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DeBoer Introductory Press Conference Notes

Capturing the comments from Kalen DeBoer’s first time in front of the Seattle media

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 18 Fresno State at UCLA Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Press Conference Notes

  • Approximately 200 people with the marching band playing Bow Down to Washington as they enter.
  • Cohen and DeBoer enter together with Cohen in a purple shirt and DeBoer purple tie
  • Thank you’s from Cohen to President Cauce, Chris Petersen, general football staff, students and former students who gave input during the search, and other candidates for the role.
  • During the formal introduction Cohen cites that DeBoer shares values of developing players on and off the field while bringing innovation to Montlake. Doesn’t go through entire resume but notes that DeBoer’s teams have gotten better everywhere he has ever gone while doing things “the right way” with character.
  • Cohen gives a giant wink to the camera noting that one of DeBoer’s daughters is a great softball player while messing up her name...and then DeBoer teases Cohen repeatedly over the next minute about it while she profusely apologizes.
  • DeBoer starts off thanking his family for all of their love and support.
  • He thanks Cauce and Cohen at UW and then shifts to thanking the administration at Fresno State as well as the fans and players who helped make this possible.
  • Continues by thanking mentors such as Sioux Falls coach Bob Young who gave him his first OC job, Chris Creighton who hired him at Eastern Michigan, Tom Allen who hired him at Indiana, and Jeff Tedford who hired him to Fresno State.
  • Why Washington? The community and how they fit for his family. “Program has a strong history and tradition. National championships...which is something I’d like to be a part of.”
  • Notes that he cannot wait to get to know the alumni who have paved the way and gone on to great things and they are always welcome to come back and this will always be home. Definitely an entreaty to keep the connections with the stars under Petersen.
  • Just as Cohen had noted, DeBoer cites integrity in his business and “doing it the right way”.
  • “The resources we have here are amazing.” Can’t wait to tap in to the resources and the support of Husky nation to give the players one of the greatest experiences of their life and that’s one of the biggest motivations for him as a coach.
  • “Sold out Husky stadiums are what it’s going to be about and making this a great homefield advantage.”
  • “Seattle is a world class city.” It’s got a college feel to the campus despite being in a larger city which is unique.
  • Notes that there are things called non-negotiables including being a family, being accountable to each other, and having a hard-nosed mindset that set the culture and it all starts with him. He wants the players to know that coach DeBoer is trying to constantly be consistent and they can hopefully emulate that to create the culture.
  • Says it’s about the relationships and that he has a vision but it doesn’t do any good to talk about the vision until the team buys into the fact that he cares about them and then they can build towards that vision together.
  • Style of football-wise: “I’m an offensive pick things up from great mentors, great people...passionate towards the game and love finding something that can make you a little bit better...attacking and explosive is the way I want things to be, both sides of the ball but particularly on offense...having an offense that has the ability to adjust to the personnel...quarterback driven...very diverse offensively and defensively. We’ll have a lot of stuff that is simple to us but looks complex to the opponent...Fundamental in everything we do is a groundwork you can come back to when things get tough.”
  • Says he will be diligent building the new staff and that he has known a lot of people he has had on his team and against him who have impressed him as well as word of mouth. “First and foremost a staff that can recruit. We have to bring the best players who have the best character.”
  • They want players who perform well in the classroom and that players who show the ability to succeed there also carry over to the football field.
  • Notes that despite putting points on the board explosively on offense that they aren’t just going to go breakneck tempo and leave the defense in the dust. It has to be a full team game plan between O, D, and ST.
  • “My staff will be full of great recruiters who have been proven. We have to keep the best kids in Washington at Washington...The West Coast is extremely significant to our program.”
  • Says there may be some other satellite areas of the country they recruit and that will have to be examined which seems like it probably refers to Texas.
  • Will get on the recruiting trail as soon as possible but first meet with the team who is already here to make sure they know they’re the core right now. Looks forward to meeting the coaches throughout the state of Washington to help with recruiting.

Q&A Session with the Media

  • About what convinced him to come to Washington: The foundation of success that are already here and how this University is looked at academically. Hearing Jen’s vision and passion plus the resources are greater than what he has been a part of as a head coach. This is a special place. Conference championships are an expectation and national championships are a goal. We’re going to set our goals high. Pressure comes along with those expectations but the alternative is no expectations which isn’t fun for anyone.
  • About what DeBoer’s conversations with Tedford were for this job: Jeff is a close friend and consider him a mentor. There was a lot of conversation in 2017 when DeBoer joined the staff where he took things from his experience here in 2016. Tedford said this is an amazing place and it was obvious why. He knew it was a great opportunity for DeBoer. A lot of things to work through staff-wise and Tedford has some things he wants as well.
  • Any staff members already known that they are coming with: Not ready to get into that yet and things will become clearer over the next few days. The Fresno State staff is made up of a lot of people who he has met throughout his 22 years coaching. You understand the staff better by working with them as fellow assistants as he had for most of it. Fresno did a great job of letting DeBoer pick his staff and some of those people will also come to Washington to help hit the ground running.
  • What were your initial conversations like with Cohen and when did that start: You know when you know almost instantly whether you want to work with that person from the energy and style. Could sense wanting to be at the very top so then it was tell me more about Washington.
  • Is Jake Haener eligible to come back to UW and if he wanted to do that would you allow it: Jake’s a very special QB and if he wanted to come he would be eligible. Kalen wants what is best for Jake and there are different directions he could take and that’s up to him.
  • What role did Chris Petersen play in bringing you here: Had never talked to Pete before but when they first talked on the phone he felt like he knew him well. 3 of the guys on DeBoer’s staff at Fresno came from Boise so he knew about things that have been brought up by them or Tedford in the past. We already do some things that he has done but would be foolish not to pick his brain more. Tedford came to practice all the time at Fresno and another set of eyes never hurts. Learned a lot from Pete’s offense at Boise when DeBoer was at Sioux Falls with the simplicity yet motion components.
  • Over the last 10 years you’ve had a lot of short stints, is this a destination job: “Yes. Absolutely yes. My family is looking at me like yes.” I spent 10 years at Sioux Falls but then over the last few years there have been all these opportunities that just make sense. Now I’m here at the highest level possible but want to be careful because it isn’t about just getting to the highest level possible but places that are a great fit.
  • USC hires Lincoln Riley, LSU gets Brian Kelly, what is Cohen’s message to those that wanted a coach that had a ton of success like them or Chris Petersen previously: When we went to hire a coach we were looking for the best person to lead this program and that’s Coach DeBoer. Love his background and personality and he’ll do a great job.
  • About how the meeting with the team went and how ready UW is to win right away: There’s a fine line between winning and losing in college football and the culture part is so important. He’s been at places that have had losing records and seen how quickly a turn around can come. We’ll be able to roll our sleeves up and get to work in January but don’t want the kids who have 1 year left to think we’re rebuilding. We’re reloading. Within a year or 2 years for sure we’ve been able to turn things around at his prior stops. Subtle things to upgrade and build depth.

He felt it went great but would have to ask them how it went from their side. Some relief knowing that now we know the direction and about them understanding the things I’m sharing right now and what’s important for me to get it done. We care about them not just now but in the future. They almost all want to go to the NFL so we’re going to help them reach their goals.

  • About the next 2 weeks with recruiting before the early signing period: We have to get with the current players and share the vision. There’s not a lot of seniors that provide openings so have to understand where we’re at. The recruiting class was going to be a smaller class even before he got here. He’s sure there are guys who have thought about entering the portal but he’s going to become aware of it in the coming days. There’s always some turnover but there’s urgency from our staff to where we’re trying to get the guys who are committed sold. Will also look to some of the guys who aren’t committed and see who fits the culture. Anticipate there won’t be official visits this weekend but likely the following weekend.
  • Will you be calling the plays of be more of a CEO: The last 2 years are the only times he hasn’t called plays his entire career. Very tight with the OC at Fresno State who understands his style. [stopped just short of letting slip that he’s bringing the OC with him as expected] The biggest part of being a head coach is letting your coaches do their jobs and do them well because they will invest more into it. When you have high caliber coaches you shouldn’t have to micro manage and you trust them to do their job. He is very hands on getting involved with the offense and the defense sitting in the meetings but tries to help the coaches be better at making the players better.


  • DeBoer will be on almost the same contract that Lake was from a salary standpoint. Starting out at nearly $3 million with a slight annual bump each year to cover cost of living increases. We should get the full document soon but would assume that like just about every college head coaching contract these days would also leave Washington on the hook for the entire salary if he were to be fired at any point due to lack of success on the field. And if we have to worry about another school poaching DeBoer and thus how much is buyout is in that regard...that’s a good problem to have.