"Over and over from the very first conversation that I had with these people, I felt their love for this university. I felt their commitment to this football program and I strongly wanted to be a part of it from the very first phone call. My prayers have been answered. Thank you."
"This football program has been built on solid ground. It is a tremendous program with great tradition and great expectations. And the opportunity to build upon that tradition is a thrill and an honor. I also want to thank these players that showed up this morning. They came from all around the state and that showed me a lot of where these guys want to be and want to do."
"That is what everything is about, are these players. I am looking forward to getting to know all the Pirate family. But I am really looking forward to building relationships with these guys. I am looking forward to recruiting our own players first and getting to know them. I am very excited about getting on the phone today and talking to recruits and their parents."
"I'm also excited about building a staff. It is unbelievable the amount of phone calls and amount of interest that this program brings. Sometimes working on the inside of a program, you don't realize the respect and admiration people have for this program. Well, I'm going to tell you that in the football world, this place has tremendous respect. There are some big time coaches at some places that want to come and join our family."
"We will build a tremendous staff of guys with integrity, guys that will get out in the community, guys that will get out and build relationships with high schools, high school coaches throughout North Carolina, the Tidewater area, Georgia, Florida and across the country. We want to bring in the best football players that we can. And we will do that. We will hire a great staff. I look forward to talking with the previous staff."
"There are three things primarily that we want to accomplish. We want to win championships, a lot of championships. We want to graduate players and send them out as productive citizens. And we want to make a difference in young peoples' lives, this community and with the Pirate family."
"We are going to be an exciting football team on both sides of the football. The way we have played defense over the years is the way we are going to play offense. We are going to be an up-tempo, fast-paced, aggressive, unpredictable offense. Just like we will on defense. We will dictate the rhythm of the football game. It's going to be a fun offense and fun defense. It will be built around our players. We will not make our players adjust; we will adjust around the talents of our players."
On time table for putting a staff together:
"I hope to have a staff together the first week in January. Most of the recruiting will be done over the phone. We are about to hit a dead period here for a couple of days so there is not much we can do. But there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that you want to put together. But early January [we should] at least have a skeletal staff put together to be able to get into these high schools to get rolling."
On retaining current staff:
"I plan on sitting down with all of these guys. I know a lot of them and I want to start today by visiting with everyone."
On thinking about being a head coach as a defensive coordinator:
"I told them in the interview that I have always known what I wanted to do. My family were teachers and coaches. My dad was a high school coach. This is all I have ever wanted to do. I have always wanted to be a head coach. For 25 years, I have been coaching and preparing for this day and I'm very much looking forward to this."
On being surprised about getting the job:
"Very much so. When you look and see there are 117 of these jobs out there and you look for quality of this place. You are very fortunate to be a college head football coach. As I said, I am thrilled to be here. I was surprised when I got the first call, surprised to get the second call and really surprised to get the final call."
On his planned involvement in the defense:
"I want to be the head coach, an organizer and a facilitator. I want to help the coaches be better coaches. We will see who we hire as a defensive coordinator and how the staff works together. I've got some strong beliefs of some areas, but I also have some strong beliefs that you hire the best coaches out there and work to make it all fit together."
On learning from successful coaches:
"I learned that is a tough road. But you have to be yourself. The reason I am here today is because of my players and the great coaches I worked with. But most of all, I need to be myself, John Thompson."
On coaching in the Outback Bowl game with Florida:
"I'm here to stay for a couple of days. It has been agreed upon by both schools, East Carolina and the University of Florida, that I go back and coach with Florida in the Outback Bowl. We are in a [recruiting] dead period during that time and there is nothing we can do except by phone. And we think that it will benefit East Carolina if I coach in that bowl game. As soon as that game is over, I am right back here. I am a Pirate."
On vision of non-conference scheduling:
"The non-conference games that we have in the next couple of years are thrilling. You look at West Virginia, North Carolina and N.C. State, that will energize a lot of area here and we look forward to that. But I will leave that with Mike [Hamrick] and whoever they put on the schedule, we will be glad to play."
On plans for a spring practice game:
"Probably so. I haven't spoken to anybody about that yet. But I would like to let our players tee it up and let us and the fans see what kind of players we have in a game-type situation."
On the administration giving him time to build:
"They have been extremely accommodating in everything. We are happy with everything that is going on. We really haven't talked about much other than the press conference, but as soon as this is over, we will start recruiting and working to win championships. There is nothing more than winning for these guys beside me today."
On characteristics of Thompson's defenses:
"They have been described in some flattering ways and some not. I would hope that productive would be the most flattering comment. That is what we are going to look for on both sides of the ball. Unpredictable, unique and a little different I would say. We are going to be about these players and trying to get people stopped and trying to get in the end zone."
On his defensive background helping to understand offense:
"I've seen a different offense every week. I've seen what gives us the most problems on defense. I believe in a teaching progression, a system. But I believe in an adaptable offense that works with our players. We are going to be proactive in every regard on both sides."
On recruits that have already committed to ECU:
"We will absolutely honor their commitment. The first thing that I am going to do is talk to those guys."
"There are big-time football programs in this conference. I am so excited about being back in this conference, where I know a lot of people that I am familiar with the offenses, defenses and the personnel. Our goal is to win a lot of games, get ranked really high and we will be in a lot of bowl games. Not just the Liberty Bowl but a lot of bowl games."
On patching relationships with the high schools:
"I am not concerned with patching up relationships. I'm concerned about building relationships. I am concerned about us selling this program, our players and ourselves."
On recruiting philosophy:
"From what I understand, Jerry McManus has done a great job with keeping things going and in contact with some people. I look forward to meeting with him today and getting some feedback. We want to go where the best players are. First we want to cover our state. But wherever our needs are, that's where we are going to go. There are good players all over the country and we have to find players that meet our needs."
On going to junior colleges for players:
"For the junior college standpoint, you look at needs and if there is a player out there then sure. I am not opposed to that at all. We want to get the best players that fit in this program, want to be Pirates, help us win championships and will graduate. We want to win, but we want to get these guys to be better husbands, fathers and men."