Got lots of stuff coming from the Tim Welsh press conference today, but before we get to the Q&As we conducted with Charles Jenkins, Halil Kanacevic and Jack Hayes and before we put the event in context in our usual rambling and semi-coherent prose, we implore you to check out WRHU’s website (links at the upper right of the page) for its comprehensive coverage of the Tim Welsh story.
WRHU has done an incredible job on this, contacting everyone shy of Welsh’s babysitter to get the back story on the Flying Dutchmen’s new head coach. They didn’t get Welsh’s babysitter, but Mike Leslie and Jon Lauder did elicit from one of their interviewees a very good babysitter story connected to Welsh. It’s invigorating to see the passion they’ve brought to this and every other Hofstra story, big and small. Check them out, and then come back here for those Q&As!
What has this process been like for you?
The last 10 days have been very stressful, dealing with the fact that coach Pecora left and [how] we didn’t know who was going to get the job. I tried to stay close to my teammates. At the time, we were all we had. We didn’t know which direction Hofstra was leaning towards, who they were going to hire. I spoke to Mr. [Danny] McCabe [the executive associate athletic director] and Mr. Hayes the entire week. We stayed in contact with them. They told me trust them, they were going to hire a great guy. I put my faith in them and luckily we were able to land Tim Welsh.
As the team captain, did you find a lot of the guys looking to you and following your lead as you dealt with all this?
It was a bit frustrating. Sometimes I had to turn my phone off and not log on to the computer. I was dealing with so many questions at once, so I just had to basically isolate myself and just keep within my family. I don’t want to be answering a lot of questions. I just wanted all of us to handle everything together, you know what I mean? I knew that I wasn’t hiding from my teammates. We found [out] everything together.
What were your thoughts upon hearing Welsh was the choice?
As soon as I heard the news the other day, I put on my computer trying to find out how he was. I went on YouTube, I saw a one-minute video of him when he was the coach at Providence. I kind of did my research on him and I was able to find out good things, that he’s coached great players. I’m looking forward to playing for him. There’s nothing like playing for a coach who has a lot of experience in the [NCAA] Tournament or in the NIT or a bunch of 20-win teams. He went 27-8 when he was with Iona. That’s big. That means he can win in a league like that.
As much as you’re looking forward to playing for Welsh, is this a bit bittersweet for you since you were so close with Pecora?
Yeah, it’s going to be different. When I first found out Pecora was leaving, I was hurt. I took it personally, as a player, because me and coach Pecora were tight. Not just him, but the other staff that we had—we were so close that we had the type of relationship [where] I used to call them my uncles. But at the same time, I’m happy for coach Pecora and his family. He’s over at Fordham and financially it’s a good fit for him. But at the same time, I had to move on with coach Welsh. Me and coach Pecora are still close—all the coaches still speak [with him] everyday. He’s not coaching on the floor with me, but I’m pretty sure that if I need anything, I can still rely on the coaches that we had in the past.
They say it’s business, not personal. I know for sure that coach Pecora’s decision wasn’t anything personal. Off the court, he loved us as players. At the same time, he has to make decisions that are best for him and his family. He has three kids and a wife. He has to, as a father, he has to support his family and I’m pretty sure the Fordham job was something that is going to help put his family in a better financial situation. So I’m happy for him.