Fight On State Gadowsky interview (aka the only hockey coverage they'll ever have)
Guy Gadowsky, the man who will lead Penn State's push into the world of men's NCAA hockey, was formally introduced today via press conference.
Following a flattering introduction from Athletic Director Tim Curley, he began his segment of the event by discussing PSU's stellar reputation for academics. "Penn State does things right," he said. "When you hear about Penn State on ESPNEWS or in the news, it's about great things, it's not about bad things." Then later: "We're going to have perfect graduation rates, that's the goal," as well as "Penn State doesn't do things 99 percent."
So coach, why come to Penn State? "After meeting [Joe Battista] for five minutes, you just want to jump on board and come here," Gadowsky told the assembled audience, which included many members of the Icers.
While making numerous references to the spirit at Penn State that also helped draw him into the job, Gadowsky demonstrated an awareness of the large task at hand, as well as the confidence needed to get there eventually, saying that while the other programs in the Big Ten have a "head start," Penn State will join them eventually.
"They don't have our spirit," he said. "So, I think we're going to catch up sooner than people think. Hey, there's going to be some tough times. But you know what? I know we're going to have a lot of fun times during those times.
"And when we finally get this thing rolling, I think we're going to look back at those years when we've only been a few years in, and we're getting possibly shellacked by one of the Big Ten schools that have had championships and a lot of success, and they're going to enjoy that time because I think they know that payback's going to be coming."
At the same time, Gadowsky said, "I don't look at it actually like we're building from scratch at all, we have a great tradition here. So I think we're well ahead of the game."
Many of the questions focused on recruiting to a "non-hockey state," which has always been cited by outsiders as a major issue facing the fledgling program. But Penn State's newest coach talked up PSU's draw to recruits by saying that Canadian student-athletes are "going to love it here, they're just going to eat it up." He also cited the fact that the Mid-Atlantic Region and Pennsylvania are underrated for producing hockey players by saying "There's great hockey here...you can do a tremendous job here - and just wait until the rink comes."
Also in attendance at the press conference: Gadowsky's wife Melissa, the couple's two sons Mac and Magnus, as well as daughter Mia. Melissa's sister Kelsey McDonald is a Penn State sophomore.