"Gosh, this just feels right. It just feels right," echoed Tim Floyd as he faced the El Paso media for the first time as UTEP's new basketball coach. Genuine Excitement. That's the only way you can describe the vibe in El Paso following Tim Floyd's introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon. If you want to hear it, the guys at Miner Illustrated have it here.
This is the line that really got me pumped:
"I haven't lost my work ethic. I tend to work tirelessly to try to put together a championship-level program here. What championship level am I talking about? Well, I think the only one you all can relate with is '66. Conference championships probably don't mean much to you. I've won a few of those along the way. They probably don't mean as much to me anymore. So we'll be trying to put together a squad and a team that can go win it all. Everybody might say that's crazy, you can't do that today. Tell Butler that right now. Tell George Mason that four years ago. I know it can happen and I know it can happen here.
Every coach say's he expects championships, right? Not like this. Tim Floyd doesn't care about conference championships. He intends to make UTEP more than a C-USA contender. He intends to make the Miners a nationally relevant program in basketball. If Boise State can do it in football, or Gonzaga in basketball, why not the Miners? For the first time in a long time, it feels like we have a coach who wants to do it in El Paso. Not a coach who wants to accomplish it professionally, but somewhere else.
There's no denying that Tim Floyd has drawn negative press in the college ranks over the last year. But, I have to respect the way he's handled it.. As I alluded to yesterday, Floyd wasn't required, contractually or legally, to go to the NCAA Committee on Infractions and testify on the allegations made against him by a friend of a former player. But, he went anyway. After his testimony concluded, he was free to discuss what he said the the media. He declined to do so. He didn't use the magic of the sound bite to sway public opinion in his favor or to take a cheap shot at his former employer. When asked about the allegations, he responded accordingly:
I chose to have my case heard where it should have been heard, with the NCAA, which I did a month ago. I feel very, very, very confident about how the one allegation against me will work out. Only thing I would like to point out is I was aware of their allegation six months before it came out. And in the meantime, I had an opportunity to leave and go to the University of Arizona and the University of Memphis a year ago. I chose to stay. If I had felt like I had done something wrong, I think I probably would have left and taken another job. But I chose to stay because I knew that I had done nothing wrong. I
This was an introductory press conference. Perhaps, I shouldn't get too carried away and maybe I shouldn't read too much into the remarks made by a coach whose had his fair share of time handling the press. There's no denying though, that the Miner program is stronger today than it was yesterday. Today, we have genuine excitement. We don't know if Arnett Moultrie is seriously considering going pro. We don't know if anyone else will transfer. We don't know if Tony Barbee's recruits, including John Bohannon, will still come to El Paso or even if Tim Floyd wants them. Despite all that, we do know that "it just feels right."