Matt Thomas was formally introduced as the new hockey coach at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. During the brief event, he fielded questions and set the tone for what’s to come.
Interim athletic director, Tim McDiffett, opened the press conference with a prepared statement. He spoke like a man who’s certain the program’s drama is in the past.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been through a lot in recent weeks,” said McDiffett. “And with Matt (Thomas) here today, we are officially turning the page to what we think is going to be a bright future for Seawolf hockey.”
McDiffett also ran down some of the reasons Thomas was chosen.
For one, Thomas has a proven background. And as solid as his coaching pedigree is, McDiffett praised him for being a better human.
McDiffett was a bit glib, noting that student athletes would enjoy playing for Thomas, while he hopes opponents feel just the opposite.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – McDiffett thinks Thomas can act as a positive branch to the alumni, boosters, and fans. Bringing harmony among all of those sectors hasn’t been done properly in recent years.
Thomas made one thing clear during his time at the microphone: he wants to win.
“The expectations from myself, the staff, the players, and the program are going to be high,” said Thomas.
This was a chance for Thomas to bargain for a grace period. He could have told us how much work needs to be done to turn the team around. He could have asked for patience.
Instead, he emphasized that his immediate goal is to win.
Thomas doesn’t look at the situation as an extended rebuilding project. He’s aiming to kick his tenure off with a plus .500 season. He said he’s never been a part of a losing campaign, and is determined to keep it that way.
To do this, one must have a plan. And according to Thomas, he does.
He hasn’t been able to meet most of the current roster. He thinks it’s important that he takes care of everything on his end first before starting that phase. But when that time comes, he says he has a plan for how it will go down.
Addressing what it takes to stabilize a program going through so much change, Thomas said – that’s right – he has a plan.
Details about these plans were scarce, but Thomas did reveal how he’ll utilize a team full of players he feels are hard workers.
“What I can do is come in and maybe refocus their energy into an area that’s going to help us have some success right away,” said Thomas.
Surprisingly, Thomas’ optimism grew after doing his homework and evaluating a portion of the club’s 2012-13 season.
“I don’t think there’s a huge step to take; I think there’s an important step to take,” said Thomas.
It may be a somewhat vague assertion, but it’s not a shy one. Thomas believes these players are one crucial step away from being winners, and he’s confident he’s the man who can help them take it.
The entire press conference can be viewed on GoSeawolves.com.