Dr. Santa Ono Press Conference Quotes - Jan. 25, 2014|
Jan. 25, 2014
UC Athletics Press Conference
Outgoing Director of Athletics Whit Babcock
“I remember walking into this room very fondly in October 2011, and it is emotional again today and exciting but for a different reason. I really wanted to be here today to simply say thank you. I’ve seen a lot of staff members leave over the years, and everyone has a different way of doing it, but to walk out of this place without saying anything wouldn’t be right. I’ve truly enjoyed my time here, and everyone in the Cincinnati and UC community has been very supportive of me and my wonderful family since day one. I am grateful for that and always will be.
“First off, as many of you may already know, but Whit Babcock was much more than just a colleague to me. He was a really, really close friend. I actually wish Whit the best of luck at Virginia Tech along with his lovely wife and his kids. They are a really special family, and they have been a fabric of this city. I couldn’t be happier for him, and I know this is probably the only place that he would move to.
UC Interim Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois
"President Ono thank you for your kind introduction. It is a privilege to be with you here, in Cincinnati, along with Josh my husband and our son Jackson. I am honored to formally accept the position as the Interim Director of Athletics at the University of Cincinnati. I want to thank our Student-Athletes for attending; members of our Department Staff, and our Coaches, including Coach Cronin, Coach Elliott and Coach Tuberville who are all about to travel to a game, play a game or have a huge recruiting weekend. I also would like to thank Whit. We are all sad to him go but we appreciate everything he has done for this university in his tenure. And most special thanks to President Ono. President Ono, thank you for the faith and confidence in me. Above all else, I want what’s best for the University of Cincinnati and I promise you that I will work so hard to serve your office and this fine institution. I’ve learned in my time here that UC fans, students and alumni are passionate about athletics and I want to thank them and encourage them to continue this great support. This is a great university lead by a transformational leader in Dr. Santa Ono who is incredibly supportive of athletics. This is an athletic department that we all can and should be proud of. We have an amazing group of student-athletes, staff and coaches, and we are in an exciting time in our Bearcat history. I’ve spent almost 20 years in this business and it is this foundation and the folks in this room will enable me to lead us during this transitional period. I make a three-fold pledge to all of you today:
"In 2014 we will continue our forward progress and pursue comprehensive excellence in all we do – all in support of the educational mission of the University. This is a dynamic time: By adding back scholarships, I see our Olympic Sports programs coming into their own. We have a basketball program that has had three consecutive 20 win seasons and is the 15th ranked team in the nation and we need to continue supporting their success. We have National Signing Day coming on February 5. And an $86 million Nippert Stadium Expansion and Renovation Project underway. I’ve spoken with President Ono and assured him that we will continue to operate our Department of Athletics in support of the University’s direction. In everything we do – we will plan for comprehensive excellence.
“My second pledge is that we will remain focused on the well-being of our Student-Athletes and their success – academically, athletically and socially. We will continue to operate with high standards and goals – in the classroom, in competition and in supporting the growth of leaders within our communities. I look forward to continuing our work with our Coaches and Staff ensuring that we are focused on the Student-Athlete’s well-being. We will continue proudly with Academic Achievement as our top priority. In turn, we will continue in a spirit of full compliance with all NCAA, Conference and University rules, regulations and standards. We will all represent the University with the highest degree of integrity
“And message number 3 is vitally important. It’s an exciting time to be a Bearcat.
“President Ono, those are my 3 messages
“To all of you, thank you very much for your time this day. I will start in this position with a great spirit and my full commitment. This is a very busy time, but I do look forward to seeing each and every one of you in the days ahead. Again, I am humbled, honored and grateful to be with you here today and I cannot wait to engage our team of 548 student-athletes, 150 staff, and nineteen teams and continue our forward progress.
“To quote Coach Tuberville, 'Today is a great day to be a Bearcat!'”