In the previous blog entry, I only transcribed the question-and-answer portion of the news conference. I didn’t transcribe the beginning of the conference and the scripted comments by general manager Larry Riley and new head coach Keith Smart. If you wanted to read those as well, here they are:
Larry Riley: Thank you for coming today. It’s obvious by now that the Warriors have decided to make a coaching change, and it’s with great pleasure that I present to you Keith Smart, the new head coach of the Golden State Warriors. It’s been a time that we’ve had to do a lot of considering and Keith and I have known each other a long time, we’ve worked closely with each other. During the time that I’ve been around him, I’ve certainly become quite confident in his ability to work with basketball players, to understand the game thoroughly, and I know him as a guy who is not only a tactician, but a person who is extremely well prepared. We know that over the past couple of years and even beyond that, Keith has played a very active role as far as the coaching of this basketball team is concerned. He’s been very well prepared, he’s done a lot to run practices, working training camps in the past, and also of course has filled in as a head coach on numerous occasions. There’s no doubt in our minds that he’s extremely ready to take this job. He’s a person who is dedicated and I’m full of excitement about what’s happening with the Warriors, our coaching staff, our players and everything from top to bottom.
Having said that, we owe a debt of gratitude to Don Nelson for what he has done for this organization. I owe him a debt of gratitude personally, because all of you know my relationship with him. We wish him nothing but the best. It’s totally obvious that he’s the winningest coach in the history of the NBA, he has a brilliant mind for the game and that’s been exposed over the years.
But, what I want to do today, we want to focus on Keith Smart. This is Keith Smart today. I will be available to answer any of your questions later on, and there may be some that we get to right now, but we’re going to focus on our new head coach, Keith Smart!
Keith Smart: First, I want to thank everyone here. Of course my wife, Carol, we’ve been married for 20 years now, and she’s seen all the steps that I’ve taken and all the routes that I’ve tried to get to one day be back in this position. I think I’m here, not only because of the Warriors organization, but because of her support and sacrifice that she’s made with our relationship and with our kids. My kids are not here today, because we’ve always preached in our household about our kids being, school is first in their lives. When we told them about the press conference on Monday, but of them looked a little perplexed, you know, realizing that they didn’t want to miss school today. So, today they are still in school right now. But my wife is here.
As Larry indicated, when you have a chance to work with someone, and not knowing that this person would eventually become the general manager of a basketball team, and never even thinking that way, but just doing your work every single day, preparing yourself, so having this opportunity with him being the general manager. From watching, having worked with him, watching him watch over what I’m doing as a first assistant when he first arrived here, so it made this transition very, very smooth because this is someone that has seen the work I’ve been able to do, how I’ve handled myself when I’ve had a chance to coach the team, run training camp and things like that.
As he indicated also with coach Don Nelson, he has an incredible, special place in my heart, as coaching me to become a coach and not only a coach here, but to be a coach in the NBA. And he passed those things along to me, giving me so much freedom. I had more freedom than any assistant coach in the NBA perhaps, to fully run a basketball team, run a practice, run a training camp. Again, that’s why the transition is very, very smooth, because of that transition and what he wanted to do for me as far as getting me into a position to be a head coach in the NBA. But more importantly, I wanted to be the head coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Also, you know, this thing went pretty quick. Managed to get a staff together. As I worked through the NBA and prepared myself through the NBA, I’ve always looked at other guys working out on the floor and paying attention, and we have all the assistant coaches are here. We had a chance to meet and greet last night and kind of start things. Jerry Sichting, he’s over there; Steven Silas, who’s been here with me a long time; Calbert Cheaney, who’s now going to move into being an assistant coach; and Robert Werdann, who’s going to also provide his skills and knowledge with our basketball team.
I’m excited, and I’ve coached here for a long time. I was drafted by this basketball team so I had a special place in my heart for this team. Unlike a lot of coaches who will come into this environment and want to coach here, I know everything about the organization. I know everything here, I know all the faces, I know all the smiles, I know everything. I know where the bones in the backyard are buried. I know everything here. And that’s why I really wanted to be here and have the opportunity to coach this team.
My first and foremost job that I’ve had to do, was my job was to help carry out the vision of the head coach, all the head coaches that I’ve worked for, not my vision, but the vision of the head coach. Whatever it is that he wanted, my job was to carry that out. When I coached teams, my job was to carry his vision. Well, now you get a chance to understand who I am as a coach, you get a chance to understand my vision of what I want to do with our team and help it grow in that fashion.
So, I’m excited. I’m ready for training camp to start. The beauty of all the former players, our entire playoff team that we made it here, all communicated to me, in some form or fashion, with all the different mediums, to congratulate me on this position and wishing they were still here with me. That was very touching. A player that I coached when I was in the CBA made contact with me. So, my job as a coach, as a person, was to help each person I come in contact with to move one more level in their lives and that’s what I tried to do. For all our hard-working office people, I’ve watched you work as well and I’ve paid attention to how you work. I want to make this in my tenure here as a family oriented basketball team. I want to make it in that type of environment. I want our team to be that way, because if we can care about each other playing on the floor, we’re going to eventually get to where we want to go.
Every day I walked into this building, from the time I came here as an assistant in 2003, I’ve only had one vision. And when I walked through those doors, my vision went back there, up against that wall (where banners hang). So I don’t know if we’re going to be in a position to do that and put a banner on that wall, but I’m here today to lay the first brick in that direction.