Utah State Athletics along with University President Stan Albrecht held a press conference Wednesday to introduce John Hartwell as its new Vice President and Director of Athletics. A complete transcript of Albrecht's and Hartwell's remarks can be found below.
Utah State President Stan Albrecht
"It's another very, very special day for USU. I'm excited for all of us as we begin the next important chapter at Utah State University and USU Athletics. Change can be challenging, but change also provides great opportunity. While we will greatly miss Scott and Jodi Barnes, we have the opportunity to introduce to you some folks I think you will thoroughly enjoy getting to know, that you will welcome as part of the Aggie family. It's going to be a great ride."
"Our goal was simple and we understood what it was going in. We wanted to look broadly and comprehensively across the country and find the very best person to lead Aggie Athletics, to be a part of our senior team during the next phase of Utah State University. Once we had conducted that comprehensive and extensive review, we wanted to identify from the group of folks that we were looking at the right person and then we wanted to get that person here. I am delighted to be able to report to you this morning that I think we have achieved all that we set out to do as we started that process."
"We knew that person would have a great foundation that was put in place by Randy Spetman and Scott Barnes. We weren't looking to fix something. We are in a really good place. We wanted someone who would recognize that foundation that was in place and then really take us to the next level."
"We were gratified when we began this process by the level of interest. We had a lot of folks who were very prepared and brought lots of credentials. When I had the assignment to make some very difficult calls, I think we actually broke some hearts. It was a comprehensive selection process, but we did move quickly. We brought the right guy here."
"We looked for a background of experience, that was broadly defined. We looked for the right skill set. We looked for commitment. We looked for someone who had great personal vision. We looked for someone who understood the Utah State model."
"Please join with me in welcoming John Hartwell to Utah State University."
Utah State Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell
"I feel honored and privilege to stand before you today as the next Vice President and Director of Athletics at Utah State. I'm very humble to stand before you today and very excited about the future of Aggie Athletics."
"I am here to tell you, that on a daily basis, 24/7, 365, that John Hartwell, our entire staff, our coaching staff and our student-athletes will roll up our sleeves and bust our tails and win multiple Mountain West Conference championships in multiple sports and we're very excited about that going forward." "Some may say `why in the world would a guy, who is the Director of Athletics in south Alabama, why are you coming to Utah?' I would turn around and say `why not?' There are two things that are consistent whether you are in south Alabama or in Logan, Utah. Family values and conservative nature and I pride myself on that."
"You will hear me talk a lot about the family. That expands to the Utah State athletic family, the Utah State University family, to the Logan community and to the Cache Valley. To me, that is all a part of our family."
"I want the athletic staff excited and engaged. And when they pull into their parking spots in the morning, they've got a smile on their face because they are happy with what they are doing; and they are thinking what I can do today to move the needle on Utah State athletics?"
"I want to introduce my wife, Heather. She is certainly the rock of our family. You will see her actively engaged. She takes the role of an AD's wife to another level. She is excited to join the Aggie family as well."
"Whether you are in athletics, whether you are in academics, whether you are on the development side of campus, what we can never lose sight of is that the reason we are employed is for our students. When we look at athletics, it is our student-athletes and they are our number one focus. We need to provide all the resources, opportunities and tools to first, excel in the classroom, and number two, to win."
"Winning is important and we are going to win. But a caveat to that, we are going to win the right way. We are not going to cut corners, we are going to do things the right way on a compliance standpoint."
"We are going to emphasize academics first. That is first and foremost."
"Life skills are something that are vitally important that we instill in our student-athletes. Our young men and women, who matriculate through our athletic department, and get degrees through here and are alums are able to make a fine living for themselves, that they are fine representatives of the university. And they will look back at their time at the university as the best time of their lives."
"We need to be smart about the arms race that is collegiate athletics. We need to continue in having short-term vision in getting those projects done, but we also need a long-term vision in staying on the cutting edge of recruiting. The term I like to use is `wow factor'. We need to make sure that in each of our facilities that we have the `wow factor'."
"I like to operate with a little chip on our shoulder. I like our staff and our student-athletes to operate with a little chip on their shoulders. Our budget may not be as large as the University of Utah, but we are going to find ways to not only compete, but to beat them and all of the big boys. We are going to be creative, but we are going to be smart with how we do things."
"We are so excited to be here. It is great to be a Utah State University Aggie and our family looks forward to getting here full time."
"Transparency. You are going to be able to see everything we are doing. I think that is important. When people give to your program, it is like somebody investing in the stock market. People are not going to invest in things they know nothing about or don't have a level of confidence in the leadership, vision and the direction the program is going. We are going to make sure that all of those things are very clear. That there is evidence of a long-term plan, that we are doing things the right way and that we are going to be successful."
On his professional move from the private sector into collegiate athletics:
"It was a total 180-change. I had an inkling of getting back into collegiate athletics. I went from Charleston, S.C. and moved to Atlanta to be the Assistant AD for Finance at Georgia State. I took about a 50-percent pay cut to do it, but knew that I wanted to be in collegiate athletics. It is not your stereo-typical career path in athletic administration."
On his early impressions of being the athletic director at Utah State as compared to being at Troy:
"Troy has a very loyal fan base, but only has about 7,000 students on its main campus. Here, it is on a much larger scale. The engagement and passion of the donors and alums put it on a much larger scale and I'm excited to be a part of that.
On specifics of bringing championships to Utah State:
"During the first 30 days, I want to sit down with each of the head coaches and our administrators in athletics and have them do a current evaluation that they see in their program. Sit down and have conversations with them and part of that analysis will include the top three things that they need to win a championship. I want all of our head coaches to have that mind set that we won't just be competitive in our league, but we will operate at the top of our league. If we operate at the top of the Mountain West we will have success on a national scale as well."
On other things that will be addressed during his first 30 days at Utah State:
"We need to delve into our whole fan experience. Attendance at games is a huge challenge because of television. It is a catch-22 because television contracts help pay the bills from a conference standpoint, but also cause you to play on non-traditional dates with late start times. We've got to make sure that we do everything we can from a fan engagement standpoint that somebody in Salt Lake City will want that entertainment factor."
On if he had ever been to Utah before:
"We came to Logan in December 2013, when the Troy basketball teamed played in the Gossner Invitational. We were a little disappointed when there wasn't snow. It finally snowed and when we were driving back to the airport, Heather turned to me and said `that is really a neat place, I think I could live there'. As fate, fortune and faith play into it, we couldn't be any happier than being here today."
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