You’re a Providence graduate who worked in the Big East while Tim Welsh was the head coach at Providence. So what’s your very first Tim Welsh memory?
You want this one? My very first memory—I’m assistant athletic director at Fairfield and he’s at Iona and Iona was the benchmark program in our league. So my very first interaction with Tim Welsh was in that three-year period that he referred back to 13 years ago when he was the head coach at Iona and I worked at Fairfield. Then he takes the Providence job at my alma mater, so I followed the situation. I’ve actually seen him now when we were in the same league, then when he was at my alma mater. I’ve always been very impressed.
When did you get the idea that you’d have to find a new men’s basketball coach?
Tom and I went back and forth. I worked at Fordham, I knew the place, I knew the people there. Tom and I, it was probably a little different than when you would normally be involved in a job like this. Tom and I were able to have a conversation candidly about what Fordham was like. I knew that he was very, very close to taking that job. I knew it. I knew he was because, like I said, unlike maybe some other situations, we were very close. We’re very good friends. I enjoyed working with him so much. And I knew a good amount about the place that he was considering, which probably doesn’t happen all that often.
So what it actually did was it allowed me to really start to think about when’s this going to happen and is it going to happen? You always have names in mind—you’re supposed to, that’s what somebody in this position would do—but ironically, Tim Welsh wasn’t on my mind, because I didn’t know he had an interest to come back. When Mike Tranghese mentioned that name as somebody that would be interested in coming back, he was number one on the list. And that really happened at some point over the weekend.
What do you think this hire says for athletics at Hofstra?
Hopefully it says that we’re committed to athletics, we want to win, we know the importance of having a successful basketball program. I hope that’s what it says. That’s what I think it says.
Tim will be paid more than Tom was. Does this mean there will be a commensurate increase in the rest of the basketball budget?
I think you have to do what [is right for] you. I’m sure Tom’s salary is greater than the person that he replaced at Fordham. Each school has a situation, each school has to do what’s best for them. And you’ve got to go out and find the best person. Sometimes that’s what you need to do.
Are you surprised this only took a week?
It’s felt like a lifetime, to tell you the truth. It has. But you just don’t know. You hope your first candidate shares the same interest that you do. You hope you can bring him in and meet with the president and everybody’s on the same page. You can do all those things and the candidate could say ‘You know what? I’m going to wait another year.’ And then you’ve got to move on. So you just don’t know what that time frame’s going to be. The fact that we were locked in on our first candidate and then everything went so smoothly, [it] probably went pretty quick.
It seems like it was a delicate process.
It is. It is. And I’ll tell you why: When you want to hone in on head coaches, you have to do so in a way that’s respectful of their situation and doesn’t expose them if they are not ultimately considered or ultimately chosen. And that’s a tough thing to navigate through. It all depends on what your process is. If you’re open to not necessarily just looking at head coaches, maybe you can do it a little differently. I felt that where our program was and all the things that Jay Wright and Tom Pecora had done, I felt an obligation to find somebody who had been a head coach.