Dec. 2, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Monday Morning with Interim Head Coach Brian Wright
Status of Everything
We have been going on as usual. We had recruits in this past weekend. Our guys came in and we met this morning as a team. Our guys are studying for finals these next few days. We will be in the weight room on Tuesday and Wednesday and we plan on practicing towards the end of the week.
Have you had any discussions with Pat Chun (FAU Director of Athletics)? Anything in depth?
Nothing, nothing in depth.
What is your sense of that? Does that unsettle you?
No. It is no different than it was at any other point throughout this process. I know I will sit down and visit with him at some point this week and we will discuss the opportunity and go from there.
Has anyone at other schools contacted you?
There has been some discussion. It is that time of year and at the point that I’m at right now obviously you don’t know your future. So, there have been a few discussions.
Is there a dividing line of what you want to coach now that you have had the head coaching opportunity?
Well, I would entertain a lot of different opportunities, but certainly want to be a head coach. I want to be the head coach here, first and foremost.
What is your sense or feedback from the outside about being a head coach here (FAU) or at other institutions?
I think we have grabbed the attention of some folks nationally. That’s good for Florida Atlantic University. That’s good for all of involved in this program. Certainly, the support here has been unbelievable. From Pat (Chun) and the administration, they have been great throughout all of this. And, then this community and this university….all the phone calls and emails that I have received and our coaching staff has received has really been quite amazing. Just all the support and encouragement. I told the guys that we were going to write a positive FAU story and we did that and that has certainly meant a lot to the folks associated with Florida Atlantic.
What have you learned through this?
I was reminded how resilient people are. How resilient players are. The staff…I was reminded of really how much work that it takes to come together. I think that was the main thing. Just reminded of some things. Certainly, there are some things that you do that you haven’t done before, just organizational things for a football team, but those things were all simple things to do.
What was the biggest thing that allowed the team to come together at such a tumultuous time?
I just think our approach with the team and the players was the correct approach to take, to focus on the players, to focus on the coaches and their families and to remain focused on preparing to win. And, with that leadership and our senior leadership that we had, 23 seniors that were mature people. They all had their goals and their hopes still alive. We still had a lot to play for.
To be a candidate for the head job, what more could you have done better?
I can look in the mirror and say we laid it on the line. We did everything we could possibly do with no regrets. And, I’m very proud of that. I’m very proud of the staff. I’m very proud of our players for that. I still think at the end of the day, that the administration here and Pat Chun have to make the right decision for this university and whoever they think that is. And, I think that we all have to respect that. I have said it from day one, that I think Pat Chun is going to hire a great person; first and foremost…a great leader and a great football coach here. Hopefully, that is me, but I truly believe that he will hire the right person, whoever that is.
If you are not the head coach here, is your confidence level high that you will be a head coach somewhere?
I am confident that I will have that opportunity. I have said it before. I’m a man of faith. I believe that God will put us in a position to be coaching somewhere, like I said. Hopefully, it is His will that it will be here and if not, I believe I will be coaching somewhere and I believe that I will have the opportunity to be a head coach and if not now, and if not this year certainly in the immediate future.
Bowl game issue and what is your confidence in that? It seems like a tall order based on what you are up against.
I don’t know. We have seven teams from a league that has six guarantees. So, we only have a surplus of one. I think it just depends on how some of the other games or other things unfold. Last year, there were at least two teams bowl eligible that didn’t go to bowls last year for whatever reason turned them down and then gave an opportunity for another team to go. I still think there is opportunity yet to see what happens. All those teams ahead of us have to accept all those bowl bids. I still think there is a lot to happen. We made a strong case. We won those last four football games and again I think we have quite the story that would certainly pique the interest of the nation. So, certainly would be something that would maybe grab someone’s attention.
Have you had a chance to reflect at all?
I really haven’t had time to do that. I have been so concerned with our team and so concerned with my family and what our future is that I haven’t been concerned with that necessarily. Every head coach started off as an assistant somewhere. Every guy has had a different story. Every guy has had to rise up and has moved up in a career. You look at a lot of guys that are head coaches and they had a break at some point in time in their career. I had an opportunity here. What is your role in being an advocate for the assistant coach and other jobs, regardless of what happens here?
I think it is my responsibility to help any of those guys that I possibly can, if I can help those guys. Certainly, the job that they have done and the work that they have put in is very commendable. Just what they did has been really unbelievable. So, I would support those guys in any decision that they make or for any opportunities that they may have.
Has any come up?
There hasn’t been a whole lot yet.
How difficult do you think it will be to get the guys (team) as focused as say they were for the FIU game?
It’s hard because there is a lot of uncertainty. There is a lot of uncertainty this week. Are we playing in a bowl game? Are we coaching? Our guys are studying and taking finals here at the end of the week. There is a lot of uncertainty right now. It is more difficult now without the games.
Do you feel it is imperative for you and the coaching staff to be consistently positive?
We are going forward as if we are the coaches here. We are moving forward with recruiting with coaching our players with setting the practice schedule and doing all those things as if we are here until told otherwise.
Have you looked at bowls and possibilities or are you letting someone else do that?
Yeah, I think it is just too much to look at right now. I was more focused on setting a schedule for recruiting and what we are doing this week.
Did you watch college football last weekend?
Here and there but not that much, we were in here this weekend working. We had recruits on campus, so we didn’t watch much college football this weekend.
What was the take away from the recruits that were in?
They had a great experience. They loved the school. They really enjoyed meeting our players and they watched us win a football game over our rival to make us bowl eligible. So, it was all very, very positive here. They understand the situation. They understand that if we remain then they have a great opportunity to come to school here and they want to come to school here. If we do not remain, then they also are in limbo. They wait and see. That is college football.
Was that your pitch? How would you pitch it to come and play for you?
Well, it’s about the place and it’s about the players and getting to know them. And, they were able to see our style of play for the last four weeks and our style of play in the last game and our ability to win the football games here down the stretch…the fun that they are going to have throughout the process and the opportunity that they are going to have. We are going build character here. We are going to treat them as men and we are going to work on them becoming the best men that they can become. I think they understood that from me and understand then from that point that they are going to win based on us trying to become the best people we can become, the best students and the best athletes.
Week of Limbo, does it give you pause
I’m fully confident in what we did here. I’m fully confident in the job that I can do here and I am fully confident in the process that is going on here to find the right coach. I think it is for the best of all of us that the university does its due diligence to make sure that the right person is in place.
Thoughts on staying on staff and not as a head coach.
I would entertain any opportunity to stay or any other opportunity that is outside of here as well. I wouldn’t be in a position to be turning down very many jobs.
Have you talked to anyone outside the University?
I have talked to some folks that I know in the profession, some administrators that I know in the profession about certain opportunities out there.
With the seniors, what do you tell them after Friday’s game?
I think they will be fine. I have told them that we are going to rest our bodies in the early part of this week and we are going to take time to get ready for finals and focus there. They are to work extremely hard in the weight room on Tuesday and Wednesday so we are going to stay active there. We are proceeding on as if we are playing. We ended last week as the end of the regular-season and told them that with the win that gives us the opportunity, but it is not a guaranteed opportunity. Everything last week was our last guaranteed opportunity. The last practice, the last game, and their last opportunity to get the Shula Bowl Trophy back. We were so focused on that game and just their last regular-season opportunity. This week now presents a new opportunity although uncertain in many regards, but our guys will be ready to come back and practice on Friday.
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