"Dr. Ono, Whit, board members, cheerleaders, band, students, alumni, Bearcat Nation, Bearcat Family, I'm proud to be a Bearcat! You can do a lot of things with emotion and energy, and we got it here. There's been a lot of success here over the years. I was walking down the hallways of all the great coaches, all the great football players. The beautiful facilities that have been provided for students here at the University of Cincinnati. Everything that you see is mostly physically. Emotions pay dividends. Feelings pay dividends. That's how you're successful. That's how you win. That's how you're successful. I don't if it's a football game or academics, family or life. This is great to see.
"It's been a long day for me as I just told the football team a few minutes ago. I left a good group about 1,500 miles away, and I was proud of every one of them. We went through some tough times and a great time. And that's what athletics is about. And I'm looking forward to the challenges that our football team, that our university and our athletic department have, and we have a lot of challenges. I just happen to be a small part of it. I want to be a leader that helps this university go to the next level. Not that there haven't been a lot of accomplishments, and there have. There have been a lot of great wins, champions. A lot of great things have happened, but there's always a next step. I'm going to get questions on why did you come to Cincinnati. I want to help Bearcat Nation take that next step forward. That next step so that we can get better every day as a group and as a university.
"I have some family that I want to introduce here. My wife, Suzanne, my son, Troy, and my mother-in-law and daddy-in-law right here. Like said, it's been a long day for us, but this welcome has really made it worthwhile. A late night with the enthusiasm that this university has, I'm just glad to be a part of it. We're going to start today and we're going to start inching forward every day. As I told this football team, they have a bowl game to play here in a few weeks, and I know they can do it. My job is to put together a staff that is second to none and we will do that. I'm going to bring in guys that number one want to be here, have the same values, have the same goals. And then will turn begin to recruit everyday young men that want to be part of this university to get a great degree and play great football.
"So as start this journey ahead, it's not just me, it's all of us together, we start tonight. We go to work tomorrow. And we work every day to make this university better in every possible way that we can. Success on and off the field with great young men and women that are eventually going to go out and be great individuals and great Americans because we live in the greatest country on the face of this earth."
What was your initial reaction when Whit Babcock called you?
"It was such a quick turnaround. When you're in this business, you don't have time to really react and think, for a while, when situations like this happen. You know this is not my first rodeo. You can tell I'm not from the state of Ohio with my accent, but I'm learning. It can be very quick. I got my first phone call, I guess less than 10-12 hours; that's how quick it can change. And I was perfectly satisfied; I had a great home. Lubbock, Texas and the people of west Texas are great people; they love football. Our football team played hard. Our staff did a great job of coaching. But there was something when Whit called that I thought, 'You know, let me think about this.' Mostly my name, for some reason over the years, it just goes on like a light if there's a job opening.
Everybody think I ought to be the coach there. Not that I'm bragging, it's just that we won a few games over the years. It just goes out there and just kind of goes over my head. This job did not do that. It kind of caught my eye. I've had a chance to watch, over the years, Cincinnati play on television; play in very big games, bowl games, BCS games. I've watched the success. Something kind of rang and we just started dialogue and we just started asking. One thing led to another. Of course it's a family decision; my wife and I, my two boys. We thought about it, and prayed about it. And here we are. We have no doubt that this is the best decision that we could've made."
Has coaching in the Belk Bowl been discussed?
"No, I think the situation, the way that it is - so close to a game - these guys need the direction of the people that had been working with them. I think it gives them the best opportunity to be successful. I'll stay in the background. My duties for the next few days are to get acclimated to the university, with the university, the people and everything around; hiring a staff and recruiting. Regardless of what you think, players win games and it's all about recruiting. We have players here that are committed to us and I will follow up on that. I will make a lot of phone calls the next few days and we will open more roads. We will spend a huge amount of time within a 200-mile radius within this campus. I grew up under some very good coaches. I learned under Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, R.C. Slocum - they had a lot of success. And the one thing I learned from those guys was the closer you take your players to your campus, the better success and the better retention that you'll have. So that is what we want to do. We'll go to California and we'll go to Florida, and we'll go to Texas. But I want a majority of our players to come from this area because there is great football here, and there are great people."
Will your coaching staff at Texas Tech follow you here at UC?
"We had a meeting today with the coaches at Texas Tech, and they'll all coach the bowl game there. They're playing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston against Minnesota, the day after the Bearcats play. I thought it was only right for the staff there to stay and give them the same opportunity to win. But there will be some that come from that staff. There will be some that come from other areas. Like I said, I'm a true believer in getting the best possible staff for the situation that we possibly can. I'm not sold on any offense, defense. Everybody says, 'What's your philosophy?' My philosophy is to give the players the best chance to win. As I told the players earlier; I like to run the ball, I like to throw the ball. We were the No. 1 pass offense in the country this year at Texas Tech, but I think it all goes back to one thing; you have to be consistent at what you do. What we will do is we will bring a coaching staff that believes in what they want to do, all of us together. And we will teach that to these players coming in and we won't change. We want team them how to play football and give them the best opportunity to win on every play, whether its offense or defense, we're going to be very consistent. We'll have a great weight program and we're going to try to produce as much speed as we possibly can. Everybody talks about philosophies of a football coach, but it was to change with the times. I've seen more change in college football in the last six or seven years, than I saw in my first 25, and you have to change with it. But again, it all goes back to the players you have, what they can do and what they can't do, and give them the best opportunity to have a chance to win."
Do you look at this as your last stand as a head coach and do you have the assurances you need from UC in order to compete, in terms of resources?
"I've got a lot more years. The thing about coaching is; it's the players that make you feel young. Somebody asked me a lot of time ago, 'Why did you want to coach?' Because I was an athlete and I wanted to stay around sports, and so I've don't that all my life. It's pretty much all I've done. Because of that, it keeps you young. It keeps you feeling every day that you're as young as these guys are. You're not, but to keep up with them you have to feel like you are. I hope I can coach a long time. I hope I can go many more years. I would not have decided to take this job and I would not be here today if these two guys right here (Ono and Babcock) had not said, 'Coach, we want to give you every possible avenue to have the most success that you can possibly have.' We want our athletes - basketball, baseball, football, track - we want them to have the best the possibly can have. A lot of it is a little overboard, but we want them to be able to compete and have the things that can make them the best possible student athletes they possibly can be. These two guys promised that we would do that and we're going to do it. And we're going to do it the right way. We're going to recruit hard, and we're going to put this team together. We're going to fight every day to win every possible game that we play. Sometimes that not possible, but we can surely try and we're going to give it a heck of a shot."
Did the BIG EAST Conference's uncertainty give you pause at all about taking the UC job?
"That is something we can't control. I've been in college football a long time and I've seen a lot of things change. I was in the BIG EAST when it first opened up; I was a defensive coordinator at Miami when we joined the BIG EAST and it has changed over the years. When I went to the Big 12 three years ago, we had 14 teams. We lost two the first year and two the next year. We had guys going in and out. The uncertainty was unbearable on fans and administrators, but you know what, it doesn't really bother coaches and players. We can't control that. The only thing we can control is if there is going to be movement and if people are going take people in other conferences, we want to put our best foot forward every day, where people recognize that we can be a part of that. So that is what we're going to do. We're going to make sure that everybody understands that when they see us on television that we play with class we play hard and we're going to have a lot of success. And that anybody would be proud to have the University of Cincinnati in whatever conference is out there. But we are excited about where we are now, but things will change. It's going to change every day for the next few years and everybody kind of knows where it's headed. You've seen it start to materialize over the last few years, but we have no control. What we want to do as a football team is we want to take advantage of every opportunity to put our best foot forward every time that people see us; whether it's live in person, or on television."