NCAA Coaches' Press Conference Previews National Championship Meet
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Press Conference | Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa
Fred Harvey (Arizona): "We are really excited to be here in the final 24 of the national championship. It’s always great to come back to Des Moines, Iowa, the host of the Drake Relays and run another championship. We’re pretty excited as a program because we think we have an opportunity to have some great success here, as every coach that’s sitting here believes. But when we’re down to the final 24, you have a legitimate opportunity to do some things. We feel good; our distance crew is ready to perform at a high level. Our jumpers are doing a fantastic job and we feel that we have a chance to make a high mark here.”
Pat Henry (Texas A&M): "We have 26 athletes here and 9 events on each side, each gender. Of our 26 we have five seniors in this group. We have some youth and a little bit of age. We have some people in this group that have been on some good teams, so we have some people that can help some of the younger ones. We’re healthy and that’s the first battle, going into this thing is to leave the meet two weeks or two months ago, healthy, and that’s a positive coming in here. We look forward to this competition and look forward to this track meet.”
Mike Holloway (Florida): "We have 25 athletes here, nine or 10 on the men’s side, nine or 10 on the women’s side. We are very excited about these championships; it’s a culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and dedication on the part of the student athletes, my staff, the trainers, programs coordinators and everyone involved in the program. We feel very good about our chances of being successful here. I have a great group of young men on the men’s side and I think everybody with the exception of a few guys have been here before and have been through the process. On the women’s side, half of them have been here, we are a little younger on the women’s side, but again we feel good about the young women we have here. Excited about being back here in Des Moines, we were here earlier for the Drake Relays and some success there and treated us very well and excited to be back in Des Moines. I’m blessed that we are able to say that we have a great group of athletes that perform at a high level.”
Robert Johnson (Oregon): "We have 19 entries on the women’s side, 17 individuals and two relays. Then once again, always we’re excited to be here in the championship season, to continue to build on our success.”
Stanley Redwine (Kansas): "We have 19 here, both men and women, 12 women, seven men. We are excited about the women and the men too of course. Looking forward to every great relay, we have focused on them and some of them have really great experiences and for some this will be their first time here. I’m definitely blessed to be sitting next to these coaches and looking forward to our athletes performing at a high level.”
Dennis Shaver (LSU): "We’re always thankful and appreciative of Drake to host, and Des Moines here, and the things that you all do to prepare the facility and have a great championship. This year it looks like the weather will cooperate more than in the past, which is exciting for everyone, because it’s a fair for everyone to perform at a high level. We’ve got really good men’s and women’s teams. We actually have 33 athletes here, 17 men and 16 women that are here to compete. When you total that all up, we have 33 opportunities to step up in track and score some points. Both teams are healthy and we are certainly always looking forward to competing here in the NCAA championship semi-finals and finals.”
Robert Johnson (Oregon) on Jordan Hasay:
"Well, usually we learn from every experience we're in. This being an Olympic year, there are a lot of competitions that our athletes want to compete in. Jordan has big picture goals to compete in the Olympic Trials and so on and so forth. As for her competing in only the 1500, we just try to manage her as best as possible, not letting her run races early in the year and use her appropriately in the season. I don't think it was a bad thing for her to double last year because looking at the meet that was the best opportunity we had to win the championship. This year, I think our best opportunity is for her to do the 1500."
Dennis Shaver (LSU) on potential differences of this year's NCAA Championships being held during an Olympic year"
"Its something we really don't consider. The bottom line is from the physical standpoint is that we have had great success with our athletes in Olympic years performing at a high level at the NCAA Championship and going on from there to compete at the trials. I think a lot of it is the approach that the coach takes, the approach the athlete takes, particularly from a mental aspect. Certainly, we have had great success reaching peak performances at the NCAA Championship and then reaching those performances again at the Olympics. I think a lot of it has to do with the mental aspect. The one thing I can say is that our athletes come here to win an NCAA Championship. That's their goal, that's not a goal that we set for them, but that's a goal that they have."
Fred Harvey (Arizona) on balancing the NCAA Championship and the Olympic Trials:
"We feel at Arizona that it's a great opportunity. If you look at scheduling wise, going into the NCAA Championships then going into the Olympic Trials that is when you want to have your athletes starting to perform their best. We feel at our program that that is a big plus for us that we want to have athletes that are going to compete at the highest level. There is no other better recruiting tool than having an athlete competing at the Olympic Trials or the Olympics knowing that they are from the University of Arizona. That is the greatest recruiting tool you can have, especially if you are recruiting international athletes."
Pat Henry (Texas A&M) on his teams having edge with their recent success:
"I don't think that it gives them an edge. I think they think about it more than the coaches. As these guys will tell you, it's a start over each year. You are going to have some carry over each year, but you have to start over each year and the mentality of your group has to be developed each year. As coaches, we have to start over every year, its college track. We all do the exact same things when it comes to that Olympic athlete, but we are still college coaches coaching college athletes."
Pat Henry (Texas A&M) on how his teams this year compare to years past:
"We have a group that has been very competitive. They have matured as the year has gone on very well. I have been very pleased with this group, even more so than prior groups, just because some of them have done better things that we have anticipated them doing. This group is a good competitive group. What you did to get here is great, but you have to do it here, so that is the challenge. Making a mistake will be part of it and doing something better than you did all year will be part of it. It's a great competition."
Mike Holloway (Florida) on Jeff Demps not competing at this year's NCAA Championship:
"We held him out of conference, and we thought he was doing better. He ran in the first round (but) as he was warming up for the second round his leg tightened up. My thought was that Jeff, I think, made an unbelievable decision to run track instead of playing football, and he put a ton of confidence into me. This is one time where I have to put my trust in the Lord to have him run down the road. He's has a hamstring problem, and he can't run right now."
Pat Henry (Texas A&M) on the track and field rankings:
"I think the rankings are great. I really do. I think it installs some interest in the press. But it starts over here. As all of the coaches here will tell you its great to have those people who have hit it all year, but it doesn't guarantee one thing."
Mike Holloway (Florida) on competing at Drake Stadium:
"I think Carl Lewis said it years ago: 'Fast men make fast tracks'. I honestly think if we held this meet in the parking lot, people would run fast, as we have a lot of great athletes and great coaches in this championship. I think what I like most about Drake is the atmosphere, there are a lot of people here that want to see the athletes do well. It's a track, it's a fast track. Most mondo tracks are fast tracks. I think Drake University and the City of Des Moines have done a great job embracing this event and making everyone feel comfortable."
Fred Harvey (Arizona) on competing at Drake Stadium
The track is the track, but when you get the best people in the country and the best people in the world together at one site you are going to have great performances. One of the important things is that when athletes feel welcomed or important, like when they go to Eugene or come to Drake, you have media writing about athletes who ordinarily don't get the coverage like basketball or football. When you make a kid feel special, you are going to get the type of beating-of-the-chest type performance that we are here to do something.