OMAHA, Neb. -- Greg McDermott was officially welcomed as the 16th head men's basketball coach at Creighton University during a press conference on campus today.
McDermott comes to Creighton after four seasons at Iowa State. He also coached for five years Northern Iowa, where he was an all-conference player and team co-captain. Northern Iowa is one of Creighton's rivals in the Missouri Valley Conference.
"I've never had anybody applaud for me in this town, so that's kind of nice," McDermott said, after coming to the podium to a warm welcome.
Bruce Rasmussen, Creighton's director of athletics, said he was looking for some key characteristics in a coach to replace Dana Altman, who was announced as the head coach at Oregon on Monday.
Among those traits: documented success at the Division I level; an understanding of Creighton, the Missouri Valley Conference and the Midwest; a passion and intelligence for the game of basketball; great character and family values; and someone who is a great teacher.
"I am confident that as you get to know Coach McDermott, you will see that he is an absolutely perfect fit for that vision," Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen said he has followed McDermott's career -- from a player at Northern Iowa to head coaching positions at Wayne State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and then Iowa State -- and has always been impressed.
Rasmussen thanked coach Altman for his 16 years at Creighton, adding that the former coach did a great job of representing Creighton basketball, as well as the University and its mission.
McDermott, an Iowa native, said it was hard for him to leave Iowa State.
"It was going to take a special situation for me to leave, and that's what I think I've found here at Creighton," McDermott said.
He described Creighton as a good fit for him, having been raised in a family that stressed core values such as faith, family and farming.
"Now my core values are faith, family and my team," McDermott said. "I'm not sure there is an institution anywhere that embodies that better than Creighton University."
He also said he has found at Creighton a commitment to athletic success. "We're here to win championships," McDermott said. "We're going to push these guys as hard as we can and do it in the right way, an instructive way -- try to get them to reach their full potential on the basketball court, while reaching their full potential in the classroom."
McDermott added that he is excited about coaching "the home team" at the Qwest Center, and praised the support Creighton basketball receives from the community and alumni. He described the Creighton position not as a rebuilding job but "a retooling job."
While he was coach at Northern Iowa, McDermott said that other coaches in the league looked at Creighton as a benchmark program.
"This program, this University is really a benchmark for all to follow," McDermott said, "and we have to keep it there, and try to take it to another level."
McDermott expressed excitement about the core group of players returning for next season at Creighton.
"We will work hard to reach our potential on the basketball court," he said. "I think when you leave a game, you will feel like you have watched a team that has left it all on the floor."
He added that he seeks to develop not only champions on the court, but also champions in the classroom.
He stressed a commitment to helping student-athletes "understand the value of education, the importance of the discipline it takes to earn your education, and what a proud moment that is for everyone involved when they walk across that stage and have earned their degree."
McDermott is 149-131 in nine seasons as a Division I coach, with a career mark of 280-195 over 16 seasons. He guided Northern Iowa to three NCAA appearances in five years at the helm. McDermott and his wife, Theresa, have three children, Nick (20), Doug (18) and Sydney (9). His son Doug will follow his father to Creighton and play basketball.
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