Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday November 14, 2002
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a complete transcript of head coach John Mackovic's remarks at yesterday's press conference.
Last night, a contingent of team members met with President Peter Likins to discuss my leadership with our football program. The meeting of the team members and the president was without my knowledge. Subsequent to that meeting, President Likins called athletics director Jim Livengood to apprise him of the remarks in the meeting.
At 9:30, Jim and I sat down for approximately 90 minutes to discuss the situation and see if we could come to a mutual understanding, I believe we have done so. Jim listed items that were conveyed to him and we discussed them in detail.
I was forthcoming with my comments and listened to his reactions. He has assured me that a complete list of any comments will be given to me as quickly as possible. The genesis of the discomfort on our team most likely comes from comments I made to the team after our loss to Wisconsin.
On Monday following the game, I said many things that were inappropriate for that time and place. Most importantly, I let my emotions get control of me. The head coach is responsible for the leadership of his team. I have always placed high standards on my conduct as well as my team.
On that day and other days, I have failed to live up to my own standards. Just as important is that I knew right from the start that I was wrong in addressing the team as I did. I failed to correct the situation the next day and allowed it to fester for these weeks. I am sorrowful for my actions, and my inactions.
On that same Monday, I made similar comments to our coaching staff, which I have regretted as well. Again, my actions and inactions in correcting the situation lay squarely on my shoulders.
As one writer once put it, football is not ballet. Football is a demanding and competitive game that requires more discipline, hard work and sacrifice than any other.
While I have always espoused coaching and teaching in a positive manner, I have not entirely been able to discipline myself to achieve the model for which I have fashioned. For this I also have many regrets. Among other things, it was reported that I had told a player as recently as last Saturday that he was a disgrace to his family for the way he was playing. I have made a full and open apology to him and hope he can accept it.
This afternoon, I have met with our coaches and our team separately to express my feelings and regrets. I am terribly sorry for my part in this turmoil and unrest. I accept full responsibility for my actions and pledge to work tirelessly to mend any fences. I met with our team for about 90 minutes here, as you probably know, and I gave each and every member an opportunity to speak to me directly with feelings that he had, concerns and any issue. I don't believe that anyone who wanted to speak did not have that opportunity.
As is the case with any session like that, some things get back and forth; at times, it got off the track of basically where it needed to be. As one player said, if we were undefeated we probably wouldn't be here. That may be true; it may not be true ÷ and that responsibility is mine. I asked for an opportunity with our team to do a better job with them. Some of them are obviously supportive of that; some of them, I feel, probably are not as supportive. But all I can pledge as this point is that I will do anything and everything possible to restore the pride and dignity in our program. I intend to do that.
I intend to do whatever is possible so that our fans can feel the pride and see our team play with that same pride ÷ something that we have not had, and something that is my responsibility to restore. And we're going to go out to practice today. I intend to be at practice, as well.