Athletic Director Bill Battle is expected to begin at 11:00 Central Time, then Coach Johnson will give his remarks and take questions. Sadly, we cannot imbed the livestream, but the link is here (or copy and paste: http://www.rolltide.com/collegesportslive/?media=494476.) The conference will also be live on SEC Network and SECN+This page will be updated throughout the event, and we'll hit the highlights after the conference. In the meanwhile, kick back and relax.
For those on the fence about the hire, win or lose, you will like Coach Johnson's demeanor. Those expecting bland coach-speak and an uninspired presence are in for a shock:
In this press conference (following game 4 of the 2006 NBA Finals vs. the Miami Heat), reporter Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News asks Johnson a question about a particular referee call. The question could be perceived as a deliberate attempt to bait Johnson into commenting about the game’s questionable officiating. Avery Johnson attempts to have the journalist make this point without him having to actually criticize the refs. If Johnson would have done so himself he’d surely be fined by the NBA. The reporter attempts to avoid giving the answer he was initially looking for himself, chokes, stutters and chooses not to mention the referees after all. By the way, the refs did make some questionable calls and Dwyane Wade went to the foul line an astounding 97 times in that series.
NOTE ON SEASON TICKETS: I've received a few emails regarding season tickets, and here is your answer: Effective immediately, you can call 205-348-BAMA and place a $50 deposit on season tickets. You can also express your seat preference, although it cannot be guaranteed. Your $50 deposit will in turn be applied to the season ticket purchase when the final amounts are due in September. Roll Tide.
UPDATE: Battle notes that hiring is a difficult process: "Best available" was the mantra. Mentions several candidates were spoken to, but no names were released. CAJ reached out to Alabama during the process. ADBB said he spoke to basketball lifers and the reaction was "Wow," as coaches, admins etc. universally raved about CAJ.
UPDATE: CAJ opens by thanking his now-former colleagues at ESPN etc. Says it's as important to exit with dignity as it is to enter with dignity. Thanks the university, administration, staffers, BoT, and his family. Shout out to Wimp and CM Newton (as one does.) Notes that Alabama is a tremendous opportunity. Looks forward to promoting the university community (man, that's refreshing to hear!) Has already met with players, calls it a good meeting regarding his goals and the program's direction. Tearful thanks to his coach at Southern - his mentor and father figure. Earnest, moving stuff. Instantly tells EVERY RECRUIT in the state of Alabama, and their coaches and AAU teams, that we will build a fence around this state.
UPDATE: Program goals - much like CAG, maximize potential, comport yourself with class and learn how to win right. Name-drops Coach Pop, and says that only excellence will matter: "Play defense like the Detroit Pistons' bad boys, Play offense like the Bulls, win championships like the Celtics." Says that Duke is the standard. No one else. Asks for and demands support from students, fans, alums and the community. Says that everyone Coleman Coliseum will rock the roof off and that this program will go places it has never gone. Invites former players back as well. "buckle your seatbelts."
UPDATE: Re: recruits and negative recruiting/pushback. Tells it like it is: As an NBA player, coach etc. people will and do recognize him. CAJ says his pitch is that he will get recruits to the NBA and will help kids graduate in the process (He is not lacking in confidence.) First thing after the conference is hitting the recruiting trail with Coach Pettway. "It's not about mediocrity. It's the pursuit of excellence...We're going to get the job done. Even though Coach Battle blessed me with a six year contract, I said 'it ain't gonna' take that long' coach.'..."Roll Tide."