April 9, 2012

A perspective on the hire

Two individuals directly affected by and involved in the recent men's basketball coaching turnover at TCU are Horned Frogs' athletic director Chris Del Conte and junior forward Garlon Green.

Both were in attendance, for obvious reasons, as TCU unveiled its newest member of the Frogs' coaching staff on Monday with the announcement and presentation of Trent Johnson.

In his opening remarks, Del Conte let it be known TCU and those charged with replacing departed Jim Christian, who left the Frogs after four years for the head coaching vacancy at Ohio, had choosing a grizzled veteran with an exemplary track record and an ability to recruit with the bst in the country at the forefront of the coaching search.

"We looked no further than our football program," Del Conte said when discussing which traits he desired in a candidate.

"In our history, we went from the up-and-coming great next head coach and we went from the great up-and-coming mid-major coach. Our two success programs we have ever had, states of success, have been battle-tested. One from Oklahoma State in Killer and one from Oklahoma in Coach Tubbs and that's what we really focused on."

Johnson has plenty of head coaching experience with stops at Nevada and Stanford before his most recent stint at LSU, where he took the Tigers to the NCAA tournament and was named SEC Coach of the Year in his first season.

"We wanted someone to go to war," Del Conte said. "And once I found out there was an opportunity there we jumped on it."

Del Conte said he had to "do a little recruiting" and spoke with some of the brightest minds in college basketball, including some of the NCAA's top coaches to and in turned hired someone who has "built a program from the bottom up" and someone who "took over a program nobody ever thought would be successful and turned it into a winner."

Del Conte and the rest of the group in charge acted swiftly to fill the open position, needing just five days to get a tentative deal done as Del Conte said the parties agreed in principal on Friday.

Player's perspective

TCU junior forward Garlon Green hadn't had a chance to meet exclusively with Johnson as of Monday afternoon but Green said he is somewhat familiar with Johnson's resume.

"I had heard of his accomplishments and his effort. Him coaching Brooke Lopez and at LSU," said Green, who was one of TCU's top rebounding and scoring options last season. "I have heard great things and heard he is a great guy.

"I've had a chance to see clips of his games last year and at Stanford. I like the style of play and it is a really unique style. I look forward to learning it and adapting myself to it."

TCU's coaching change was sudden and swift for Green and the junior said he is primed to move forward.

"We've had closure with this whole (Jim Christian) deal. It felt weird - especially for me," Green said. "I have been here three years and I am going to my senior year not knowing who my head coach would be and not really knowing what my role was going to be."

As for whether Christian and the team's current players have successfully turned the program around after making the postseason and making the postseason for the first time in six years, Green said he feels a plan is in place.

"I feel like it has started to turn a little bit. Especially the guys that we have now and I felt like Coach Christian did a really good job this last season or two here recruiting guys who are about winning. And we are still here," Green said.

"(Coach Johnson) has a foundation and he has a plan and he has the system and we are all going to be adapting to it as a program. We look forward to working with him and making this things work."

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