Dawkins formally introduced as new Stanford coach

Updated: April 28, 2008, 10:31 PM ET
Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. -- Johnny Dawkins did the whole meet-and-greet thing on Stanford's campus Monday, two days after becoming the Cardinal's new men's basketball coach.

The 44-year-old Dawkins, a longtime assistant coach at Duke under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, was formally introduced by the school. He replaces reigning Pac-10 Coach of the Year Trent Johnson, who led Stanford to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001 before leaving to coach LSU.

"We're going to do something special here," Dawkins said, joined by his wife and four children for a campus welcoming reception. "It takes ownership from everyone. The one thing I believe is it's our program, it's not Johnny Dawkins' program. You only do things special when you do it together."

Dawkins is a recognizable name despite the fact he has no prior head coaching experience. He was an All-American guard for the Blue Devils, a high first-round NBA draft pick and played nine NBA seasons before returning to coach as an assistant at his alma mater. He has widely been considered the successor to Krzyzewski, who has hinted he might still coach another 10 years.

He joined the Duke staff for the 1997-98 season and spent the last nine as associate head coach under Coach K. He will still work as an assistant under Krzyzewski for the U.S. Olympic team in China this summer.

Dawkins met with his new players Monday afternoon before his introductory news conference.

"You can definitely tell he's used to winning," guard Anthony Goods said. "He had a great career as a player and has had success at Duke as an assistant. You can definitely tell he's ready to work. He's about business."

This marks the second major hire by athletic director Bob Bowlsby, who brought in Jim Harbaugh as Stanford's new football coach in December 2006. Harbaugh, women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer and many other athletic department officials and donors were in attendance Monday.

Dawkins first interviewed Friday and agreed to the six-year contract the following day. He said he and his wife thought about the offer "for 10 minutes, and that may be too long."

It's been a whirlwind few days for Dawkins, who spent Sunday in Phoenix for a national team commitment and was headed out Monday night for a few days of recruiting before the process ends Wednesday.

"We're very excited to start the Johnny Dawkins era at Stanford," Bowlsby said. "As we began this process, we were certainly looking for someone who was a great fit at Stanford University."

Bowlsby spoke to Krzyzewski early on in his search.

Johnson was introduced at LSU on April 10, leaving Stanford following his fourth season after he didn't receive a contract extension from Bowlsby. The sides had the framework of a deal but hadn't sat down for final discussions.

Stanford (28-8) surprisingly finished in second place in the powerful Pac-10 this season, then went on to reach the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament before losing to Texas.

The Cardinal will move forward without twin 7-foot sophomores Brook and Robin Lopez after both declared themselves eligible for the NBA draft and said they would forgo their final two college seasons.

Until Stanford showed interest last week, Dawkins hadn't thought about when he might become a head coach.

"I was never really looking at a timetable," he said. "I was happy where I was. My life was fine. This has been an amazing opportunity. They're so similar. Look at this university, it has a special quality about it like I had at Duke."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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