Transcript from Jake Boss Jr. Press Conference
July 2, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Our leadoff hitter today is representing the Board of Trustees for our opening statement is Faylene Owen.
FAYLENE OWEN: Hi, everybody...Before we begin, I would like for everyone to put their hands together and clap for the greatest athletic director we've had since Ron Mason, and I want to tell you that what a wonderful job he did hiring this wonderful Jake Boss. We're so happy that you did this. (Applause)
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, let me say we're thrilled to have Jake Boss here. And we know he's going to enjoy very much being part of our athletic team with all our other great coaches. And we're very excited also to have his dad, a very famous coach, and his whole family. So on behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you so much for becoming part of our team. Anything we can ever do, just call on us.
THE MODERATOR: Second today is our 18th athletic director Mark Hollis.
MARK HOLLIS: Good morning. Welcome. I'm very excited today to be introducing to you our next head baseball coach here at Michigan State.
Baseball is our first sport at Michigan State, 125 years ago this spring. It will be part of our celebration as we move forward. Something we're looking forward to, which makes it not a better time to be named the head coach here at Michigan State.
I'd like to thank Trustee Owen, thank all the trustees for the support they provide, and also President Lou Anna K. Simon, who not only gives me advice but will also be giving you advice, Coach, through the years. She's a pretty good supporter but also good with the advice on when to bunt, when to do almost anything. So she'll be throwing you the signs.
I'd like to thank Coach Grewe and all of those that preceded him in building and leading this program. Danny Litwhiler is a very good friend of mine. He's an unbelievable human being.
You go back all the way to Rollo Carpenter, who was the first coach in baseball, the first coach for Michigan State University. And so many people have done positive things. And I think we always have to take a moment to recognize them.
Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Mark Mulder, Robin Roberts are a few names that are very recognizable, but at the same time there's many people who put on the Spartan baseball uniform and have gone on to be contributing members of our society. And I've talked to so many of them over the past week, talked about what direction we want to go, talk about what type of support we want to give this program.
And many of you are here today, and I thank you for coming. But you are what makes Spartan baseball, and we're going to be calling upon you to help as we move forward.
Our mission statement is we gather and engage our community to teach, support and celebrate our student athletes in our quest for excellence. That's what we're about.
Along with that is our commitment to this sport, the sport of baseball. Old College Field, as you can see around us, is under renovations to not only help our baseball program but our soccer program and softball teams as well. It's happening quickly. The addition of the indoor batting facility was the start. It's an unbelievable facility, gives our softball and baseball programs the opportunity to train and become better and better on a year round basis. It's a great, great addition to this field.
Around us, next spring, when we open up the season, it will be a new 2,500 seat baseball stadium. You add to that the field that Amy (Fouty) and Bill (Ratliff) and their staff does such an incredible job on as part of the commitment to building this sport into a top quality, top quality program.
I think beyond, then, you look at our entire staff. And many of them are out here today. Each one plays a very, very important role in making not only baseball but all of our teams successful. You look at our strength and conditioning staff, our sports medicine staff, our equipment staff. Academics, the administration. There are so many components that go into making a program successful.
And Coach Boss understands that. When we look for a head coach, we look for somebody who wins with integrity above all else. And winning is not just on the field. Winning with integrity is academic, it's athletic and it's also service to this community.
Someone who deeply cares about student athletes, which is the core of what we do here at Michigan State, somebody with a successful track record as an assistant coach and a head coach, somebody with strong ties in the state realizing that the core of this team is going to come from the state of Michigan, somebody who has great connections with high schools, with colleges and with pro scouts. Not only to take our student-athletes and build them into the best they can be here but those that have the opportunity to go on and play professional baseball to have the knowledge and the relationship to encourage and develop and move those individuals forward.
I think, most importantly, somebody who has the capability of being a significant part of Mid- Michigan. Baseball is a community sport. And we're going to make sure that everything we do with Coach Boss takes this sport and ingrains it into Mid-Michigan and into the state of Michigan.
We've found all those attributes in Coach Boss. He loves Lansing. He loves Mid-Michigan. He loves Michigan State University. And he always has since his childhood.
He's had a successful coaching career in the Big Ten conference. He took a team that started the season 0 17 and held that team together, which is an amazing accomplishment on its own. They went on to win a MAC division championship, a MAC tournament championship. Went into the NCAA tournament, the Field of 64 and was named by his peers Coach of the Year in the Mid-American Conference. Amazing accomplishment.
He's an author. He wrote the book "Dare to Hit 400." I've got my nine and under team reading that book already, because none of them are. But we did go 16 0. And I was thinking about taking this job myself. (Laughter)
He has a father who was inducted by his peers into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame. He's an amazing man and just returned from overseas to be part of this ceremony today.
Together, the two of them traveled last summer to South Africa. And while there, they reached out to villagers who had never seen the game of baseball before and taught them. And with the support of some of our local community brought some of those individuals to Lansing and let them see American baseball for the first time.
I think that's an amazing story about the game and an amazing story about these two individuals.
Simply put, Jake Boss Jr. is a man who makes the most of every opportunity and is always committed to his student athletes and to his community.
I'd like to welcome his wife Cheryl, think two new playmates to my kids, Abigail and Jacob. And it appears there's one more Spartan to join us very quickly. Welcome back to East Lansing, we're so happy to have you.
In addition to Jake, Sr., I'd like to welcome his mom Joanne, a Hall of Fame mom in your own right, so all your friends say. We're blessed to have you here.
We've got baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, as a former corporate relations guy, there might be a Chevrolet around here, too. We're going to have a good time afterwards, but this time it's my honor to introduce the first head coach since I've been the athletic director officially, a great, great guy, he's going to do a super job here at Michigan State, our new head coach, Jake Boss.
JAKE BOSS: Good morning. It's good to be home. 13 years ago, when I started coaching in the collegiate ranks, this was the pinnacle for me. And everything that I have done from that point until now really was for me in preparation for this moment right now. And this is my dream job. This is my home. And for me there's no finer place, there's no finer university in the country. There's no finer baseball program than the Michigan State baseball program.
I'm truly honored and humbled to be here and to be named as the next head coach here. I have spent a lot of time here. I've spent a lot of time on this campus, and from when I was a young boy coming to camps here, we used to sneak on the field here after everybody left to get some extra batting practice in, when I was in middle school and high school and had a chance to work some camps for Coach (Tom) Smith, when he was here.
And, again, it's a real thrill for me to be not only back in East Lansing but close to my family and to share this experience with them as well.
Many people certainly have helped me get to this point. And I would be remiss if I didn't honor those people at this point. First of all, President Simon for your leadership and vision of this university and this athletic department.
Mark Hollis, his vision for the athletic department is another reason that I'm here right now. What a dynamic leader that we have and will take not only this baseball program but this athletic department as a whole to the next level.
And it's outstanding for me to be able to work for a man like Mark Hollis. Shelley Appelbaum, one of the most detailed first class ladies I've ever met in my entire life. Shelley thinks of everything down to the nth degree and really truly ran an unbelievable search. And, again, Shelley, thank you for everything you've done for not only myself but my family over the last week, and certainly in years to come.
I need to thank Derrick Gragg, the Athletic Director at Eastern Michigan University and Doug Dowdy, my sport administrator at Eastern Michigan, two first class guys and two very close friends of mine that, again, gave me an opportunity about eight, nine months ago and certainly did not have to do that but it was a time of transition over there and they handled themselves in a first class manner and it really was truly an honor and pleasure to work for those guys.
Eastern Michigan University is a special place and a place I spent a lot of time. I was seven years as an assistant and one season as a head coach. And definitely it was difficult to leave Eastern Michigan because of the people there. And certainly Derrick Gragg and Doug Dowdy are part of that. Rich Maloney, head baseball coach at the University of Michigan, a colleague of mine, very close friend of mine, I consider him a family member, and was fortunate to learn under him for three years and had some great experiences and we still talk weekly and just another, again, first rate individual. He does things the right way and truly I would not be here today if I didn't have the opportunity to work for Rich for so long.
Roger Coryell, the retired baseball coach at Eastern Michigan, gave me a chance about 10 years ago as an assistant and gave me my first opportunity at the Division I level and should be commended for that. Had a great career at Eastern Michigan and won a few championships there as well and just a guy that I owe an awful lot to.
Another man by the name of Rick Sandquist who give me my first opportunity in college coaching at Iowa Central Community College. He interviewed me over the phone and offered me the job without ever seeing me. And I didn't go out there. I had a gut feeling about the guy, and thankfully I was blessed that it turned out to be the right feeling, because just an outstanding individual. A true winner and a true family man and a man of faith.
My parents and family, you won't meet bigger Spartan fans than my parents and family. And I can promise you that. Certainly my parents being local, certainly very special for me to be back here and to be home and to have my sister and her family here as well. Just an honor and overwhelming experience, to be honest with you.
And, finally, my wife, when we do things in our family, apparently we do them big. And so my wife will be giving birth to our third child six days from now. And certainly it's been an interesting week for all of us and add in there being nine months pregnant. My wife is my partner, my best friend and couldn't be here without her.
You'll get a chance to see my kids running around here and I'm truly excited about the opportunity for them to be here at Michigan State.
For me, this is an exciting time in Spartan baseball history. The commitment that the athletic department and the alumni have shown to the new stadium project is tremendous. And the current players that we have here along with the incoming group coming in really is a talented group of young men. And I've had a chance to meet with a few of them. I've had a chance to talk to a few of them and will certainly look forward to doing so in the next couple of days. But it's a talented group, from what I have heard and been told by many different people, it's a great group of young men who succeed, not only on the field but in the classroom.
And I'm looking forward to taking these guys and moving forward in the history of Spartan baseball. I have been fortunate enough as well to speak to many alumni over the last week and the neat thing for me was to hear the enthusiasm that they have for this baseball program and this university.
And when you have your alumni on board and they want to be back and they want to be part of the program, it becomes a family atmosphere and certainly one that will continue to breed success as, again, we move forward. My philosophies, coaching philosophies and what I plan to build this program on here at Michigan State is relationships and trust.
Relationships and trust between myself, our players and the alumni that have been part of this program. And I don't think we can be successful unless we all trust each other, unless we have a good working relationship with each other and everybody knows where everybody stands.
And I'm a big believer in that. I'm not going to sugar coat many things to our guys and they know that. But at the same time they know that if they need me at any time I will be happy to drop whatever I'm doing and be there for them, because that's my job. And my job is to mentor these young men from when the time they enter college and prepare them for life after Michigan State, whether that be in the baseball world or in the business world.
Along with that philosophy, I think there are four main corner stones that we will emphasize as we move this program forward. Number one, academic success. Our young men will graduate and they have done extremely well in the classroom and they will continue to do so and I will promise them that. They will work hard in the classroom.
Number two, character. I want young men that are going to do things the right way. And based on what I've heard about our players, we have an outstanding group of character young men who are looking forward to working hard and getting better. But we want guys that are going to represent Michigan State both on and off the field in a positive manner. And we will continue to recruit guys that are like that.
A team philosophy. We need to all work together toward one common goal. I think it's no secret we all want the same thing. At the end of the year it's a dream of mine and a dream of each one of our players to be playing here in the Big Ten conference tournament and raising the trophy up in the middle of the field at the end of the day. That's the common goal. Everything we do from this point forward with regard to our team will be with that goal in mind.
And the fourth is career, and preparing for their career and enjoying their journey along the way. Not only their career here at Michigan State University, not only their career in baseball, but preparing them for their career when baseball is over. And baseball will end for every guy at some point, and they need to be prepared for that day.
But not only preparing for that career but enjoying the process of preparing for that career. This is the best time in their lives, and I think every one of us that has been in college would love to go back. I certainly would myself, because it's the best time of your life.
And these guys are going to have a good time along the way but we're going to work hard and we're going to prepare ourselves for success.
As a coaching staff, I can tell you we are going to work tirelessly to recruit the type of young men that are going to represent Michigan State University on and off the field in a positive manner. Student athletes that will fit that mold building into those four corner stones of what we think is going to enable us to be successful.
On the field we will play hard. We will be aggressive. We will try to impress someone every day who will see us for the first time. And that's a big staple of what I do and what I try to project to our players; that somebody will see you for the very first time today, regardless of where you are or who you're with, somebody will see you for the first time and you have an opportunity to make an impression on them in both a positive or a negative manner. And I want our guys to be impressive to people in a positive manner so that when people leave Kobs Field here, they will say that those kids play hard. They do things the right way and they represent Michigan State University the way they should.
Ultimately, our goal will be to get to Omaha, and I think that's the goal of every college baseball program in the country, to play in Omaha in the College World Series. There's stops along the way and steps we need to take, but it starts right now. When I'm in contact with those guys they will know that preparation for success and to raise a championship trophy here at Michigan State University starts right now. And everything we do from this point forward will be toward that end.
Q. For all the times you've dreamed of this during your coaching career, when you saw a 29 year old coach was hired here as he was, did you think this dream might not ever happen for you?
JAKE BOSS: Well, I can tell you I have a lot of respect for Coach Grewe, we've gotten to know each other very well over the last few years, but from a personal standpoint and I told my parents this last night, there was no doubt in my mind that some day I would be standing here.
And I'm very honest when I say that. There is no question in my mind that I would be the head coach here at some point. Now, whether it would be right now, five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road, I can't tell you that.
But I've envisioned this day for quite a long time. And I think when you envision something and you envision a goal and you work every day toward that ultimate goal, you truly feel blessed when it does become a reality. It's going to be emphasized to our players as well, that when we start dreaming of winning a Big Ten championship here on this field, we start working hard every day toward that goal, eventually it will happen. And I don't know if it's going to be now. I don't know if it will be five years down the road, 10 years down the road, but we need to start visualizing ourselves being successful in that way and at some point it will happen. Whether it be 10 years down the road, make no doubt that this team next year will be a big part of that.
And just like every other team and all the other alumni that are here and that have supported the program, that won't be just our trophy, that will be a trophy for Michigan State University and the entire baseball program.
Thank you very much for being here.
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