April 26, 2011
It's an exciting time for us. We've had lots of great memories in this room and out on that floor. This is an exciting time - it always is for an athletic director. It's a great opportunity. Cal women's basketball, over the course of the last six years, has established itself as a program of excellence with NCAA Tournament goals and national championship aspirations. We've seen the program succeed and grow with wonderful student-athletes from our community, from our state, and frankly from the world at large. There have been NCAA Tournament successes, a Sweet 16 appearance and a WNIT national championship. This program has made an impression on our community and on our campus. It has established in what I call athletics done right - excellence in the athletics, academic and fiscal and community pursuits. It has captured the attention of our community in a way that youth and adults alike are talking about our student-athletes on and off the court successes and talking of the program with great regularity.
It with that backdrop, we welcome our new leader for the program today. I want to thank our staff and particularly Teresa Gould for her right-hand assistance in this search. Searches are never easy. They always take dips and turns and other things. But particularly, coaching searches can be particularly demanding because of their urgency. I certainly want to thank our student-athletes - who are with us today - for your patience, your diligent participation, and quite frankly, for continuing your great work both in the classroom and on the basketball court while the search went on around you. I also want to extend a hearty welcome on behalf of both Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Mary Catherine, who I think most of us know have become great women's basketball fans. Unfortunately, they are in China and couldn't quite get back for today's three o'clock announcement.
There is nothing more important of all the tasks that we do, all the assignments and opportunities on a daily basis, than who to invite to come to Cal. Whether we're talking about which student-athletes to extend scholarship offers to, or as in the case today, who to select to lead one of our premier programs. We are, as a university, and as an athletic program, we are first and foremost about our values and no one represents our values or our vision and our hopes and dreams and aspirations better or more vividly than our coaches and our administrators that lead our various efforts. I'm thrilled today to have the opportunity to introduce and welcome back to the Cal Athletics family, Lindsay Gottlieb. You might ask why. Well, it's about her vision. Her vision for an enriching student-athlete experience that includes a high level of success both on and off the court. She has a track record for postseason accomplishments but as an assistant and as a head coach. It's about her passion. Her passion for student-athletes in this program and the difference and that she and we can and will make in their lives. And it's about her passion for this community and having Cal women's basketball take its proper place in the hearts and minds of the campus and the community. Cal women's basketball under Lindsay's leadership will represent comprehensive excellence. It's about her dedication to the student-athletes in the program and her dedication to the game. I am so certain of her success because of the skills that she has developed over the course of her career, the mentors she has learned from, taking away from each a little piece of the mosaic that she has now crafted to create what we now know as Lindsay Gottlieb, the head coach. The intelligence she possesses, the work ethic she brings to the endeavor every day. What I've seen in Lindsay as a head coach is a compassionate and passionate leader who will be organized and efficient, consistent with our high performance principles, who will surround herself with highly skilled people to create the necessary conditions for success for the young women in our program. Of great importance to the Cal community, Lindsay is a leader of high integrity, high energy and high intellect. And, we don't have to teach her how to say, "Go Bears!"
Thank you, Sandy. It's not often that someone can be 3,000 miles from where the place they were born and yet feel as if they're coming home. That's how I feel today. The reception I have received here has been truly amazing. I am simultaneously thrilled, honored and deeply humbled to be the next head women's basketball coach at Cal. This is the number one public intuition in the country and I'm surrounded by tremendous coaches in a preeminent athletics department. I get to coach the dynamic group of student-athletes you see sitting right here. I could not be more proud or more excited. There are so many people that I need to and want to thank. First and foremost, Sandy Barbour is just the best in the business. Along with Teresa Gould, their vision and commitment to Cal women's basketball is real. It's something I've seen firsthand and I've felt again during this hiring process and it's part of what makes this athletic department special. I thank you for your belief in me and your commitment to the young women that I am so fortunate to be able to coach. I would also like to thank Chancellor Birgeneau, who is in China, but he used to come into our locker room after big wins when I was here so I am definitely looking forward to high fiving him again very soon. I would like to thank Chancellor Yang at UCSB along with Dr. Gary Cunningham, the athletic director who hired me, and Mark Massari, who provided leadership and support to me for the past three years. I'm very grateful to the Santa Barbara community that was always behind me, and especially the Gaucho players I coached. They gave every ounce of themselves to me and have made me a better coach and a better person in my time there. I know great things lie ahead for those women and their program. Of course I'm also thankful to Joanne Boyle, who has been a friend and mentor to me for the past 10 years. She hired me as her top assistant at Richmond when I was 24 years old. I used to have to get a note from the athletic director to be able to rent a car when I went out recruiting because I was so young. She taught me how to run a championship caliber team, but she also taught me how to grow and figure out who I could be as a head coach.
It's my challenge to take the reins and say to this group and to this community - that we can do even more. I return to Haas today with the absolute belief that Cal is one of the gems of the women's basketball world. The Bay Area and the East Bay in particular have a fan base that is excited about this program and really cares. I look forward to engaging that community, and to reaching out and really being involved with them.
Women's basketball is a priority to this department and we have the backing, the vision, the resources to compete at the highest level. In addition to all that, there is a group of student-athletes sitting right here that is dynamic and talented and fun and hungry. As I told them in the locker room a little bit earlier, I believe in this group. I can tell you this - no one will work harder than I will to achieve the type of success that we all want. No one will care more deeply for the young women that they coach than I will. We will continue to recruit the highest caliber athletes and people. We will make them better players while they're here - I'm huge on skill development - and we will also mentor them off the court. I want to graduate players who are ready to go out and do amazing things in this world in whatever field they choose.
We want to play a brand of basketball that is fun for fans to watch and fun for them to play and that other teams have to prepare for. We will push the ball, we will play fast but we will also play with technique. We want to gain advantages in transition but then having scoring actions that play into the strengths of our talented players. We want to dominate the boards and be disruptive on the defensive end. I want a team that's cohesive and fluid and operating at a championship level in all that we do. I want our team to carry themselves with a confidence. A confidence that they've earned through hard work and that allows them to do things that they might not even realize yet that they're capable of doing.
I am definitely excited. I have always sort of felt like I have known her, but I never really got the opportunity to know her. I am really excited to get to know her as a person and experience all the great things I have heard about her on the court.
I have heard that she is passionate. The one thing I have heard the most about her is that she cares about her players, which was one thing I really loved about Coach Boyle that I think is going to continue on. The time she puts in with her players off the court. She really cares about them and gives the effort to them and really wants to help them get better. So I think that alone off the court will correlate on the court as well.
When I first heard about Joanne, I had mixed feelings. I was happy for her for going to Virginia, but I was really sad to lose a friend, a person, a mentor, someone who has really helped me a lot off the court. I was really sad to see her go, but excited to see her get back with her family.
I think it is only going to help us to have someone who has been her, who knows how hard academics are. She knows what it is like to play in the Pac-10. What it is like to scout Stanford. It is only going to give us a leg up.
I think this team has risen to the challenge more than any other Cal team has. We haven't had a coach and we haven't had any clue, but our workouts have been out of this world. If you talk to our strength and conditioning coach, he will tell you that we have been hungry. We really feel like we have been underachieving, so we are just going to work . Coach Boyle is gone and all we have is what is in this room, so we are just going to work. We have been really driven.
All of this has brought us a lot closer and we have been working on our team chemistry more. Just trying to bond with each other more.
There was uncertainty, but we were all there, waiting to listen to what she had to say. She talked a lot about how she was excited to be here. How much she cared. How much she wants to build relationships with us off the court. And we are looking forward to getting together with her tomorrow on the court doing individuals. So I think it is really like `let's get going.'