From The Couch – Tang Wins The Dang Day

From The Couch – Tang Wins The Dang Day

New K-State head basketball coach Jerome Tang held his introductory press conference today and to say he won the press conference is a huge understatement. He CRUSHED the press conference. He was affable, energetic, emotional, funny, and entertaining. He engaged the crowd and had them experience a wide range of emotions from laughing, cheering, and even crying during his half-hour introduction.

I’m not sure I ever recall an introductory press conference where the incoming coach got up in front of everyone and basically gave a motivational speech. Until today. Tang didn’t stand behind the podium when he spoke. He worked the front of the room like an evangelist would. It seemed like he’s given this speech a hundred times, but in reality, this was the first time. I was impressed. If he coaches as well as he commands a room, we’re in for a great ride. Here are a few quotes of note from the presser…

“The success at his recent roles at Baylor are impressive. A 2021 national championship, five sweet 16 appearances, and 15 straight seasons with 18 plus wins. And he knows the Big 12. At K-State, we too have enjoyed a rich basketball history, including four final fours and 21 conference championships. As you can see, we have a perfect marriage here.”…Richard Linton, K-State President, 3/24/2022

JM: There’s no doubt that Tang was a big part of Baylor’s success, but I question just how much we should give him credit for it. We are going to find out.

“His fingerprints are all over the Baylor program.”…Gene Taylor, K-State athletic director, 3/24/2022

JM: Gene Taylor seems to think Jerome Tang can recreate the rebuild and rise of Baylor in Manhattan at K-State. I hope he’s right!

“It’s a great day to be a Wildcat. My bad. Let’s do that again. IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT!!!!!”…Jerome Tang, introducing himself at his press conference, 3/24/2022

JM: Tang got some golf claps when he first said “It’s a great day to be a Wildcat.” That wasn’t good enough for him. Like a seasoned emcee trying to get a much better audience reaction, he screamed “IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT!” The Wildcat crowd roared in response.

“Three things. We’re gonna be tough, we’re gonna be appreciative, and we’re gonna be passionate.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: I’m on board with that.

“First, I want to thank the Good Lord….My faith is extremely important to me.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: This was nice to hear. Tang wears his emotions on his sleeve and he’s not afraid to tell you exactly who he is. I love that.

“When coach (Scott Drew) found out I got the job, he came over that night and brought with him a bottle of wine that someone had given to him in 2003 when he took the job at Baylor and they told him ‘I want you to drink this when you want to celebrate something that’s really, really great.’ Well, we won an NIT championship, went to Sweet 16’s, went to two Elite 8s, a Final Four, and a national championship, and won the Big 12 again and that bottle was still closed. When I got this job, he came over with his wife to open that with me. See, those kinds of ties, those deep bonds that take colleagues to become friends, to become brothers for life, that’s what we’re gonna do here.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: Scott Drew and Jerome Tang have a very special relationship. Drew didn’t pop that bottle of wine after winning a national championship. He waited until his good friend got a head coaching gig at K-State. That says a lot.

“We have to get players. And the way you get players and you get them here, is that you have great fans. Cause kids want to play in front of great fans and that’s what attracted me to this place.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: Tang knows he needs to recruit great players to Manhattan in order to be successful. He has also mentioned a number of times that the K-State fan base is what attracted him to the K-State job.

“So I learned this phrase…EMAW. EMAW! I get goosebumps when I say it! Every Man A Wildcat!”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: This guy is already bleeding purple and full of EMAW. I love it!

“With everyone’s help. With all of K-State family, Wildcat nation, we are going to accomplish great things TOGETHER. And it’s not going to take long. It is not going to take long. I didn’t come to rebuild, ok? I came to elevate.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: Emphasis on “it is not going to take long.” He said it twice to get the point across. I think Tang and his assistants are going to get some great players to commit to K-State, and soon. It was leaked yesterday that Texas assistant coach Ulric Maligi is going to join Tang’s staff. He has recruited some of Chris Beard’s best players at both Texas Tech and Texas and is known as one of the better recruiters in the country. This is a HUGE get! Things are going to get interesting soon, Cat fans. I’ve heard rumors of a few of the players that might be coming to Manhattan and if it comes to fruition, we’re all going to be very happy.

“I didn’t get hired to beat Kansas. I got hired to win a Big 12 Championship.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: A reporter asked Tang about beating rival Kansas and I thought his answer was pretty good. That being said, go beat Kansas, too!

“We’re not gonna get up for one game a year or two games a year. We’re gonna get up for every game. That’s not going to be our Super Bowl.”…Jerome Tang, 3/24/2022

JM: Tang seemed mildly irritated with the question about beating KU. The point he made is to try and win every game, not just focus on certain games. It’s kind of coach speak, but also true.

I’m pretty excited about this hire and Jerome Tang has been nothing but impressive so far. He hasn’t coached a game yet, so my expectations are still pretty tempered, but it’s nice to have a good feeling about K-State basketball again. It’s been too long.

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