On Friday afternoon, the University hosted a press conference at Schoellkopf Memorial Hall to officially introduce Bill Courtney as the new Robert E. Gallagher ’44 Head Coach of Cornell Men’s Basketball.
Athletic Director Andy Noel described how throughout the interview process he was looking for someone who would “maintain the momentum” of the last 3-5 years that effectively turned the program around.
Noel spoke to Courtney’s reputation as a “relentless recruiter” and characterized him as a coach who would challenge his players while also ensuring that basketball is fun for them.
Indeed, Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy ’73, who had the opportunity to sit down with all three candidates, acknowledged that her first thought upon meeting Courtney was “who’s recruiting whom.”
As Courtney took the podium, the first person he thanked was former Cornell head coach Steve Donahue for the shape he left the program in and the winning culture he established during his tenure on East Hill.
“Those will be some big shoes to fill ... even though his feet are much smaller than mine,” Courtney said with a laugh.
“Right off the bat you could tell he has a great personality, really outgoing and energetic, positive,” said sophomore guard Chris Wroblewski, who was part of a five-player committee that had an informal interview with each of the three finalists.
Courtney was quick to acknowledge that the team’s goal, as it was under Donahue’s watch, is to win Ivy League championships, which will obviously entail sacrifices on the parts of everyone involved.
“I don't know when it is going to happen –– I hope it happens next year –– but we're going to win Ivy championships,” he said.
And while he pointed to the centrality of making the game fun, “Winning is a lot more fun than losing."
"I told our team I want to dream big,” Courtney added. “No one thinks we're going to be that good next year, losing all of those guys. But I told them to put no limits on what they can accomplish because I certainly won't. This run has been the best in school history, but I like to think that the best is yet to come.”