April 22, 2014
HOUSTON VICE PRESIDENT OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS MACK RHOADES
"Welcome and thank you for being here today. It is an exciting day for our women's basketball program. Any time you hire a new head coach, you always look to the future and certainly this program has had some great moments in the past, but we're looking forward to the even greater moments in the future."
I know we have some head coaches here with us and I know that they have very busy schedules, but I would like our head coaches to stand and just be recognized as a group. Thank you for being here. I also want to thank DeJuena Chizer and Hunter Yurachek for enduring me and all of the interviews we had over at the Hyatt. We hung out at the Hyatt for about three days and those two were instrumental to the process. We started with about 10 individuals on our list and there was only one assistant coach of the 10."
"Everybody else was a head coach, so that kind of puts the odds in perspective. So our new head coach really earned this opportunity. When we thought about who we wanted to lead this program there were some things that really came to mind. We wanted somebody that was a builder. Someone that really knew and understood how to build a program from ground zero, the right way, with the right kids and the right staff. We wanted somebody that had great experience in doing that and somebody that worked with some great coaches before, if they weren't a head coach or if they were a head coach, somebody that certainly had a proven track record. "
"Again, somebody that was a builder, somebody that had great vision because our women's basketball program today is not what it is going to be four years from now. We hire somebody with the intent that we win championships, just like we do for all of our sports. We want to win championships in every one of those sports programs and that is not easy to do. That is hard to do and you have to have the right leadership, you have to have the right support system."
But we wanted somebody again that had a great vision and somebody that was a tireless worker. At the end of the day, for me, when I go home at night, I want to be able to lie down in bed and know that we're not getting outworked. And I think that we have a collection of head coaches that do that and certainly this individual needed to be a tireless worker. Somebody with great passion, energy, enthusiasm and understands that their role is to develop young people and win championships. We wanted somebody that again had some great experiences."
"This particular individual has worked with Coach C. Vivian Stringer, has worked with Coach Gail Goestenkors, and I'm just going to call her Coach Sue (Sue Semrau) at Florida State because I can't pronounce her last name and I've talked to Coach Sue so many times that she is now a friend. But again we just needed somebody that just had a great concept of what he wanted to do, how he wanted to do it and knows how to do it. "
"We needed somebody that has intentionally worked 10 to 15 years for this day and this moment. So it is with great pleasure that I welcome Coach Hughey and his wife Alethea, his daughters Rhonda and Sanabarabara to the UH Athletics Family. Coach Hughey, come on up."
On what he was looking for in a coach
"First and foremost, I am proud of the staff members we have here at this press conference. I'm not sure that this turnout happens everywhere. It's because of those staff members sitting behind you that we have such a great culture and sense of family. We wanted somebody that really values and embraces that, as well as somebody who's ready to work hard and is going to push our student athletes to be the best that they can be. We've got some special young ladies that are sitting up in front of us right now and we needed someone that could come in and push them to their limits academically, as well as on the basketball court. Those are some of the things we were looking for. "
HOUSTON HEAD COACH-RONALD HUGHEY
"First and foremost I would like to say thank you to the almighty father up top. Mack has been tremendous through this whole process. Hunter and DeJuena as well, without them I would not have this opportunity and I would not be standing here. So I definitely would like to say thank you to them. Secondly I want to say thank you to the past coaches; Todd Buchanan and the late great Joe Curl. Those guys were exemplary while they were here and I definitely want to give my blessings to them."
"Like Mack said, when it comes to basketball and when it comes to leading young people, I've been surrounded by some of the best and in doing so I've learned a lot. I've been preparing for this moment for a long time. When I started at South Carolina State in the MEAC and you wear 4 or 5 different hats, you understand the value of hard work. You understand the value of rolling up your sleeves and doing the tireless things. If you have to sweep the floor or do film exchange, recruit every kid on the team, drive 10 hours to go watch a game and drive back, you do it because you know that there is a bigger picture. You have a bigger vision and a bigger goal in mind."
First and foremost, here at the University of Houston, my staff and I will restore the prideful legacy of women's basketball. That is first and foremost. Secondly, our student athletes will be women of great culture. Who they are as people will be first and foremost. What they do with graduation and through their communities, they will be great role models, not only in the city of Houston, or the state of Texas, but also throughout the country."
We're going to instill some discipline; you can't have anything without discipline in your life. Nothing, nothing, nothing comes before it. Not one single thing. I had the chance to talk about my Grandmother during the interview and she passed away a few years ago. The one thing she taught me that has stuck with me every single day, is to be better than you were the day before. It's a hard thing to do and I repeat it, be better than you were the day before."
So that tireless effort Mack was speaking about, that DeJuena and I had several conversations about, those are the things that govern this program. We'll graduate people. We are going to graduate every young lady that comes through the program. We have an academic plan that is getting ready to be instilled in every one of them and they understand that we're going to get it done. No `if's', `ands,' or `buts.' We are going to get it done, no excuses, none of it. Again, just to speak about some of the places I've been, I've got a great framework for providing and instilling the things that we want to do to have the opportunity to win here. This is a tremendous, prestigious, great university. We're getting ready to do big things and it's as simple as that. Thank you."
On his coaching philosophy and style of play
"On the court, the non-negotiable will be to defend the rebound, that's first and foremost. Secondly, we want to play fast, but again, my staff and I have to get together to have the opportunity to watch film and see who can do what and what exactly fits the program best right now. Right now we're going to take what's available and look at what our strongpoints are. We're not going to try and put them in a situation where they're not capable of performing. So far, the kids look pretty athletic; they can get up and down the floor, but we definitely want to play fast and it will be entertaining to see what happens.
On whether he thinks the program can turn around quickly
"I'm not sure about that. I think every season and each practice you just want to get better and be committed. You want to work as hard as you can. I think when you try to put a destination on something as soon as you walk through the door, you're cutting off your nose. We just want to have the opportunity to come in and work hard every single day, and have our ladies get better and better and surprise some people. We'll see what happens.
On whether it's tough to stress graduating as well as performing on the court
"Not at all. All the programs I've been with, we have done it. So, we'll continue to do the same thing here."
On how involved with the recruiting process he was at Texas and on how well he knows the state
"I've always been involved in recruiting, I am a tireless recruiter. I was joking with DeJuena and Derrick earlier, I had recruited pretty hard and actually recruited some top classes as an assistant. Now that I'm a head coach against all these other assistants, we can see how things roll over now. The northern state is really key. A lot of people here and around the state are already tied in. So I don't think we're going to have a problem at all doing the things necessary to be successful when it comes to recruiting in the state of Texas."
On whether he will be keeping some members of the staff from the previous regime
"That's the plan, we definitely will evaluate it and see what we have with everyone."