Coverage of Ian Carry Press Conference
University of Kentucky Women’s Soccer
Head Coach Ian Carry Introductory Press Conference
Rupp Arena – Nov. 23, 2016
Kentucky AD, Mitch Barnhart
Opening Statement …
“I will be very, very brief other than to say that obviously we are looking to re-energize our program and get back to where we want to be competitively. It’s a time when we have a lot of people interested in our program, the facilities that we have and the reputation of the University of Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference. We took careful consideration as to how we got to this spot and looked around and talked to several people. At the end of the day after careful consideration, we came back to a guy that has incredible energy and I think the ability to reenergize our locker room and get us back competitively to where we want to be and that is Ian Carry. So, I want to introduce the third head coach in Kentucky women’s soccer history, Ian Carry – and his fiancé, Stephanie.”
On what change Ian represents for the program …
I follow our teams pretty closely. You guys know I go around event to event and watch. I think culture and energy is important. I want to make sure we capture that for our young people and in today’s world of college athletics a victory for some people is just getting a scholarship and joining a university and saying I’m done. I think it’s really incumbent on us to say that that’s not enough. It’s not enough to just show up and exist for four years. I want people involved from a staff perspective and a coaching perspective as well. We have known Ian – we’ve had an opportunity to see him up close and we’ve had a chance to see his interactions with our young people and I felt comfortable after talking with several folks. We also talked to several people within the program that had some wonderful things to say and so that certainly weighs in your mind.
Head Coach Ian Carry
“First of all, thank you to everyone for coming out today. As Chris mentioned, I am the third head coach in Kentucky women’s soccer history and absolutely blessed to have that opportunity to facilitate these young women within the soccer program. Some people that have been very influential in this process, and I need to thank them – obviously one of them is Mitch Barnhart. Stephanie Simmons is another and obviously Dr. Capilouto. I wouldn’t be in this positon here today without them. Going through the process, I’ve had a lot of time to think. I spoke to a lot of mentors overseas and here in the U.S. This whole situation made me realize that Kentucky is the place I want to be. I call it home. The wealth that this program has and the ability we have to be successful – I’m absolutely blessed to be the head women’s soccer coach. I just want to go back to 2013 when I first arrived. Obviously I’m green behind the ears (referring to his Irish descent) and there was a function over at the Boone Center and Mitch was there, and I think I was only working here about a month and a half. He sees me and he says ‘Hey, big guy. We look after you here at Kentucky. We’ll help you with your growth, we’ll guide you, we’ll create a pathway for you and we’ll support you to prepare you for the next step.’ That has been etched in my mind since 2013. To have that opportunity etched in my mind since 2013 and to continue on with the next chapter of my life and take this women’s soccer program forward means a deal to me. I’m so grateful. That’s a memory that’s always been in my mind.
I also want to thank Jon Lipsitz. He’s was instrumental to bringing me to Kentucky in 2013. I’ll be forever grateful to him for the opportunity to come here and be a part of the women’s soccer program. To continue building the program and moving on to heights that we have never been before – that’s our goal for progressing things into the next chapter.
Someone else who has also been great is Jason Cummins. This guy has been a mentor to me and when you talk about leadership with him – it’s fantastic. In my interview process, I mentioned the movie Limitless. I don’t know if you know – but the guy takes a pill and it opens up every aspect of his brain that he’s never used before. That’s what it’s like sitting down with Jason Cummins. He just opens up your mind and your immediate thoughts and he is able to put them on paper. He has been fantastic.
My family – I wouldn’t be here without them. My family back home in Ireland, my mom and dad, my younger brother. We were raised to take nothing for granted. Work for what you achieved. Things aren’t going to be handed to you on a silver plate – so you need to work for what you get. They brought me up with character and integrity and I love them to bits. I know that they are proud that I was given this opportunity. And, obviously, Steph (his fiancé). She has been a rock in this process. She has heard me say so many things. Yesterday I woke up and it was about 5 a.m. and I’m like ‘Hey, are you awake?’ and she said ‘Get to sleep’. I’m like ‘I can’t sleep! I’m so excited! I know it’s going to be released today!’ so I end up in the gym at 5:15 get a workout in and then I come back home and said I need to go to the office. So, I go in the office and I met up with Jason Goodson, Mitch and Steph and we went through the whole process. Things like this make Kentucky a family that I’m so, so proud to be a part of.
Former players – these guys who have gone through the program have built a foundation. But not only have they created a foundation – but they have created a dream. Players have come to Kentucky with aspirations of being a professional soccer player and we have made that happen. I can name Arin Gilliland and Courtney Raetzman. Those are two so far that have taken the next step towards being professional soccer players and to have been part of their lives over the last three of four years has been a really, really proud moment to me. The future is bright. Young women who are searching for universities to attend and looking at soccer programs who are going to help them reach that next level. They know that it can be achieved here at Kentucky.
Current players – I don’t know where to begin with this group. Their patience throughout the whole process has been fantastic. Their dedication and hard work has been amazing. They knew their future began on the seventh of November when Jason Goodson and myself walked on to the practice field and it was the first practice session we had overseeing the program and we spoke to them about the great championship environment that we wanted to create here at Kentucky. We spoke to them about what they can achieve. We spoke to them about bringing championships back here and making long runs in the NCAA. But, we also spoke to them about developing them. Developing them physically and mentally so that with any adversity here at the university or in their home life – we have guidance to make them successful.
We want them to be successful on and off the field. Winning trophies on the soccer field will bring them degrees in the classroom. The buzz they had on the soccer field was fantastic and I’m honored to take ownership of this position and these young women.
The immediate staff – I wouldn’t be here without them. Jason Goodson – he is one of the best recruiters in the nation. He’s a gifted coach and someone who I call a really close friend. We spend so much time together that some of the conversation in the room are so in depth with soccer, but we enjoy being around each other and we actually leave tomorrow to go to San Diego to go and recruit. So that’s another weekend we have to spend with each other. We are currently working on a second assistant, so we are finalizing our staff and we will have that done very shortly. There are three other people who are integral pieces to our program and one of them is Jeanne Rankin, our strength coach. Monica Fowler, who works with the players in regards to their nutrition – and Mike Haley. Mike is such a huge guy in regard to the academic piece and a second father figure to most of these young women. He is someone that helps in every aspect of life. We want to develop the complete student-athlete here at the University of Kentucky. We don’t want them just to be successful on the playing field – we want them to be successful in the classroom. All of those people are part of that.
One person I also want to mention is Chris Shoals who is standing over to my right. Chris and I go back to when I got here and has been fantastic in our media department. He’s the guy who makes you all aware of what goes on in the program and everything having to do with results, fixtures, you name it. The guy is an absolute genius at what he does. Our relationship took off when we started rooming together in 2014. Chris has an addition to candy and soda. And the first morning of waking up after rooming with him on the road – I fall asleep at about 11 p.m. and Chris is up all night watching SportsCenter. I wake up, I go to get up and I roll by ankle on an empty bottle of soda. I’m like where did that come from?! Then I look on the floor and there are three empty bottles of Skittles and Starbursts – you name it. Chris Shoals had gotten up at three o’clock in the morning, went down to the vending machine and had just cleared it. And everything was just lined up on our bedroom floor. So, I’m just like ‘really, Chris?’. If you’re looking for candy – you know the guy. It’s Chris Shoals. The last 24 hours have been crazy and he’s been such a great help with everything that has gone on.
I just want to give you an insight as to what has gone on the last 24 hours. It has been nuts. Everybody has been in contact. The support has been fantastic and I really, really appreciate it coming from players – coming from ex-players – from families and coaches. It has been fantastic. They know that we are a staff that is in place right now where we are going to take the program forward.
I just want to mention one e-mail I got. Yesterday I got an e-mail from Warren Lipka, the first head coach here. I got to know Warren over the last three years organizing spring games, etc. We would be friendly in that regard, but I got an e-mail yesterday from him and he congratulated me on the hire. He wished the program the best and that he thought the program was in good hands. But, he did mention that he was the last coach to win an SEC Tournament when he was here in 2006. That sort of thinking and again going back to the amount of people that have contacted me – it brings me back to November the 7th. We decided that this was the direction that we wanted to go. This is what we wanted for these young women. This is how successful we can be. We know success is standing right here on this practice field.
We have fantastic people here in Wendell & Vickie Bell. We have an amazing facility and a new practice facility on the way for the fall. We want to make The Bell a fortress so that when people come here to Kentucky they know they are not getting out of here with a win. They know they are up for a fight. That’s the attitude we will take over from November the 7th. Nobody is going to come into our home and think they will walk out of here with three points. Nobody is going to think that’s it’s a game that it should be an easy three points. That’s not the way it will be going forward. We are going to compete in the Southeastern Conference for championships. We are going to go a long way in the NCAA’s – and our vision is to bring home a national championship here to the Bluegrass.
I want to again thank Mitch Barnhart for the opportunity, I want to thank the staff we have in place and I’m really looking forward to taking the program forward.”
On how hard it will be to re-energize the locker room …
“When people talk about my positive attitude – knowing the talent and the depth that we have here – it’s pretty to re-energize this group. They are hungry. They want to be successful. The group that we have are used to winning national championships at the club level, so they are used to winning. That’s what they expect. I think that I’ll find the re-energizment piece very, very easy. I am used to speaking to them in a way that they are comfortable with and we will do anything for them as a staff. We are not going to have a problem in that regard. The texts, e-mails from the players have already been overwhelming to myself and Jason. They were as overwhelmed as we were. Their words were emoji, emoji, emoji, emoji and they blew up our phones. That is not going to be a problem.”
On moving from an assistant coach to a head coach …
“I think I’m in a unique position. Being here three and a half years, I have created a relationship with the players to where they can trust me. With that trust again, comes the easy piece of re-energizing them and the working piece of working hard in practice and competing. If I was somebody who was coming in from outside the program, I would probably find it more of a challenge because all of the sudden, I’m having to get to know the players. What we said to them on day one is that sometimes when players to through the club process and we are recruiting them, they are developing all of the time. And, when they arrive because the soccer season is so short – they don’t continue to develop – they only continue to practice and play. So, when we spoke to them, we spoke to them about how every single individual needs to get better and we need to develop. Sitting down with Jason Goodson, we have a plan in place going forward for every single player. It will be implemented in practice every day. Going from good cop to bad cop – there is no need to be a bad cop because they know and trust the staff. We are looking after them and they know that if they follow the path that we put in front of them, they will be very successful.”