"Obviously, you all know why we're here today. I many ways, it's a very sad and somber day for the Rice Athletic Department in that we had to part ways with a man who has given his all to this football program and done so in a first class manner with a high degree of integrity. David Bailiff has represented Rice terrifically at the helm of our football program. Our student-athletes graduated at a high rate. They take on difficult academic majors and they compete their hearts out and did so even in the midst of a 1-11 season.
"That being said, we have high aspirations for our program competitively. I think after three consecutive losing seasons, it was just time to try something different. So that has led us to today. We will be opening a national search starting this afternoon. We hope to bring that to a swift conclusion, although I will say that finding the right fit for Rice is the most important thing that we can do at this time.
"We've enlisted the help of Turnkey Search (and) Gene DeFilippo. Gene was a college coach for 10 years and an Athletics Director for 20. He will be assisting us with vetting the candidates in the process. But make no mistake, I am leading this search. I will be identifying and interviewing the candidates and I will be making the selection of our next football coach."
On what he's looking for in the next coach:
"I think anytime you can get head coaching experience, it's a plus. I go back to a few years ago when we hired Mike Rhoades as our basketball coach. He had 10 years of experience as a head coach at the Division III level. That was something that, I think, allowed him to assume the mantel of head coach more quickly here than somebody that didn't have that experience. I'm truly open to all types of backgrounds and experiences. But, head coaching experience would absolutely be a plus."
On what his vision is for the football program:
"My vision is that we're in bowl games every year and that we're consistently competing for a conference championship. I think that we have the capabilities of doing that. I think we've got with this facility that we're in today, we're by no means done. I think we've got a great start. I think we've got an unbelievable brand first and foremost. There just aren't many institutions that can offer the academic profile that we can along with highly competitive athletic opportunities. I said this a few years ago, I think eventually, we want to be in the conversation for one of the New Year's Six bowls."
On if he has reached out to any of the names that have been mentioned:
"I think most of what I've seen so far is just pure speculation. There's going to be a lot made of my background and where I've been. I think it's logical for people to assume that I would have contact with those candidates. But, I wouldn't put any stock in that. I think if you look at who I've hired in my time here; I didn't know Mike Rhoades before I started the interview process for men's basketball. I didn't know Tina Langley as a women's basketball coach. So going back to the Stanford tree, we have plenty of Stanford experience in our athletic department. But, I don't see myself, and I don't think others see me as a one-trick pony when it comes to hiring coaches."
On if it takes a special person to come to win at Rice because of the academic standards:
"Absolutely we need somebody special. I think it's a challenging, but eminently rewarding opportunity. If you can make Rice a consistent winner, I think that's a feather in anyone's cap. It's not an impossible job. I think our success in the recent past from 2012-2014 with three straight bowl games (and) a conference championship sandwiched in between those seasons' shows that we can do that here. We're just looking for that consistently. And it is going to take a special individual to do that."
On what his conversation was like with David Bailiff:
"It was quick. We talked a little bit about Sam Stewart and then we talked about his employment here. Then we talked about mechanics from there on out. How we talk to the team, how we talk to assistant coaches. All of those things.
I think last year, at the end of the season when we brought Coach Bailiff back, I made a statement about our expectations for this season. Today was, in some ways, an inevitability. As the season progressed, it became clearer and clearer that we needed to go in this direction. I'm sure Coach Bailiff knew that when he walked in my office today."
If there is one thing he's looking for in the coaching search:
"Creativity, curiosity and ambition. I want somebody who can really look at the way things have been done here and question all of it. Some of what we've done has been successful. Other parts of it, not so successful. I really want somebody who is going to embrace a different mindset. I think with the basketball searches, we wanted continuity. I don't think that's the case in this instance. They are also two programs at different places during the coaching transition."
On if there is a chance that he would be interested in someone already on staff:
"Brian (Stewart) is our Interim Head Coach. Beyond that, I'm not going to comment on anybody's candidacy, whether it is an internal possibility or someone from the outside."
On if anyone has reached out to the recruits that have already committed:
"Coach Stewart is going to be in charge of that along with members of the current football staff."
On what the message was to the players and staff:
"I met with the players and staff today around noon. Coach Bailiff met with them first. As he walked out, I heard thunderous applause in this auditorium, thanking him for his service to Rice. My message to the players was (that) this is a difficult moment for me. It's a difficult moment for you. But it's most difficult for Coach Bailiff. He loves you and he gave his all for this program. So, this a time when you should be supporting him because it's most difficult for David and his family than anybody else."
On if there are certain attributes that boosters are looking for:
"Everybody has a different opinion. I've had people reach out to me with ideas on style of play. I've had people reach out to me saying that we need to fish in this particular recruiting pond. I've had people say to me that we need someone that comes from an institute like Rice. We've built a profile. We're going to stick to that profile. That's served us well in the last couple of coaching searches. As we look for key characteristics, we're going to match the candidates up with those characteristics and pick the one that fits the best."
On if there is a timeline for hiring a new coach:
"It's as long as it takes to get the right guy. That being said, we're in a little bit situation this year than we've been in previous years. We're in unchartered waters in that that we have an early signing period on Dec. 20. This is the first year that football has had an early signing period. I think what you've seen in the college football landscape this year is that there was more mid-season firings because schools want to lock their coaches up early so they have a chance to either retain the recruiting class that they had in place or to go out and find a new one. That being said, we're going to have to move fast. It's a highly competitive environment out there. I think if you move too slowly, you run the risk of losing Plan A, B and C and we don't want to do that. That being said, I'm not going to hire somebody just to make a fast hire. They have to be the right fit. It is really hard to undo when you make a mistake with a hire. We're going to make sure that we hire the right person and we're going to do that as fast as we can."
On if there was any thought of making a change mid-season:
"If I had gotten a sense that players had quit (or) that everyone was packing it in, then maybe we would have gone in that direction. But as I watched our team play over the last four or five games, we had opportunities to win each of those games. Our kids really fought and our coaches continued to try to get better. At Rice, we're going to do things a little bit different than a lot of other schools are. I felt that with the length of service that Coach Bailiff had put in and the effort of our players that we owed it to all of them to get behind them and let them finish the season."