Michigan basketball: Top quotes from Juwan Howard's emotional introductory press conference
Howard breaks down when introduced as new basketball coach
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Thursday was an emotional day inside the Crisler Center as former Fab Five great Juwan Howard was welcomed back as the new head coach of the Michigan basketball team.
Here are the top quotes from Howard, who broke down as Athletic Director Warde Manuel introduced him and presented him with his own jersey at the podium.
You can watch Howard's full comments above.
"Last time I had a press conference in this building was 1994. I declared that I was going to go to the NBA. I felt like I was letting down my teammates because I didn't do what I came here to do, and that was to bring a championship to this university -- a university I cared so much about.
"Now, let's fast-forward 25 years later. I'm back. I'm back to help continue this Michigan tradition. I'm back to help continue this beautiful culture that has been instilled here before me and, whenever that day comes, after me."
"This is the second biggest accomplishment in life for me -- to be the head basketball coach for the University of Michigan. Some of you are saying, 'OK, well what was No. 1?' Getting a degree from the University of Michigan. That was my No. 1 accomplishment in life thus far. That degree meant so much to me as a man, as a leader, as a father.
"It doesn't stop. Now it's my goal to help lead a beautiful group that's sitting back there, to teach them the values of how important, how priviledged they are, how special they are to be a part of the Michigan tradition. It just feels so good to say that: 'The University of Michigan.'"
'I'm all in'
"When I get into something, I'm all in. I try to learn, try to grow with it and I try to give it my best and my all. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that are doubting the fact that I'm a first-time head coach. Well, you've got to start somewhere, don't you?
"There are going to be some moments where you're not going to always get it right. Jim (Harbaugh) will tell you, you're going to make some mistakes. It's a process. But I have that growth mindset that I always look to try to find the answer to help grow."
What will his teams be known for?
"A group that fights together, is all about team. A well-connected group. A group that's inspired by their play. A group that enjoys each other's success. A group that is all about family. Brotherhood is everything with me."
"I haven't made decisions on my staff yet. I've been talking, doing a lot of communication about, 'Who are those candidates?' At this moment, I'm not ready to answer that question, but I'm working hard to make sure I get the right staff in place to help lead those young men back there.
"It's all about them. It's not about me anymore. I want to be the best coach. I want to have the best, hardest working staff to give them all the resources that they need, that they can be proud of."
Michigan State rivalry
"You've got to give Coach (Tom) Izzo a lot of credit. His program is doing a fantastic job over the years. I have a lot of respect for coach Izzo. Coach Izzo sent me a nice text, congratulating me. I know that coach Izzo is extremely competitive, just like myself. I looking forward to have a chance for our team to line up against his team and, 'Hey, let's battle.'"
Fab Five banners
Howard was asked if he will lobby to have the Final Four banners from 1992 and 1993 put back in the rafters.
"I knew that question was coming. I look up there, I see those beautiful banners and I'm like, 'Wow, Michigan has a rich tradition. There's been a lot of great, special things in this building.' '92, '93 was a fun time -- Jimmy (King) can attest to this. We worked extremely hard to make it all possible, sacrificed a lot, went through a ton of adversity, earned every minute of it.
"That is something on the table that we as a staff, myself, Warde, Mark (Schlissel) will definitely revisit. When? I don't know. I can't make any promises. That's all I can say at this point."
Cole Bajema recommits to Michigan
"One guy, Cole Bajema, who I got a chance to talk to, meet, on the phone, communicate with his parents, sent my bio. I got a chance to understand them as a family and I know they were concerned with Cole's future. Cole was committed to the University of Michigan thinking that coach (John) Beilein was going to be his head coach.
"Now, Cole has recommitted. He will be signing his letter of intent soon to attend the University of Michigan."
'I'm committed to this program'
"I don't look back. I look forward, and right now I am the University of Michigan head basketball coach, and I'm committed to this program. This program -- as you saw earlier with the tears, sweatiness out of my shirt -- I love this place."
'There's only one job'
"I had like 20-something text messages that Coach Beilein decided to move on and accept a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers. At that time, I was preparing that weekend and leading up to the week to go and interview for the Minnesota Timberwolves head coaching position.
"I laid back on my pillow and I said, 'Coach Beilein just left Michigan.' I've always been asked by friends and also by family, 'Would I ever coach college basketball?' My answer has always been, 'There's only one job. There's only one school that I would look back and pursue at the collegiate level. That's the University of Michigan.'
"It was unfair at the moment that, at the time, I'm preparing for the Minnesota Timberwolves interview, and in the back of my mind, all I kept thinking about was Michigan, Michigan, Michigan."
He said the general manager of the Timberwolves understood.
"He understood why I chose Michigan. After they made me an offer -- they didn't give me a head coaching position offer, but they offered the associate head coaching position. I said, 'You know what? I respect you. I appreciate you. But my heart is with Michigan. It will always be that way.'"
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