Lebo Introduced At First Press Conference
March 23, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After being named the head men's basketball coach at East Carolina University Monday evening, Jeff Lebo was officially introduced to the public at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Below are his comments from his initial assembly with the media.
"I feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now. I have never been so happy in my life to get a 4:00 a.m. wake-up call to catch a plane to come here today and be named head basketball coach at East Carolina.
"I feel so very fortunate in a lot of different ways. One is to be coaching at a great university. Another is that I get to do what I love to do, which is coach the game and coach kids. I love and am passionate about the game of basketball. I've grown up around the game, being the son of a high school coach.
"I get a chance to do what I like to do every single day. I get to work for a man I respect and admire in Coach Holland, who recruited me to go to Virginia when I was in high school.
"I get to a chance to coach at a place that has an incredibly passionate fan base. I've gotten to see that first hand having come here many times. I've been to a football game here. I've followed East Carolina athletics for a long time.
"I get to coach around friends and family now. My wife is from Williamston. My father-in-law played football here. I get a chance to be around my family. I've got tons of family close by and here in Greenville. To have a chance to do what I love to do, around family, with people I respect, at a great university that is passionate about its athletics is a dream come true. It doesn't get any better than that.
"I'm certainly so grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to be your basketball coach."
On Expectations For Next Season
"I can't stand up here and tell you how many wins we're going to have, but I can tell you a couple of things. One, you're going to see a team out there that's going to play hard. The one thing that I don't coach is effort. I expect that.
"We want to play smart. Some nights are better than others for that, but playing smart is something I believe in. We want to play together. We want guys who understand our core values: being accountable, dependable, reliable and trusting. Those things aren't just important on the basketball floor. They're important in other areas of their lives as well, like academics and social settings.
"Those are the things I believe in and that we're going to instill in this basketball program. We have some very good pieces here. We're excited about being here. I'm excited for my family. I'm excited to be your basketball coach. This is probably one of the greatest experiences I've had to date in this great game. I'm ready to be a Pirate. Go Pirates."
On What It Takes For East Carolina To Be Successful
"Well I think it takes a lot of things. It takes hard work, dedication, players who believe in your system and all the things I talked about earlier with players who understand your core values. There's no reason why it can't be done here. I'm certainly excited about it.
"I'm not afraid of a building or rebuilding job. I think there are some good pieces in place here. I've watched the team play on tape and have followed it over the past year or two.
"There is a passionate group of people. If we can get some things going, get the group excited, get some confident kids here and get to playing the way we like to, which is pretty fast, then we'll see what we can do. We can make this place a very difficult one to come play in.
"I told the kids before when I had a chance to meet with them that I want them to watch Butler and Northern Iowa in the NCAA Tournament. The team played Northern Iowa earlier this season and lost by six. Why can't that be East Carolina? That can and will be East Carolina.
"There's going to be a lot of hard work, dedication and things we have to put in place here to make that happen. I believe that can happen here and always have. I'm certainly here to hopefully live that."
On The Hiring Process
"Coach Holland called me on a Monday and we talked for a few days. He called me back and wanted me and Melissa to make a visit to Greenville. My wife jumped on that right away for a chance to come home. We spent Thursday here and things progressed from there. This is a perfect place for me.
"When Coach Holland offered me the job, I didn't even have to think about it for more than one second. It was a pretty simple process."
On Meeting With The Team
"It went well. They were very receptive. Anytime there's a transition with a coaching staff, it's very difficult on the players. They don't know you and their families don't know you. The players and families are apprehensive. I understand that. Everybody has been through a lot and it's not easy on them.
"They were very attentive. I didn't have a long time with them, but I was very impressed with the group I had. They looked me in the eye. I think they're ready to work and excited about looking ahead."
On His Coaching Staff
"I haven't worried about the staff, yet. Everything has moved so fast. We'll work on that in the upcoming weeks and months. Right now, it's about the players and getting myself here."
On Comparing East Carolina To Other Places He Has Been
"I think it's in better shape than a lot of places I've been. I really do. Coach Mack McCarthy was here and I've known him for a long time. He has done a good job and put some pieces in place. I look forward to having a chance to work with him.
"I think it's really close here, which is encouraging. I've been at some places where I was told I was committing coaching suicide going there. This is certainly not one of those places. I'm excited about that and the work. I think it's in a lot better shape than some other places I have been."