Quotes from UW president Mark Emmert and Todd Turner on the Tuesday annoucement that Turner is stepping down as athletic director:
EMMERT on the Willingham decision:
I'm sure people will want to integrate this with the decision on Coach Willingham and that's not the case at all. I am completely comfortable and confident with our decision about Coach Willingham and I look forward to him being our coach again in the fall.
EMMERT on the timing:
We've got a lot of things going on right now and Todd and I have been talking about it for some time – he's been our AD for 3 1/2 years and he's done a lot of good and important things at the university. If you remember back four years ago when I was coming in and had to make a decision about an athletic director even before I was officially here, there were a lot of problems in athletics – we had a variety of scandals and problems going on, and the program in many ways was in great disarray. Todd has done a great job of turning that all around. We also have a lot of other things that need to get done in the athletic program and for me this is a question of fit and for Todd as well, is this the right fit for him right now at this stage in his career and we concluded that it would be better for the university and for the program to make a change. If you're going to do that, you might as well do it. There's no point in waiting around and dealing with it later. There's nothing special about this date, it was just the time that we reached agreement on this.
EMMERT on what needs to be done:
People have to understand that I have great respect for Todd, I consider him a good friend and someone who I enjoy and I hope we get to continue to do that – we have a very good working relationship and we always have. The challenge with all of these very high-profile jobs is finding the right fit with the program, with the university, with the community, with the philosophical direction that you want to go with the program, I think that has all worked very well with Todd for the past three years and now there's some other things that we have to focus our attention on too. There's a lot of development issues that we've got to get done, there's a lot of issues around building a football stadium, there are any number of different things that we have to do -- Todd is a great guys at doing many of those things but having the right person in the right place that's the right fit with the community and where we are, I think is a challenge and we're going to work on that.
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EMMERT on if this appeased those who wanted Willingham fired:
If people are looking at this as a tip of the hat in that direction, I don't do that. That would be an incredibly inappropriate thing to do. ... The boosters and supporters of the UW, they support the university, they don't lean on us.
EMMERT on the AD search:Where we go from here now is I'll sit down with some of the coaches and the staff people and academic athletic advisory committee, all of the appropriate groups and talk about the kinds of attributes and characteristics we want in the next athletic director and then we'll go our and find one.
EMMERT on the search timeline:
I don't have one yet. The fact is we want to make sure we get the exactly right person with all of the right attributes that we want to bring and we're going to do that right not just fast. But ideally you want to do that as expeditiously as you can. Hopefully some time in the spring.
TURNER on what changed:
It's not so much what changed in my eyes, it's what changed in his eyes. I'm the same person I was when I came here. I have 32 years of experience in Division I athletics at five universities. My knowledge of the intricacies is – at least from an experiential standpoint _ as long as anyone's that I know of. It's really a product of my age as much as anything else. I'm the same person with the same values and may even some improved management skills that I was when I was hired three and a half years ago. And the university has moved away from that as far as what they need from someone in that position, then that's not my decision and I can respect it even if I might disagree with it.
TURNER on UW's athletic success:
And we've won national championship and we've won Pac-10 championships since I've been here. Have we won as many as any of us would have liked? No. But that's the crowning jewel in any athletic program is the ability to do all the things right in business and ins student success and student experience and include in that some high levels of performance. And it's not as if we haven't had them. We've been to two (Sweet) 16s, we won two national championships, we've had national champions as individuals,w we've had coaches of the year. There have been a lot of good things that have happened at Washington competitive. Have we won as many football games as we would have liked? Absolutely not. But rebuilding that is a process that takes a lot of time. There are no magic bullets. … I have every confidence that the building blocks are in place for the next athletics director and for the staff that exists here now to begin to enjoy some competitive success, particularly in football.
TURNER on what he learned while advocating for Tyrone Willingham to keep his job:I learned a lot about myself and about the institution and my collogues and the leadership and the support group during that last two or three months. I learned a lot and I can understand why -- if what I learned is true – there are some people that think I might not be the best fit at Washington. But I can't speak to what other people think about my fit. I can only say that entered into my thinking about whether I should be here.
TURNER on the university comitting to Willingham for only one more season:
We ended up in one accord of where we were with our football program and our expectations. That's no surprise to Tyrone.
TURNER on his role until Jan. 31:
I'm not going to making huge policy decisions. I will certainly be involved in facilitating them, but those decisions are something I won't be accountable for so there is no logic that would have me making them.
TURNER on the Husky Stadium renovation plan:
It's gone exactly as planned. We've not asked one person for one nickel regarding that football stadium – by plan. And the president has been with me 100 percent all along the way in that regard.
TURNER on his comments about Oregon having passed UW in certain ways:
I think some of our fans didn't like those things. It wasn't meant to be disrespectful to what we're doing or to highlight anybody else. It's just the fact. We've got to get better and there are people in our own league who are investing in their programs and doing things to give them a chance to take the leg up on us. We've got to respond to that.
TURNER on what made him decide to go:
I don't think there was any one thing. I think it just came to the realization there's too much controversy in the air. It's taken a lot of the fun out of it for me. It's made it very difficult on the president. I'm at a point in my career where I don't have to be an athletic director to be happy or be successful.
TURNER on if he knows what he'll do next:
No. That's going to be exciting to figure that out. I told the staff (Tuesday) morning … my heart has always been in intercollegiate athletics and I sound like a broken record when I talk about our mission and what we're really all about. And I would expect that whatever I do, whether it be specifically in intercollegiate athletics or even something related to it will likely have something related to my passion.
TURNER on what he's proud of:
First and foremost, I think we returned to our athletic staff a sense of unity and pride and mutual commitment. … I could be totally wrong about that, but I think they feel like this has been a good place to work. So I would say that is first and foremost. … The second thing is I think we have regained some of what may have been lost in terms of respect from some of the university's internal community: faculty, support staff, university leadership, regents, etc.
TURNER on UW winning in football:
Our ability to win is based upon the context of the time and if it's a likely expectation. I think it is now and I think if we continue to invest in it winning is going to take care of itself. … I just know that at every place I've been, winning has been paramount, along with the student-athlete experience. And they're not mutually exclusive.