VIDEO: Danny Manning Introductory Press Conference

April 8, 2014

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Wake Forest Director of Athletics Ron Wellman

Opening statement...
"We all know Danny Manning's career. One of the greatest college basketball players ever, player of the year, won a national championship and is regarded in Kansas history as probably the greatest player to ever play there, in that he still is the leading scorer in Kansas history and the leading rebounder in Kansas history. That tells you something about the player. He went onto a great NBA career as well. But that has nothing to do with the reasons we hired Danny Manning as our basketball coach at Wake Forest. We hired Danny Manning as our basketball coach at Wake Forest because of everything that everybody said about him. The type of person he is, the type of coach he is, the job he did at Tulsa, and these are the reasons that we hired Danny Manning to be our head basketball coach at Wake Forest University. He has the pedigree for certain. You talk to Bill Self, you talk to Larry Brown. They all said the same thing about him. Larry Brown said he was the big man coach as a player at Kansas. That tells you something about what his track record and career path was going to be. Bill Self said similar things about his coaching acumen. We have got one heck of a basketball coach. One of the factors that really attracted me to Danny was that his team started out 1-6 this year and they ended up winning the last 11 games of the season. When I asked Danny when they started 1-6, 'What did you do differently to turn that team around?' He said 'Nothing. We didn't do anything differently. We just believed in the system that we had and we worked a little bit harder. Everyone came along and started to understand what this system was about and what our beliefs were about and that played out into a great season at Tulsa this year.' We are thrilled to have Danny as our new head basketball coach and we are really happy to have his family here today."

 

 

Wake Forest Basketball Head Coach Danny Manning

Opening statement...
"Thank you all for coming out. Thank you to President Hatch for giving me this wonderful opportunity to become a part of the Wake Forest family. I am very fond of Wake, I grew up in Greensboro. Greensboro Coliseum was the home court for the Demon Deacon for a lot of years. I remember watching a lot of Coach [Carl] Tacy's teams and it was a lot of fun. I am very fortunate and very blessed. I look at the rich tradition in basketball. I mentioned Coach Tacy. You go back to Coach [Bones] McKinney who led Wake Forest to its first and only Final Four appearance. Jump to Coach [Dave] Odom who had a great run, winning two ACC championships. You talk about Skip Prosser, how he affected so many people with his positive and great spirit. I am really honored to be following those great men and great coaches and I am going to do my best to live up to the standards that they set for this university."

On his excitement to be at Wake Forest...
"I am very happy to be a part of this program and I am looking forward to establishing our new foundation of Wake Forest basketball. Our foundation will be built on sacrifice for one another. I believe what's good for you is good for the team. It will be built upon hard work and sparing no effort. Those are the things that we will work hard to have each and every day when we come into the gym. Success is defined in a lot of different ways but you can't have it unless you have a good foundation among other things. I know how involved and passionate Mr. Wellman is about this university. He shared that with me and all the people I have come into contact with in the short amount of time has been impressive. I am excited and I look forward to many, many bright days ahead. I understand it's a journey. I have been very fortunate and very blessed to have been around this game for a very long time. I think I have a few stories and things I can share with the young guys to help them along their journey. To me, as a coach, wins and losses are very important. But also making sure I help prepare these young people and the young men I come in contact with each and every day to be the best person they can be. At the end of the day my title is a coach but I am a teacher and I want to teach life skills along with basketball skills and win games along the way and have a lot of young men graduate and move onto bigger and better things."

On hiring his coaching staff...
"It's a process to be honest with you. The Final Four is not the place you want to be when you take a job and you've got job openings. There are a lot of people that are trying to get your attention, so to speak. It's nice to be away from it. I'll do my phone interviews and my research and things like that. It's going well. I'm not in a huge hurry, but I've been fortunate to have a lot of people that are wanting to come here."

On coming back to the North Carolina area...
"It feels great to be back. I woke up this morning and got a text from one of my old high school teammates. He was talking about when we were playing Reynolds High School. I'm excited. I got a chance to come back professionally. It was always nice to see everything and bump into a lot of friends. I've reached out to a lot of friends and a lot have reached out to me. I'm excited to be back and to be in this area. I was a professional basketball player for 15 years. I was very blessed and fortunate to do that. I got traded quite a bit, so where you go is where you go professionally. So to make the decision to come back to this area, where basketball is so special. I've lived it, I've been a part of it, and thanks to my late father it's in my blood. I'm thrilled to be back."

On playing for Coach Larry Brown at Kansas...
"I played for Coach Brown. He's given me a lot of inspiration. Coach Brown made me a better person and basketball player. We won some games, I graduated, and I went on with my life. It was all that I could ask for, playing with him. He's a tough dude to play for. He challenges you every day. That's something that I'm going to do here. Coach Brown is someone that's had a profound impact on my life from the day I started playing for him at Kansas."

On working for Coach Bill Self at Kansas...
"Coach Self and I go way back. I competed against him at Oklahoma State. We maintained a good relationship throughout my professional career. When I retired, he offered me a spot on his staff as Director of Student-Athlete Development/team manager. He gave me a chance to see everything from the ground up. I did everything that my title warranted that I do. It was something for me that I needed to see if I wanted to be involved in the game at this level. I'm very fortunate for that opportunity. I was able to work myself up to an assistant coach and I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot. Not only from Coach Self, but from his whole staff. They were an open book for me and really helped me progress in my coaching career."

On the identity of the program...
"First and foremost, we're in the education business. We want to make great young men. This is a wonderful university. When you leave here, you will be prepared for life. That's something we're going to sell recruiting-wise. For basketball, the things that we're going to talk about and expect from our young men are things that they're going to have to adapt to in life. Our mission statement will be we want to be a physically and mentally tough team that pays strict attention to detail. We think next play and we're constantly in a state of becoming. That is going to be our culture. That runs along all the other great coaches that have been great here."

On relating to all kinds of players...
"I've been fortunate and blessed to be a starter, a role guy, a bench man, in the rotation, out of the rotation, injured, on the injured list. I've experienced all those roles. I may not know exactly how each individual feels but I've got a pretty good idea. I think that's also a help in adopting my philosophy as a head coach."

On expectations and work ethic...
"We have aspirations of being a championship team. We want to cut down nets. We're going to put forth the work to put ourselves in that situation. It's not going to be easy. But, I'm willing to roll up my sleeves, and let's go get it."

On going up against strong ACC competition...
"It's our name. It's who we are. We're going to go out there and we're going to go toe-to-toe. We're coming out and we're throwing blows, and we're going to continue to throw blows. We're going to take some knocks along the way. But we're going to fight, we're going to scrap. At the end of the day, I think if we put forth the effort necessary, we're going to continue to develop and get better. Hopefully there will be a lot of teams that don't want to see us."

 

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