisville basketball.”
2). FINAL STOP: “This is my final stop. You'll never see Coach Mack coach at another university, or NBA team, high school team. I mean for a second there, with the board (of trustees) not getting everything in check, I thought I was going to have to be Mike Szabo’s assistant at Trinity. As I stand before you as your head coach, I can’t wait to get started with these guys. It’s going to be a players-first program.”
3). ON DIFFICULTIES THE PROGRAM HAS FACED: “It’s not my job to be the guy that looks backward. I wasn’t here when a lot of the things transpired and written about (happened) and I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t believe this place could shine once again. A lot of people have taken the time to write all the different stories and I’m not naive enough to think that won’t continue, but my job isn’t to look back, it’s to look forward and I am excited about that. If I thought it was too overwhelming to do so, then I wouldn’t have come.”
4). TO DENNY CRUM: “For coach Crum to be here - I’ve got to share a funny story about coach Crum. I don’t know how funny you’ll think this is after I tell the story. My first year in college basketball, as the director of basketball operations, was at Xavier. My very first road trip was the Great Alaska Shootout in 1999. We played Louisville in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout. During that time, they still do it today - you guys did it - they use experimental rules. I’m the director of basketball operations, and one of the experimental rules, they wanted to see if it worked or not, was when you reached the seventh foul and your team was the one that got fouled, you could elect to take the basketball out on the side versus having to shoot the free throws. With about 30 seconds left, and I’ll apologize, I know you know your history a heck of a lot better than I do, but with about 30 seconds to go in the game, Xavier gets fouled and we’re up two points. I looked at coach (Skip) Prosser, God rest his soul, ‘Coach, we should take the ball out of bounds.’ So we took the ball out of bounds. Coach Crum sort of looked down at our bench, ball got inbounded and Louisville fouled again. Twenty-four seconds left on the game clock, ‘Coach Prosser, we should inbound the ball and not shoot the free throws.’ We did that seven-straight times. The game ended with us never shooting free throws, Coach Crum going to the post-game press conference and saying, ‘If that experimental rule ever comes into play,’ and you can probably guess the rest. Coach, I apologize for us beating you that day.”
5). ON RICK PITINO: “I reached out to coach. I talked to him twice. He has been awesome. He had nothing, but great things to say about the city of Louisville, Louisville basketball, the players he recruited here and his support of me.”
6). TO CURRENT PLAYERS: “I told these guys about a half hour ago, and I think a couple of them will start shaking their heads, I recruited about half of them, and if they wouldn’t come to me at Xavier, I told them, ‘You’re stuck with me, I’m going to come to you.’ There will be no, ‘Those are Pitino’s guys versus Mack’s guys.’ I chose this group; you guys are my guys. I’m going to work hard every single day to make you better, to make us better, to make Louisville basketball better. Earlier on, I talked to them about meeting a high standard. I see my job as the head coach of keeping that standard high, and not lowering the standard when it’s not met. It’s not going to be easy. I want our team and our players to be tough together and unbreakable.”
7). TO FORMER PLAYERS: “This is your program. You built it. I know what that’s like. I did the same thing, although my brick would probably be a lot smaller up the road at Xavier. I want each of you all to know, there are no different eras. This is Louisville basketball and you were a big part, the part, of making it what it is today. From afar, I’ve admired so many of you over the years. . . . I want you guys all to know that you’re always welcome. You don’t need an invitation because that’s what this is, to stop in at practice, to come to a game. At some point, when my wife picks out our house, you’ll all be welcome over there as well.”
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