Washington made its five new assistant football coaches — including Tosh Lupoi and Eric Keisau, formerly of Cal — available to Seattle-area reporters in a press conference on Wednesday.
We made several requests to speak with Lupoi after the press conference, but were turned down by the UW athletic department.
In lieu of that — and aware that the questions Seattle reporters probably asked were different than those we would have posed — here is a link to text and video of Lupoi’s interview session, courtesy of the Seattle Times.
Here is my online story.
A few highlights from the Seattle Times interview transcription:
On the quick transition from recruiting for Cal to recruiting for UW: “It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever gone through. It was a process that kind of felt like I was set where I was going to be there at Cal and when Justin (Wilcox) came over here and Pete (Peter Sirmon) I was the last one to the process to say no to this opportunity and kind of do some thorough homework for a couple of weeks of what this opportunity really was all about and what it meant and kind of got to a point to where it felt it was right and something you couldn’t say no to from what this place and coach (Steve) Sark (Sarkisian) represents and to be a part of this and that resulted in immediate competition of trying to go about it the right way and begin competing at the place I was just at so it was difficult. But I thought coach Sark had tremendous advice in that process and truthfully a lot of the individuals that were being recruited from the other place, he approached it of going about it the right way and at times backing off of certain guys where he had already established relationships with the young men that we were recruiting there and then I could kind of get in there and intermingle within the staff and doing it the right way and not making it about me but making it about Washington and all the things that this place has to offer. I thought that was great advice on his part.”
On how awkward the timing was: “It was. I’m a real passionate individual and I kind of doing all the thorough research and the homework about this place, for me making the transition felt like I had already done such thorough homework on it it was kind of natural for me to begin speaking on behalf of this place. I think that kind of shocked some families and some young men, to them it was a matter of a day or two of the transition and now I’m speaking on behalf of this place. For those first few days was continuing on myself and the relationship we had established and I think that was kind of a shock and looking back on it of how I would redo it or regret, that transition was so quick and for me it was a lengthy 14-15-day process of learning about this place where obviously I hadn’t spoken a word about it to recruits representing a different place where now going into the homes wearing a different Polo, it was a little bit shocking of ‘wait, hold on, we were just talking about Cal a week ago or something.’ Both great places, great people involved in both. As far as the opportunity there couldn’t be more thankful to coach (Jeff) Tedford given the opportunity to be there and all the relationships that I formed there and just it was an awesome place and I left for an awesome opportunity here.”
On the backlash he received from leaving Cal: “It was tough because of all of the great things that place represents. That was my roots and where I played at, but at the same time I think it was time and I’ve been blessed to have some other opportunities come up each year and this is one where I truly felt it was the best and something that I wanted to be part of and something, since being here, it was the best decision I’ve made.”
On Jeff Tedford’s reaction: “I think he understood and was always kind of been there and I’ve been offered good advice over the past year so it was kind of a quick conversation and I think at that point, I had already said no to the opportunity for some time so I think he understood that there was a lot that was put into this decision and it wasn’t something that was done in just one day or so so I think he was understanding of the opportunity that was offered here and the reasons to want to start something new.”
On how many times he said no to UW: “I don’t know, but it was a process for about two weeks. Kind of like all the places, I had never taken an interview anywhere, I don’t have an agent, it was something that just felt like it was going to be the place that I remained and that’s where I played and I had a lot of great opportunities and days there. So it was natural for me to say no. And then just talking to him throughout those weeks you realize what a great recruiter he is and a lot of great points he expressed kind of weared on me.”
On if there was an offer in his mind of what it was going to take to leave Cal: “To me it was about the fit and the people that were associated with whatever opportunity was going to come up for me and what that place represents. This alumni association, the magnitude of the degree, the tradition here, those were the things. It wasn’t necessarily about the actual deal and what was offered. That was more, kind of the content of what this opportunity offered is what most excited me.”
On the reaction from the people at Cal: “That’s my blood, sweat and that had a major impact on seeing what alumni or what stories were told, but it’s something that you move on and you find out real quickly who your real friends are and like I said, I have nothing but great things to say about that staff and the university and the opportunity I was offered there. I will never forget those times and am very appreciative of the alumni there and all my experiences at Cal.”
On rumors of getting a boat: “Yeah, I haven’t been on that boat. Maybe it’s a canoe or something.”
Earlier . . .
UW head coach Steve Sarkisian made introductory remarks about his five new assistants. Here’s are excerpts:
Sarkisian on Lupoi: “Tosh, quite honestly, has been a thorn in my side the last 5-6 years on the recruiting front. What’s the old adage, if you can’t beat him, get ’em to join you, right? It took a little longer than I would have liked, but we got Tosh on board.
“Everybody wants to talk about the recruiting side of it, but he’s a tremendous football coach. You look at what his defensive lines have done there at Cal in recent history. It speaks to the fact that, yeah, he’s a tremendous recruiter and he works at that, but he’s also an excellent football coach and I think we’ll see that here in time.”
Sarkisian on Kiesau: “From a philosophical standpoint, he brings a lot of similarities to what we do offensively, yet can bring some new ideas to enhance what we’re doing.”