April 12, 2007
Originally published in The Santa Clara on April 12.
Santa Clara announced the hiring of former UCLA assistant coach Kerry Keating as the new head men's basketball coach on Monday afternoon.
"Kerry Keating is the right person at the right time for Santa Clara, without a question," said Athletic Director Dan Coonan. "He will build upon the wonderful success that Dick Davey and his staff had this past season, and he will bring us to new heights."
Keating, known for his recuriting ability, most recently spent four years at UCLA as an assistant, where he helped lead the Bruins to the national championship game in 2006 and a Final Four appearance in 2007.
On Monday, it was all about the Broncos for the 35-year-old coach, as he was given a chance to address the media, coaches and students at a press conference in the Leavey Center.
"I am overwhelmed with excitement," said Keating. "This is something that I have dreamed of and something I have been raised to do."
Keating's story begins much earlier than his time spent at UCLA, however.
"This day was really a culmination of an effort that started for me on Sept. 8, 1989, when I decided to go to Seton Hall University," said Keating.
Keating would play one year at Seton Hall under former coach P.J. Carlisemo before becoming the team's video manager.
"I went there to play, but I really wanted to coach," said Keating.
Keating would remain the team's video coordinator until graduation when he went to Wake Forest as an administrative assistant for the 1993-1994 season. Keating then returned to his alma mater and spent three seasons as an assistant coach from 1995 to 1998. Keating then spent two years as an assistant at Appalachian State, one year at Tulsa and two more years at Tennessee before arriving at UCLA in 2004.
During his time at UCLA, Keating accumulated some of college basketball's top accolades. In 2005, rivals.com tapped Keating as one of the nation's top 25 collegiate recruiters, and in 2004, he was featured in a USA Today article about the rigors of college basketball recruiting. As an assistant coach at UCLA, Keating helped lead the Bruins to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a 91-41 record.
"It hurts me to leave," said Keating. "I'm giving up a chance to go back to the final four and cut the nets down and that should show just how much I care about this job."
Keating will bring his recruiting abilities to Santa Clara, and he hopes to utilize technology as part of his recruiting tactics, he said. The coach also discussed what he will be offering to potential recruits.
"We are selling a wonderful education here at Santa Clara. That is similar to what we sold at UCLA," said Keating. "We are also selling a work ethic on our staff that is second to none."
Keating also took time to introduce his staff, which will include only one member of the former staff. Sam Scuilli, 35, will continue his career as an assistant as he spent the previous seven years under former coach Dick Davey. Joining Scuilli will be 29-year-old Sam Scholl, who spent the previous seven years as an assistant at San Diego. Also joining the staff will be 31-year-old Lamont Smith, who recently spent six years as an assistant at Saint Mary's.
"I am going to ask a lot of my staff," said Keating. "They are going to work harder than they ever have before."
Keating also gave some insight to the playing strategy that he envisions for the Broncos and noted that he would stress defense with his players.
"There is going to be a commitment to defense here that will show in how we play," said Keating.
Keating said his goal is to have a defense that creates offense and also mentioned that his offense will be influenced by every person he has coached under.
Keating will inherit a team that finished 22-10 under Davey last season and lost six seniors. Keating will also coach five new recruits signed by Davey and hopes that the recruits and returning players will come together and create a team that can compete for the top spot in the West Coast Conference. "We are trying to do things here that have never been done before, because I have never been the head coach before," said Keating.