K-State Introduces Mike Dibbini on Wednesday

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State athletics director John Currie introduced the first women's soccer head coach, Mike Dibbini, to the media on Wednesday at the K-State Alumni Center. The following is a transcript from the press conference.

Athletic Director John Currie
Opening Statement ...
"Good afternoon, and thank for joining us today at K-State's beautiful Alumni Center. This is a very special event right next to the venue that we hope will house women's soccer, the historic Memorial Stadium. On October 13, we announced that we will be the tenth and final member of the Big 12 to offer women's soccer and from that moment on the response and the excitement from throughout the K-State family and the soccer community at large has been sensational. We received applications for the head coaching job from 150 candidates and from countless more inquiries from sitting head coaches at all levels of US, collegiate and professional soccer. As you know we operate with the vision of creating America's model of an athletic program right here in Manhattan. The addition of the world's most popular sport and the fourth most sponsored sport in the NCAA is another step in that direction and will further the K-State 2025 goal of ranking among America's top 50 research universities. Every search for every position in K-State Athletics starts with a commitment to integrity. Candidates are evaluated to their fit within our five core goals and in Coach Dibbini, we believe, we have the perfect fit for the K-State family. Coach Dibbini comes back to Kansas and K-State after taking Cal Poly Pomona to the Sweet 16 NCAA Division II Championship in only his second year there. Prior to that he led the women's and men's teams at Kansas Wesleyan to 24 conference titles. He and his wife, Trina, are both Kansas Wesleyan graduates and are proud parents of Jada and Kadin. Like I said, Coach Dibbini won this job over tremendous competition. Our background work involved talking to former players, supervisors and other staff, whom all raved about his passion to teach, teach the game of soccer and his dramatic competitiveness and communication skills. He was born in Younkers, New York, and raised in California and educated in the Sunflower State so we could tell that Coach Dibbini was a perfect fit to build K-State's soccer team from the ground up and into a Big 12 contender. He beat an incredible field to get this job and some day we will be watching him lead K-State to a Big 12 Championship. Ladies and gentlemen please help me welcome all of the Dibbinis present today and coach, Trina and their children into the K-State Family."

On playing at Memorial Stadium...
"This facility is used 15 hours a day by intramurals, club sports, and the band practices here. We have to be really cognizant if we are going to also play our home matches here. It is not going to be a practice facility, because it is in use so much. We will have to redevelop our existing grass on our practice fields in our football practice fields into a practice complex for both football and soccer. That will include both actual grass and artificial. That project has been a project that has been designed for a long time."

On adding other sports...
"Well, it is probably going to be a long time. Sixteen sports is the minimum amount of sports for a Division-I school if you play college football, which we intend to play here at K-State. From the financial standpoint you are looking at a million to two million per team regardless if it were soccer or softball. From the startup costs, soccer is less expensive than softball. With softball we would not have a place to play, and if you say what is another million dollars? If you go up to all 11 of our coaches right now and take 100,000 dollars out of their budgets then we can have another team and it is not realistic to do that."  

On men's soccer...
"With the addition of women's soccer to eventually replace Equestrian it makes our position from a Title IX perspective almost perfect, and how much I love the sport of soccer I just do not see the financial reality for that to happen right now. As we have talked about with the new student-athlete welfare enhancements like our new additional nutrition enhancements. That is a new $1.2 million that we are spending this year. Next year we will add the cost of tennis to our scholarships so that will be another million dollars. Then another year after that comes a settlement that is another million dollars. So three million dollars of new funds going to student-athletes is wonderful over the next three years on an annual basis but it still has to come from somewhere and there is just not a lot respite in there. We do operate with no direct university support. K-State Athletics is very unique - we are the only school in the state in that respect. A very small percentage of our budget comes from student fees, and we are very grateful for that percentage but it is very small compared to the other schools in our state and those that we compete with across the country. Maintaining that fiscal integrity is important to us and what K-State has done throughout the academy, not just in athletics, is focus on the things that we can do and we should do them the right way at a high level. I believe that we can do that with our 16 sports."
 

Kansas State Head Coach Quotes
Head Coach Mike Dibbini

Opening Statement...
"First of all I want to thank everybody for being here this afternoon. This is my first press conference, but I will do my best. I am very, very excited to be here and a part of the K-State family. This is my dream job and hopefully my final destination. I look forward to meeting all of you, getting to know you, and working with you. First, I want to thank several people. I want to thank President Kirk Schulz and Noel Schulz. I want to thank Athletic Director John Currie. I want to thank the search committee for putting in countless hours. I really appreciate your time and the time that you have spent with me here. The feeling that I got when I left was very genuine and it was exciting. I want to thank my family and my friends that are here - my father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, kids, nephew, niece, dad, and cousin that flew in from California to be here today. Last but not least I want to thank my wife. You have sacrificed a lot to be here and put up with being a coach's wife - it is always difficult. But thank you for putting up with me all of these years, we made it. So why K-State? Obviously it is a destination school. It is in the Big 12. I am excited to start the program from scratch, to develop student-athletes with great character that are the right fit for this institution and to teach them real life. It is exciting to do this, to start from scratch. I believe I can do this. I have the confidence with my experiences to recruit above the level and continue the success that I have had in the past. I would not want to do it anywhere else but here at K-State and I am very, very excited about the opportunity and I am ready to get the ball rolling. Some of you are probably asking about the recruiting side of things. I think it is going to be an exciting time because recruiting is the most important thing right now besides hiring a great staff that knows me and understands me. We are going to have a first class program here with great student-athletes from the state of Kansas and hotbeds such as Kansas City, Manhattan, Salina, Wichita, and a lot of other smaller communities. There is a lot of talent out there and we are excited to bring them here and blend it with some national talent from the coastal states where soccer is very good and some, hopefully, international players. With that being said, I am very ecstatic to be here. My family and I are excited to be a part of the K-State family and we are looking forward to great success here with women's soccer in the near future. Thank you very much."

On the timing of introducing women's soccer and soccer in the region...
"Absolutely, it's a good time. Like I said, the Kansas area has a rich tradition of soccer, especially in the major cities such as Kansas City. With the [Women's] World Cup coming up this summer, there is no better timing than right now - feeding off of that, playing off of that, especially in the Kansas City area. That is where a lot of attention is, like with the last World Cup where we saw the Power and Light District with all of the cameras and the staging there. There is no better opportunity than right now.

On the challenges of being the last school in the Big 12 to introduce women's soccer...
"Identifying the right student-athletes and recruiting above the level right away. Right now, number one is recruiting the top Kansas kids available and getting them on board to understand the philosophies, and the values, and what we are all about. We want to share the vision with them. Then, attracting other girls nationally from the western, eastern, southern states and putting them all together. Recruiting is the very most important thing right now and getting out there on the grind with my coaching staff that we will put together - we will be very competitive."

On being competitive in the short-term...
"At my previous institutions I have had success rebuilding or basically starting programs over. Recruiting above the level is one of my strengths, using my recruiting ties, getting out there, networking, building relationships, reconnecting relationships - those relationships will help with the recruiting process with former coaches across the country that I have respect for and vice versa. I am very confident that we will be very competitive based on my experiences. I was told when I took the Cal Poly job that I was in the top conference in the country and that it would take three-to-five years. Well, in my second year I think we did pretty good, so I am very confident we can do that here."

On facilities and possibility of playing at Memorial Stadium...
"That is still a work in progress. I am visiting with administration still on that question and other possible plans. We are still getting together and making decisions on the field and the facilities. There are several options just like Memorial Stadium for the field possibility but we are looking at different areas too, as well."

On making a roster from scratch...
"When you are starting a program from scratch it is really important that you have a blend. You definitely want a lot of freshmen to help set the foundation but it really is also important to bring in some transfers so these freshmen can understudy and learn. Transfers have that college experience and not having that college experience becomes difficult when they do not have that leadership to help them and guide them. Having a blend at the beginning will be something that we will achieve. After we get going a few years down the road we will definitely be bringing in a lot more freshmen to have four year players."

On the values he wishes to instill...
"The most important thing is to have a great student-athlete experience, but you want integrity, accountability, responsibility. I want to teach them to make real life decisions on their own and to be accountable for those decisions. I was a teacher for many years before I was a coach so I think it is important for them to learn from their positives and their mistakes because that is how they grow as individuals. A lot of our decision making and our values are based on learning from your mistakes. We want to win with class, lose with class and have a lot of integrity."

On bringing athletes on campus ahead of the first season...
"That is a decision we are still working the details out on, working with administration on the future. If you are talking 2015 student-athletes, we are not sure yet. That is a great question, but we are definitely going after the 2016-2017 class. That started yesterday."

On scheduling non-conference opponents...
"I think a balance is very important. We want to get some confidence because women athletes in terms of my experience, need confidence to win. But, we will have some battle tested opponents too, early on, so we can learn from them and come back to see what we can do the next time around."

On roster size and number of scholarships...
"I believe we are fully funded so that is 14 scholarships available. It will be balanced based on what the needs of the team are, the positions and so on."

On his style of soccer...
"I am a very offensive oriented type of coach so you will see a dynamic soccer team that possesses the ball but goes forward. It is a style that attracts fans and we want the fans to enjoy it. We are going to get out and try to score a lot of goals but if we lose it we will defend together as a team and swarm to win the ball back. The outside back and defenders are going to be joining the attack. There will be a lot of transition soccer but also keeping the ball on the ground."