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New UM Canes AD Blake James Speaks on Everything from Fans to Stadium Issue

 

MY TRANSCRIPT OF BLAKE JAMES TELECONFERENCE TODAY:

"I was thrilled to be notified today that I’m going to be able to continue on on a permanent basis. Having served as the athletics director for the last four months it was an interview process that’s probably been longer than most, but one that was a great experience and that I have valued tremendously and obviously look forward to continuing to move this program forward.

 I think we have great days ahead. We have a great staff, great coaches and I’m looking forward to bringing us back to the top and enjoying all the benefits of being here in Miami and being at the U."

 When you were given the interim tag, you said you had to get up to speed quickly as to where things are in the NCAA investigation. Could it be construed that when you did get up to speed, you still wanted the job?

  "I would want this job no matter what the situation was. Without commenting on the NCAA situation, obviously I’m excited about where our program is going and what I think the future is for this program. With that said, I think to be fair this is a job that I’ve wanted for my 20 years in this business and so regardless of anything out there, I’d be excited to be on the phone today representing the University of Miami as its new athletics director. It’s hard for me to answer that question because we can’t comment on the NCAA process.

 The ncaa investigation is not a concern of mine in terms of this job.. I look forward to helping our institution through the process and bringing us to the place where I know all our fans want us to be for ACC and national championships."

  5 ½ years In Maine, how did that help you prepare for this day?

"It was a huge benefit. The Univ of Maine program is a big part of the state of Maine. So to be able to sit in this chair for five years, and while the AP wasn’t necessarily covering everything going on, the television stations, the radio outlets, the media markets there followed the news of the Maine athletic program very closely. So to have those challenges that all of my counterparts around the country face on a daily basis, to be able to handle those for 5 ½ years gave me the necessary experience to step into this one, where the spotlight is probably greater and the magnifying glass is probably greater than any other program in the country. But again, I’ve had the benefit of having to deal with very similar issues for five-plus year."

What were you expecting when you came back from Maine?

"It’s funny you asked that question. I was texting with Kirby Hocutt earlier today. Kirby is the one who brought me back here. As I said to Kirby, when I took the job here I hoped this day would come. I wasn’t looking for this to be a stepping stone to somewere else. I really took it with the idea that someday I’d be sitting in this chair. I didn’t imagine the path that I would follow to get her but again, this was the job I came here for. And if it wasn’t something that worked out, I wanted to be in the Miami market. I wanted my kids to be able to grow up in this community and be a part of the community here. My wife and I really enjoy living in South Florida and this is where we wanted to be. I’m thrilled the opportunity worked out for me a little over two years later to be in the athletic director’s role."

Is there anything you can say about the baseball team and Biogenesis clinic and if you’ve been approached by MLB?

 “I would defer to our comment on our situation yesterday. As we’ve said before, there’s an ongoing investigation with that situation and I wouldn’t comment beyond that."

 Anything you’d like to instill that you did at maine that you look forward to doing as an AD? Something we haven’t seen? Or status quo?

"I think things are always changing. So I wouldn’t say there’s anything particular at Maine – different places, different programs. We need to win acc championships. All of us can look and see how many we’ve won and say, we need to win more than what we’re winning and so to do that, we need to provide our coaches with the resources and support they need to be their very best and our student-athletes with the support they need to be their very best. Without getting into real specifics, those are the things we need to do. I’m confident that with the group of coaches we have here that we’ll be able to bring ACC championships back to Coral Gables.

 "If you’re winning championships in the ACC, then you’re in the position to win national championships in any of those sports. I think that’s ultimately what we want the goal to be. We need to be winning championships. I think those days are coming in the future. Obviously we have a great ride going in men’s basketball right now and we’re excited where Coach Larranaga has that program. We’ll continue to do what we need to do to have all of our programs in a similar position."   

 On being the permanent AD:

"The way I look at it is when I took over on Oct. 4 I was in the role of the athletic director and it was important for me at that point to be in the role of athletic director and do the things that I felt we needed to do as a program. Because if we’re standing still and I was just there to, I guess, keep the boat from steering off path, then I wasn’t doing the job and I don’t think I would have put myself in the position to have this opportunity now today. So I don’t think there’s anything in particular that I would do differently than what I’ve done in the past other than I think I’ll be a little more aggressive in terms of really setting up a long-term strategic plan for where we’re going to go.

You don’t want to establish a long-term strategic plan unless you really plan on being somewhere long term, and I would tell everyone I plan on being here very long term and many great days ahead at the U."

 I know you’re very much in touch with the fans and the community and people are happy about that. How important do you think that is for an AD?

"In my opinion I think it’s something that’s critical. For us to be in communication with the fans is something that I feel as a program we need to do. Again, credit to our communication staff. I think they do a good job of getting info out. I think they do a good job of pushing me to get info out. Additionally, I think it’s a situation where when you look at the U of M, we don’t have the ability to just go out and raise dollars by saying, hey send your ticket invoice in along with your donation, and thank you.’ It’s something where I think we have to get very aggressive. You hear people use the Canes Family slogan quite a bit and I think in many ways that’s true. We’re a small private school, we’re a family in many ways and everyone is important in the family. So as the head of the family it’s important for me, in my opinion, to have a real open line of communication and a real open access to all members.

So, whether it’s the person that has been with the program forever and maybe is writing a big check or a person who is new to the program writing a big check that they’re there. At the same time, maybe the person who can’t afford to write a check at all and wants just to buy tickets or come out. You know having them have access also. Obviously you can only talk to so many people in a day, or tweet, or email, but to me, it’s important that I’m as accessible to as many as possible and that includes everyone on the call and I hope you guys continue to feel that way."

Baseball and NCAA stuff: Has the NCAA opened up an investigation or are they just monitoring?

"What I would say is we’re doing our part with the investigation. I wouldn’t be able to comment on what the ncaa is or isn’t doing, that’s something they determine... from our side we’re addressing the issue and looking into it and moving forward and beyond that I wouldn’t be able to speculate on what the NCAA is or isn’t doing."

Re the Interview process, how many times did you sit down with interviewers?

  "On Oct. 4 president Shalala notified me that I was going to be serving as the acting athletic director and really for me the interview process began on that day. Over the last four months and four days I guess there have been a number of situations that are real-life situations. Many times you try to play out interviews and try to present scenarios in interviews.  The benefit for president Shalala here was she got to see how I responded in those situations. So at the end, yes, there was a formal interview process but really the interview was a 4 month and 4 day process, not a one day and one meeting process."

 Do you plan to stay long term?

"I plan to be here as long as they’ll have me here. This is where my wife and I wanted to be. This is where we wanted to raise our children. And this is the job that I’ve always wanted. My plan is that I’ll be here until I retire. I’m hoping that’s a good 20 years down the road. I’m 43 right now, so 63, 65 – I guess I’d like to get at least to that point and beyond that I think it would just be an enjoyable ride to the end. I have no intentions of leaving.

When I took this job with Kirby my hope was that at some point Kirby would decide it was right for him to move on and this opportunity would present itself. I wouldn’t have predicted the timeline or the path to get here, but this was the one that I wanted.

I haven’t signed, finalized the agreement yet, but it will be a five year deal."

Was there any point you felt uneasy, like you were making decisions and walking on eggshells almost as if you were auditioning while trying to lead at the same time? How did you balance that?

 "In college athletics, you’re on the stage everyday. And whether it’s for four months, you never know when the end is going to come. I think it’s very similar to what coaches do. This isn’t a job you get and you have it from 7 to 3:30 and you punch in and punch out and take an hour for lunch and operate that way. This is a job that goes nonstop. You don’t know when the calls are going to come or when the events are going to happen and it’s something you just have to be ready to go at. I looked at it on oct. 4 as the job was starting on that day and I felt if I did everything that I needed to do and I knew I could do that this day would happen. It was hard for me to predict when that would be, but I’m happy that it happened today and if wasn’t until four more months I would have continued to operate as I have been for the past four months. I guess I will say, though, that I’m thrilled that it became a more permanent situation today, but those are things than can change. You have to continue to make good decisions and lead the program to where it needs to go."

 Who is the new UM RBs coach?

"I don’t think we’ve determined that yet but I know we’re working on that and I’m sure we’ll get it finalized here real soon."

When is an on-campus football stadium going to be built?

 "In all seriousness, as I said before, there isn’t anyone who would enjoy an on-campus stadium more than I would, but it’s not a realistic situation to even discuss. We don’t have the land for it, and if we did have the land, there just isn’t the infrastructure in this place. We’re playing in a first-rate facility that is in the process of only getting better and I’m confident that we’re putting our student-athletes into a premier facility in the country and with the new additions we’re going to put our fans into an environment that will be even better. I’m not going to say it’s going to ever create anything what the Orange Bowl was, because those were special days and games that I would go to at the OB but I think it’s going to create a much different environment and an atmosphere that will much more closely resemble the atmosphere we had at the Orange Bowl."

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

Comments

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He was hoping to get the job, loves South Florida, would like to be here a long time, has high hopes for UM athletics, and can't really comment on anything readers might find interesting. Excellent reporting, as always.

Congrats, Blake.
WHat a team of coaches and administrators has been assembled here in the past two years, it's really impressive.
The outreach to fans has been awesome.
I am in NYC, and a few years ago just trying to figure out how to join the Hurricane Club was very difficult. That's all changed. Their website is awesome. Blake tweets. And since he was hired, COach Golden swings by New York every year for a speech and a Q&A. (And, off topic, but Golden is hands-down the best football coach in America.) So just as a fan the U has readyy turned it around. ANd now we've got a true Cane at the helm of the athletics program.
Congrats, Blake. Welcome to the top of the U!

The article was full of spelling errors. You should be ashamed.

Calvin knows didilly poo. He was in band and played the skin flute.

FIU has it's own stadium. Nice place. UConn has a new 40,000 seat stadium in East Hartford, closer to Storrs than Miami Gardens is to Coral Gables. Rice and Wakeforest are small schools and they have on campus stadiums. These are just the stadiums I have been to in person, and all have a better atmosphere than Joe Robbie/LandShark/PRoplayer/Whatever. UM needs a new stadium. Look at what the BUC has done for basketball. Doesn't have to be on campus. Doesn't have to be big. Just has to be close, be ours, and have some flavor. Somewhere in S.Miami or Kendall or something.

That's rich...Gallo lecturing others they should be ashamed for what they posted.

Maybe Calvin will think of a really cool nickname for the new AD like 'Jamesy' or 'Blakey' ,so in the future, he can pass along some more of that brilliant wisdom about Football scouting, recruiting, coaching etc. I can't wait for another reference about 'Goldie'

Hug a root you Randy Shannon apologist!

As nice as the Dolphins stadium is, it's not on campus and will never have the true college home game feel for the Canes. Build a Stadium within 5 miles of the campus and the students will sell out every game. You have to make it convenient for the student body because if they have to carpool for a half hour then they're going keep going and hit the beach.

So the first and most important question that should be asked is: ARE YOU GOING TO FIRE DNO!! or NOT!!! Because if its the later then ...U DON'T care about the U... and stop wasting our time....

Jim - the students will sell out every game? Do you know how many students attend UM?????

Tropical Park would be a great site to have a home stadium.

UM today 2pm..cant wait....is in hunt for national championship....can get to the final four...kansas state, michigan, florida all are getting beat....watch out for indiana....

like blake said...no stadium ever really, 25 yr lease at sunlife with renovations upcomming. the city will not commit funds for tropica park and is impossible to fund privately....

last 5 yrs at OB - 326,418 avg per year
last 5 at SL - 310,383 avg per year

3,206 less per year at SL - not enough to change minds - UM at SL forever....get used to it

Good hire-

I agree with some posts-

Does not have to be on campus- maybe theland isntthere ( I disagree), but the tough thing to overcome are Coral Gables zoning laws with parking, traffic, etc.

Tropical park is a great idea. Bus the students over- 5 minutes. Buy land, build a 50,000 seat stadium.

All UMneeds is the cash (donations) to do this and a young, energetic AD with imagination-

Imagine if UM gets its own stadium- that President /AD would become a legend!

And THAT,folks, would bring in the recruits!

By the way- Emmert said that the NCAA self examination review was to be completed by friday and the NOI was also to go out on friday (which is over the 2 weeks he had said it would take). Deadline has passed- still nothing. They make a silly announcement on National Signing day just to hurt Miami even more. And still nothing two days later.

This is a vendetta. The NCAA clearly has it in for Miami. Miami lawyers take notice- this could bring down the NCAA- at least sue their pants off.

your an idiot 9>5>2....UM has to be quiet and let it die...I really dont think allens testimony adds that much....it only collaberates information ncaa already had...whats done is done....take the scholarship penalty and be done with it....UM already lost impact players so now any futile actions on UM's part is diminishing returns....

An on-campus stadium has nothing to with whether the Canes can draw a crowd or not. Winning will bring the crowds whether it is Sun Life Stadium or on campus? We are suffering from short memory as the fact remains that historically UM draws large crowds when they are constantly winning. This is true back when I was a student in Miami and games where played in the OB and certainly is true now and will be true if we were to get an on-campus stadium. The point being made about what the BUC has done for the basketball team is off base. The fact is that as recent as last year, the basketball team could fill the BUC even for the big ACC games. Now, they are winning and they are relevant in the national tournament landscape and so they are filling the arena. It has little to do with the facility and much to do with winning. Winning cures all, right!

Traz Powell, Naples ?

The high school football program is baaaaaack

They should have made the Marlins stadium football accessible also, so the U could have played on the same land, the same way Dolphins/marlins etc. However it only seats 40k.

#2. When the U wins, the games sellout, Thats a fact. South FL hates losers. The marlins games when the won drew 70k people, a record for baseball. Canes always have sellouts when they win. Win and people come.

#3 to build a strong fan base, and to fill the empty seats, every youth league from key west to North Palm beach over to Naples should be given free tickets for theupper deck for the non big games, that way the Sections are filled and these kids grow up canes fans

Way to go, Blake. You are the right man for the job!
Let's make a stadium atmosphere that rocks...and a team that rocks it!
Go Canes, beat UNC!

UM has about 13-15k students? You only see about a thousand kids in the student section at Sun Life. A Stadium on or near campus will give the Canes better student attendance (as will winning) and a much better college game day atmosphere. It will also introduce more high school students who are Hurricane fans to the campus and possibly give recruits a better college atmosphere experience when they are taking visits to UM. UM could use the football stadium for both track and soccer as well as hosting state high school championship games. However, I think a small private school like UM needs a lot of private donations to ever see a 40,000+ capacity Stadium become a reality.

I like this guy and glad they finally got someone who wanted to be here

if he wants to impress me he would say something like, we have to start looking to put ourselves in the position to have a stadium close to campus and get the ball rolling in a more competitive direction. I heard zo highsmith say on wqam pregame and he had a lot to say about a home stadium and whether or not he knows for sure is obviously unknown but he said money was not a issue it was changing the mind set from doing more for less instead of spending the money. in other words stop being cheap and lazy . it was kinda funny zo went off haha. but mr james is young maybe he can get something going once shalala leaves. either way we need consistency an i like the fact hes a fan friendly guy thats big . congrats.

952: Did I understand that U think the land is somewhere around campus to build a stadium? Where? The closest place would be near Bird Road. Near Tropical Park.

As far as the good 'ole folks in Da Gables wanting a stadium in their backyard: I don't think so.

Regarding the new hire: I'm going to give him a chance. But here's what he should concentrate on: Move the DC out. Then move "Goldy out. I've had my fill of mediocrity. Then move Mario in.

952: U think real players care about where they play. They care about filed conditions, but a new stadium isn't the answer to recruiting. Good coaching is. Funny how U overlook that, Sir.

Gallo,

Does your rare brand of insanity have something to do with what is in the Manalapan, New Jersey water?

The above post is in response to the following Gallo goof-ball quote:

"You’re the one that doesn’t know about business or football....you want to bet Arkansas has a total turn around next year? With the right team management results happen overnight..."

For some reason the post I am referencing is being blocked and does not appear.

Durand Scott is a star, best pro prospect Canes have had since John Salmons. And Larkin is the most exciting player to step on their court since McClinton!

man are you watching this...larkin hitting 3's like nothing....exciting. plus everyone is getting beat....florida....michigan...indiana....kansas...duke etc.....UM definitley goes to final 4.....they will win national championship if they keep playing like this....

I'll just get my 80's UM cane football fix from 2013 basketball team....fantastic

f...k support....the only support that matters is winning.....Um fans have it right....win or hit the bricks...

scott comes in from the left...larkin comes in from the right...both hit 3's..wow

Look at insane Swope busy calling people insane. Whack job u are. Gallo is a cane u GD FOOL.

Manalapan NJ? Where did you come up with that? Did you pay the Internet super sleuth Gregory Evans AGAIN?? Probably breaks your heart that I'm not Gallo huh? Not sure, but perhaps Gallo lives in Manalapan FLORIDA? A dumb branch swinger like yo-self wouldn't have any idea where an affluent community like THAT is.

who's making these decisions?

Ladies and gentlemen the 'INSANE' meanderings of the Curse...


"Look at insane Swope busy calling people insane. Whack job u are. Gallo is a cane u GD FOOL.

Manalapan NJ? Where did you come up with that? Did you pay the Internet super sleuth Gregory Evans AGAIN?? Probably breaks your heart that I'm not Gallo huh? Not sure, but perhaps Gallo lives in Manalapan FLORIDA? A dumb branch swinger like yo-self wouldn't have any idea where an affluent community like THAT is."

Posted by: Now Gallo owns your brain TOO

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Curse, you fat, ignorant, whack job, stupid lunatic...Thank you for the compliment of calling me Swope...I love that he drives you even crazier. Did it ever occur to you that there may be 2 Manalapan's in the big ole United States...? You f'ing dummy!LMAO!!!

Thank you for allowing all of the member's of this site, including Gallo and hopefully Swope, the chance to have a big laugh at your ignorant expense.

Your Gators sure did the Sugar Bowl proud! LOL!!! The worst attendance in the past 80 years, the worst BCS beatdown (upset) in history and Louisville just scored again against you overrated felons.

Seriously Curse, you made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yeah, i would agree, in order to build a stadium that will truly represent the U, the univeristy, and the city of coral gables, you are talking about some serious dough, at least $175 million , the most recent college campus stadium, at the university of minnesota, cost was $303 million and it only hold 51,000,,do Miami have this type of money,,,NO,,,stop talking about it!!

Congratulations to Canes hoops! They demolished the mighty Tar Heels by 27! Packed house, lots of celebrities. amazing performance by a monster teasm.
Love Coach L and what he has done. Go Canes!

UM is going to national championship....what a blowout..larkin and scott, tremendous...UM will play either arizona or gonzaga in the semi final..then plays florida or michigan for the championship....UM vs Florida....that would be something

Playing in an NFL stadium is fine. THE UM Campus is 1 of the nicest campus's in the US. Its not a commutter school--FIU is, and playing in a PRO stadium is a perk. When Miami wins, miami sells out....its always been that way.........Standing room only at games. Marlins also, they had 80k people for playoff games, u cant get 80 when they r losin....... This season will put the team back on the map. We are loaded at qb, rb, online, wr, TE, DB, Lb's, DE, Just need those DT's to come thru. We have alot of 3-4 star DT's at the soph and JR level so lets not blow this DT thing up....

Football is 25-1 to play for the title this year per vegas, they seem to think golden has a loaded team. Basketball is sure looking good to play in the final 4.....

Let the Canes lose one basketball game and Gallo will be calling for the firing of Jim Larranaga and replacing him with Frank Haith.

Seems like we are getting some good leadership in place.

no way.....larranaga is great...golden sucks...plain and simple....I was the first to to say UM goes to National Championship....zook u just cant admit when Im right....with the right staff in place...turnarounds happen overnight....nobody cares about the building process....all we care about is immediate winning....that the south florida way....fans today are not going to go through the "chralie weis" process....

simple...win or your gone..too bad, life sucks

10-0 in the ACC
19-3

Are you kidding me?

Imo the only team that could potentially beat UM is florida. Theyre that good

The U is for real.

Golden take nottice... The bar has been set
Minimum elite eight!

You were the first one to say the Canes basketball team is going to be in the finals at the big dance?

That's a brave and oh so astute prediction AFTER you saw the Canes beat North Carolina the first time demolish Duke and out last North Carolina State as the announcers raved about how good Miami is being the only team undefeated in their conference.

I'll bet you were telling your friends in Manalapan, New Jersey (please explain this to Curse) that the '72 Dolphins were going to the Super Bowl after their 14th straight win...Nostradamus!

When you say nobody cares about the building process you omitted...only those without the benefit of a brain don't care about the building process.

For you life must suck based on your observations and words of...ummm...ahhh...wisdom!

2 Request . 1. On campus stadium. 2 women softball. Some of you think they don't need a stadium on campus. Look at the Acc in general. How many teams in the Acc is a must see canes play that team. Maybe 3 teams. Now if the canes were in the big12 and had their on stadium. How many must see canes play that team.For me

UM has to get past kansas then arizona it looks like so far....they can do it but both those teams are tough..then either play florida or michigan for the national championship....but never count duke out either....next 3 weeks will get better picture..

What everyone needs to understand is Calvin drinks his own pee.

The Blimp shot during todays game showed alot of open spaces around the BUC, including the practice fields and parking garages, I see Money as ONLY issue, Gombine parking garages in the tallest structure CB will allow, Stadium and practice facilities configured to fit on the rest. Heck the Blimp shot even showed the Metro rail right there wich would make parking available stations. You think Madison Square Garden has spots for all those people coming there. Utilize the metrorail and it gets easy from there?

Combine and Cg (Coral Gables)what I meant

Turn U.M Baseball Stadium in multi-use baseball/football field. Don't need much infrastructure with students and Metrorail nearby.

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