Whenever new coaches are hired, one of the most anticipated moments is when the coach meets his new team.
New Washington State Cougars coach Nick Rolovich did just that on Wednesday as his whirlwind introduction to his new program continued. And he had a singular message: “I would like to earn your trust.”
“I consider myself a Coug now,” Rolovich said, “but I do not consider myself in your family. I’d like to earn that right. This is what you guys have built. ... I’m your coach; I want to get in your family.”
The words offered by a coach in this first impression often get parsed, maybe unfairly, in the sense that we probably read too much into it. That said, we’re going to go ahead and read to much into it and say: This probably hits the right note with these players in this particular program.
Rolovich is taking over a program with a strong culture already, one that has been established over the course of nearly a decade and which has produced five consecutive bowl games. There’s no need to come in gangbusters and declare “my way or the highway,” as many coaches do.
And it says a lot about Rolovich’s leadership style — and confidence as a coach — that he doesn’t feel the need to assert his authority and demand respect.
Another thing he said that I found interesting: That this was the finest collection of athletes he’s ever had the chance to coach. Remember, he’s only ever coached at Hawaii and Nevada. Sometimes I think we overlook how interesting that aspect is to guys who come up from lower levels of the sport — Kyle Smith is in the same boat with the basketball team.
Rolovich is set to meet all of WSU on Thursday at his introductory news conference. It’ll begin at 2:30 p.m. PT.