March 27, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Jerod Haase was introduced as the new UAB men's basketball coach Tuesday morning in a press conference at Bartow Arena.
Haase and UAB Athletic Director Brian Mackin addressed a full room as they discussed the next step for the Blazer men's basketball program.
A former Kansas standout who spent 13 seasons on Roy Williams' staff at KU and North Carolina, Haase is the fifth head coach in UAB men's basketball history.
He has been on the Tar Heels' staff for the past nine seasons, helping UNC to national championships in both 2005 and 2009. Click here for the complete release announcing Haase's hiring.
Read below for comments from Mackin and Haase at Tuesday's press conference ...
UAB Athletic Director Brian Mackin
On Jerod Haase's background
"Jerod played three seasons at Kansas (after one year at Cal), where they had an overall record of 89-13. I know my math is not that good, but that's a little over 29 wins per year. They were ranked fifth, fourth and first in the polls right before the NCAA tournament. They had tremendous success in his three years there.
"He was on Roy Williams' staff for four years at Kansas. Two of the four years they were in the Final Four. When Coach Williams left to go to North Carolina, Jerod followed him. For nine years there, he has been an assistant coach under Coach Williams. They won two national championships. The rest speaks for itself. He's been with two of the most prominent athletic programs and basketball programs in America."
On Haase being a part of winning programs
On Haase's reputation as a hard worker
"He's a winner. He's won all of his life. In high school, he won state championships. In college and as an assistant at North Carolina and Kanas, it is in his DNA. He knows no different, and that is very important to me. He is a fierce competitor. Coach Williams, in my four conversations with him over the last week, told me that he has never coached a young man that hated to lose more than Jerod. He used to cry in the locker room because hated losing, so I like that about him."
"He is a very intelligent man. Academics are important to him. He was an Academic All-American and competed at a very high level, so he has those values. He is a very hard worker, and he is known as a great recruiter because he is relentless and he goes after people with his values and brings them into the program. He understands the game and that is very important to me. Finally, as you will discover throughout all of this, he is a great person. He will be a great coach at UAB."
New UAB Men's Basketball Coach Jerod Haase
On taking the job at UAB
"I want to thank (UAB President) Dr. (Carol) Garrison and Mr. Mackin for this opportunity. It's a tremendous leap of faith, and I will do everything in my power to prove that this is the right hire at the right time. I will work tirelessly to ensure that this decision on your behalf is a great one.
"I also want to thank (North Carolina) Coach (Roy) Williams. Without getting into too much detail, when I left his office yesterday I told him I have to leave and not talk because I can't do it (emotionally). He's been great to me."
On leaving his position at North Carolina
"I think everyone in this room understands that North Carolina is a tremendous opportunity, the best assistant coaching job in America working for the best coach and the best program in a great place to live. The people there, the assistant coaches and staff there, are family. So to leave that family is not easy. But I told them in the interview, UAB is a job I'd walk to, and I would. It has everything I need that we can be successful.
"Leaving the office at the Smith Center yesterday, I crossed paths with Dean Smith. I left there seeing all the tradition, the opportunity that I had there. I left there seeing Coach Smith and thinking, `it's my time to go.' While I'll miss everything at Carolina, it's my time and I will never look back. I will be 100 percent committed to UAB with an appreciation for North Carolina and for Kansas and for back home in Lake Tahoe, California.
"There is no doubt about it, I want to be here. I will give everything I have. I told the team this morning that I will prove that with my actions, not just my words."
On what drew him to UAB
"This job has everything that I could hope for. This is a dream situation because I can recruit at a high level here. This is a dream situation because it's a fantastic place to raise a family and be a part of the community. This is a dream situation because there is a current team right here right now that I just met with that I'm going to commit to. And the players in that locker room have a chance to win and to win big. This is a dream situation to be able to work with this staff and administration that's here right now. They are good people, they are knowledgeable people that care about this University, and I'll do the same."
On his plans for UAB
"One goal I have is that you don't have to come up here anytime soon to name a new head coach. This is a destination job for me. This isn't something where I'm thinking that if I do well for a little bit, maybe I can move on somewhere. I want to be here.
"Another goal I have is that when I leave here someday, hopefully a long time from now, what I want people to say is not that Jerod was a great recruiter, even though I hope I will be a great recruiter. I don't want them to say, `man, he could win games with the X and O's and his team was well-disciplined and had a great system in place,' although I want that to be true. I don't want to be known as the guy that was really nice, even though I hope that you find out that I am. I hope that I'm not just known as the guy that won and won big. I hope I am the guy that is known for building a program that started great and became even greater from running it the right way.
"The fact that our kids are going to graduate is hugely important to me. The fact that we're going to do things in a first-class manner and get the kids, myself, my staff involved in the community, all of those things are a piece of the puzzle that were going to do here."
On meeting with the current team
"I just met with the team, and it's a tough meeting. They've lost some people on the staff that they are close to. The meeting was great, and I had a clear message to them about the things we can do here. I want to make sure that they are on board and they understand who I am. They are going to be held accountable in the classroom, and they are going to be held accountable for doing things the right way and representing themselves, the team and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the right way, as well."
On his style of play
"They are going to fight hard. I talked to them a lot about the system and how we're going to do things. We are going to pressure people, we are going to run up and down the court, and we're going to have a system in which we do it. It's not going to be out of control. I told them I'd be extremely disappointed if we don't lead the league in points per game. We're going to have a fun team to watch, but it's not going to be helter-skelter. There is going to be a method to the madness and they seem to be very receptive to that."
On his goals as coach
"I do not have a five-year plan. I need to make sure they know that and you know that, as well. This is not about five years from now I hope to make the NCAA tournament or do some damage in it. The plan starts today; this is a one-day plan where today's job is the most important job. We can win right away. We can do things the right way today.
"I told them my goal for the team is to re-create my experience at Kansas as a student-athlete. My experience there was phenomenal in all ways, and I think as a coach one of my jobs is to re-create that for them and make sure they leave here with the same kind of feelings that I left Kansas with.
On getting involved in the Birmingham community
"My message to the UAB community and the community of Birmingham is pretty simple. I want to be involved. My door will be open. I want to be involved with the press, involved in the community. My wife and three kids we will be around and you will see us. We will be accessible and involved with both the University and the city of Birmingham."
On his commitment to UAB
"Nobody is going to have higher expectations than me. I'll be fully committed to the team, to the University and to the city. I'll give everything I have. I will work tirelessly. I'll learn from the legacy of Coach (Gene) Bartow and follow the path that he created and try to implement some of the things that he did. At the end of the day, I'm humbled and very honored to be your head coach."
On his philosophy for an up-tempo game
"Offensively, were going to run. A lot of teams will run on steals. Some teams will run after a missed shot. We'll be a team that runs on steals, after misses and after makes. I want to push the ball, but there is going to be a method to what we do. We will have plays, but we are going to teach them how to play and we'll execute that. It all ties into a whole system. Back to the defensive side of things, we are going to have multiple defenses, but our primary defense will be man-to-man in the half court, and we are going to pressure the heck out of them. I told the guys today our opponents are going to have to worry about breathing because we're going to be on them so hard."
On his focus in recruiting
"My goal in recruiting is obviously bringing in big-time players. I told the guys on the team, I'm not looking to replace anybody. I want to keep them and add some pieces to the puzzle that's already in place. First off, you have to be a good player; you have to help us get to the next level we want to get to. You have to have great character. I'm not going to bring in bad kids. We're going to bring in kids who have the whole package. I'm looking to produce and build character."
On the team's needs for next season
"The first thing I need to do is re-recruit the players that are here. They've gone through an emotional and tough time and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that we keep the team intact. I want them to know that I need them to stay. In the short term, I would look at bringing in a couple bigs and getting a little bit more size, but at the same time we're going to look at all options everywhere."
On his coaching experience at North Carolina
"I had a very unique situation at North Carolina. It's one of the very few programs that has a JV team. For five of the last nine years, I have been the JV coach. What that means is I make the schedule, I find the officials, I run practice. I am the only coach out there, which means I get on the players, I call timeouts, I build them back up. I make game preparations to put a plan in place. I do every part of the basketball program there is. I'm well aware that there's a difference between UAB and the JV team, but in a lot of ways it's very similar.
"I've seen how it's done at North Carolina and I've taken great pride that when I do make suggestions to Coach Williams, I've thought them through and I know what they are going to be. I've always thought in terms of, `if I were the head coach, what would I do?'"
On the differences between recruiting at North Carolina and UAB
"We do have spectacular players at UNC, but there you're recruiting against schools like Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke and Kansas, so it's not an easy task even for North Carolina. Now the coaches have had a lot of success and I think that our staff has done a great job, but I just want to dismiss that notion that it is easy to recruit for Carolina.
"I think it will be different recruiting here. It will be a different geographical area initially, but we are going to try and stay in Alabama and in the Southeast as much as possible and then we will expand out. My staff and I will have connections nationally, and we will recruit with them as well, but I do want to start within the state and lock down talent in the state. But to be honest, recruiting comes down to three things: Are you going to be able to communicate with the kids? Are you going to be able to evaluate them well? And are you organized in what you are doing? If you are doing these things, I think you can connect with people and get good recruits."