The WSU student body met new men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent on Wednesday, and Bohler Gym was filled with students.
But before Kent came out to talk to the students, the basketball team came out and thanked everyone for showing up. Well, actually, Royce Woolridge was the one doing the talking, and he had a couple of gems. For example: "Good to see everyone come out to meet the new coach. I don't think I’ve seen this many people at a game."
Shortly after a few more jokes, he handed the mic over to one of the athletic department staffers nearby.
Kent was impressed by the student turnout for the event. Throughout the 30 minutes he was speaking, Kent hit on how important the student section can be to the success or failure of a program: "No program in the country -- and I’m talking about the tops in the country, like Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky -- can succeed without a standout student section."
Another one of his big talking points was that he wants to be able to connect with his team and the student body to build a better relationship between the two. To connect with his team, Kent said that the squad goes on a retreat every year to talk about everything and get to know each other. As for the students, he talked about going to the residence halls, sororities, and fraternities to talk to the students who live -- or are a member of those houses -- to get to know the student body.
As for actual basketball talk, Kent promised that the team is going to play a fast-paced style that will draw the students to Beasley Coliseum. He also anticipates building the program through "the process."
According to Kent, "the process" is about building the program by changing the mentality of the athletes and the fans. He believes that he can do this by forcing his athletes (and the fans) out of their comfort zone and into their growth potential -- a person’s ability to grow when confronted with something new.
Awesome Ernie Kent quotes and trivia
"If I’m a senior right now, I’m scared."
"I’m gonna be a fun coach for them [the athletes] to play for."
"If it walks like a Duck, talks like a Duck, and eats a Duck. It’s a Cougar in disguise."
"Embrace the process academically, and on the floor."
He taught Disco dance lessons from 1978-79…I kid you not.
And lastly, here are some tweets with some pictures of the event.
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