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IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Adam Gase Press Conference

Posted Jan 9, 2016

Read the official transcript of the Adam Gase Introductory Press Conference as the new head coach meets the South Florida media.

Opening Statements

(Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum Opening Statement) – “I want to thank everybody for coming out today. Obviously this is a really exciting day for the Miami Dolphins franchise. Personally, I just want to thank Dan Campbell one more time publicly for all of his hard work and dedication he gave us over this past season. Today marks the culmination of an incredible amount of work by a lot of people that, we believe, has reached a great conclusion for the Miami Dolphins. We made over 237 phone calls as an organization researching candidates. We had over 42 hours of interviews and spoke to countless coaches, players, personnel and staff members. I want to thank (Vice Chair) Matt Higgins, (President & CEO) Tom Garfinkel, (General Manager) Chris Grier and obviously (Owner) Steve (Ross) for the countless hours we just spent together. In our search, we didn’t have any preconceived notions about offense, defense, special teams, first-time coaches, (or) multiple coaches. We wanted to be as open-minded as possible. But what we kept resonating to is we wanted to get the right leader. Someone that could relate to young and talented players that we believe we have, and somebody that was high energy and competitive. Somebody that could build a great coaching staff, develop them and hold them accountable. Somebody that was open-minded, who had great football acumen and intelligence. And when we looked at Adam, we felt like he had all of those attributes. Somebody that’s been an inspiring life-long learner, somebody that looks at the strengths that they can get out of a player. And we couldn’t be more excited that we found Adam as what we think is going to be a great head coach and a great partner to help move this program forward. Moving forward, we looked at a lot of things philosophically on how can we do things better – how could we get the most out of our program? So moving forward, in terms of player procurement, it’s still going to be led by Chris Grier, in terms of trying to get players to add to our roster. But as it relates to the final 53, ultimately – while we will work collaboratively – ultimately those decisions will rest with Adam. This way our players know that they are ultimately held accountable to him and that’s who they will be answering to. Philosophically, we will control the indoor and Adam will control the outdoor, obviously as we all (will be) working in a partnership. There are a lot of reasons that Adam told me that he chose to become a Miami Dolphin, but the number one reason was our owner, a man that gives us some incredible resources so we can go out and do what we have to do to put the best product on the field. And I would like to introduce him, Mr. Steve Ross.”

(Managing General Partner & Chair of the Board Stephen Ross Opening Statement) – “Thanks, Michael. It is really a great day and an exciting day for this organization, and for me, and you know we’re here to announce Adam Gase as our new head coach. I would like to thank Mike Tannenbaum for leading the search. We’ve spent hundreds of hours really talking about it, really looking under every stone and trying to figure who would be the best type of coach to lead the Miami Dolphins in the future. As I have told you before, I bought the Miami Dolphins and I own the Miami Dolphins because I want to win Super Bowls, not just make the playoffs. And I think Adam Gase puts us in the best position to win Super Bowls and becoming the winning organization that people expect and want from the Miami Dolphins. We really talked to a tremendous amount of candidates and we narrowed it down to probably six or seven that we had extensive interviews with. As I said before, when I was looking for someone, and what I was looking for was really the most intelligent person I could find, who had the greatest amount of passion, great energy and who would become a great leader. These are the type of things that I look for in running the organizations that I’ve built and have put together, that today are really best-in-class organizations in the fields that we’re in. And that’s what I always said I wanted in the Miami Dolphins. We really have turned this franchise around in every way. I think Tom Garfinkel and the work he’s done with the organization has really put us in a great position. But we haven’t performed on the field in the way that I or the fans want to see us in the future. And I think in Adam Gase we have found that person that will lead us to many, many Super Bowls in the future. I am not predicting this year. It will take time and so there is no big prediction here because I know what you guys want to say; but I’ve got to tell you, I’m excited to have him. For a Michigan guy to hire a Michigan State guy to lead the organization, that tells you that we have really found the right guy. I would like to introduce Adam Gase.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase Opening Statement) – “I’m going to start off thanking a few people, I won’t take forever here. Mr. Ross, Mike Tannenbaum, Tom Garfinkel, Matt Higgins, Chris Grier and the hard work they put forward as far as this search went about. I know that was a long process for them, very thorough, one of the longer processes that I went through with a group. It seems like I’ve gone through quite a few the last few years and this one was very thorough. I would like to thank my wife, who left because my son was crying, and that’s my fault; but I know she’s happy this process is over. It’s been an interesting two years in my life to get to this point. I would like to thank the Chicago Bear family, the McCaskey family, John Fox, Ryan Pace, all of the players from that organization, (and) how much those guys mean to me. They battled. And to move on to a new organization, it’s a great step in my family’s career and to be a part of the Miami Dolphins organization. The focus for us is going to be about the process. You never want to come up here and make predictions. We’re going to focus on one day at a time and those are the type of players that we want. That’s the type of organization that we’re starting to build here and, moving forward, that’s going to be our complete focus. It’s going to start with the right people. It starts with the players, but it also starts up top and we think we’ve got the people in place that have the passion, the work ethic and the unselfishness we need to compete to be a winning organization, and that’s what we’re working on, starting today. We’re looking for guys that want to invest in winning. It’s going to be critical that guys come in here day-in and day-out and understand that’s what we want. We’re looking for competitors every day we step into the building when we start in the spring. And we feel like that’s what we’re building right now, starting today.”

Adam Gase:

(On if he will call his own plays) – “Yes, I’ll call the offensive plays. I feel like I’ve been doing it for the last three years. I really enjoy it. I really enjoy that aspect of putting the game plan together with the offensive staff. So going into this season, that’s how we are going to start, with me calling them. And then as soon as we can shake through putting a staff together, talking to guys here, if I end up finding the right offensive coordinator that eventually I feel like I could turn the play calling over, then that’s the direction we’ll head. But as far as right now, I will be the play caller.”

(On his offensive and defensive philosophy and if he will run a 4-3 defense) – “We are going to look at the roster we have right now and build our schemes around our players. So as a starting point, you look at what my background is on offense, we’ve run multiple things. We are a very fluid offense. But we are really going to base this thing around the guys that we have on the roster and what we add on there. So we are at the very beginning stages obviously with that. And then on defense, we’ll wait until we decide what we’re going to do as far as a staff there, and then we’ll talk about scheme once we get to that point.”

(On what makes him confident he is ready to be a head coach despite being the youngest coach in the NFL) – “I look at it as: I’ve been in this profession since I was 18 years old so that’s really more than half of my life right now. The last three years, being a coordinator both for the Denver Broncos and with the Chicago Bears, it’s an accelerated growth. In this business, age is only a number but you get older really quick, because every week’s a growing experience. You learn and I feel like the last three years have really prepared me for this moment.”

(On who will have the greatest influence on QB Ryan Tannehill) – “I think it’s going to start with me. I think he needs a guy that’s going to have his back; that he feels comfortable with right out the gate. And I’m going to be working directly with him. And then I am going to hire guys on the offensive staff to also help him develop. I feel like when we do put a staff together we are all going to be able to help him get a little bit better.”

(On if he can go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl with QB Ryan Tannehill) – “Well this is where we’re at right now with Ryan (Tannehill), I’ve seen him play very minimal games. I’ve seen him play live once, not counting a preseason game where we played him at Denver. I know he had a pretty good game against us that game. We’re going to go back. We’re going to evaluate everything from the quarterback on down as far as offensive personnel. So really, at this point, we’re not ready to make any kind of predictions. I think we’re just going to have to see where his strengths are and really emphasize that.”

(On the primary difference in a head coach and an offensive coordinator) – “You’ve got to have the overall vision. You’ve got to make sure that you have the entire, as far as coaching staff goes, (that) everybody is on the same page. Really, the complimentary football part of what you want to do as a team is probably the primary thing. When you’re the offensive coordinator, you really are giving more direction and then you’re doing your part of that. As far as last year, being under Coach (John) Fox, you get those so called orders that you need to do for that week, between working with the offense, defense and special teams, and then you do your part in that. Now it’s going to be my job to make sure I formulate that as far as putting all three phases together.”

(On how far he is on putting together a staff and when he expects that to be completed) – “Well I’ve been here for about two hours so I would say we haven’t made much progress. We’ll be working on that today. Obviously there are a lot of teams still playing in the playoffs. We’ll see how things shake out here in the next few days.”

(On if he was confident he would get a head coaching job this season and what makes him ready to lead a room full of 53 men) – “Well as far as going with the team, when you do run an offense, it was something that (Denver QB) Peyton Manning used to say this to me all the time. He said, ‘You’re the head coach of the offense.’ And that was probably when I really realized there’s going to be that next step: in treating the way that we handled the offense, day-in and day-out, as though you were the head coach and that you were the head coach of the offense. I feel like that development over the last three years put me in a good position to where now that it is time to step up in that role, I feel like I’ve been prepared. I’ve been trained by some of the best coaches that you can be trained by between John Fox, Nick Saban and Mike Martz. I feel like I’ve been around some of the best. I’ve seen some of the best do it and I’ve been put in the position to where now I’m going to get an opportunity to show that training in front of the 53 guys that we are going to have on this roster.”

(On how a guy who didn’t play in college or in the NFL gets respect from the players) – “I learned a long time ago it’s about what you can teach players, the knowledge you have (and) the work ethic you have. (Former QB) Jon Kitna told me in 2007, he said ‘Players don’t care what you’ve done in the past. They want to know how you can help them on the field, how can you make them a better player and how can you get them paid.’ If you can do those types of things, guys will respect that.”

(On what his approach will be with this team) –“I’m not sure. No one’s ever really described me. Nobody has really said, ‘Hey, you’re a player’s coach; or a disciplinarian.’ I’m not really sure. I just know (that) walking in the office, putting a staff together, all of us working together, that’s going to be the key to as far as us having success with our roster.”

(On if he has met with DT Ndamukong Suh and QB Ryan Tannehill) – “I met Ryan (Tannehill) when he came in the building the other day. I was in here for an interview. He came through the building. I talked with him for a little bit. And (Ndamukong) Suh was also in the building. I was able to speak with him and just kind of really introduce myself to both of those guys. It was more of just a personal introduction than anything else.”

(On how far he thought coaching could take him when he first started as a graduate assistant) – “I think I was more on a month-to-month tour at that point. You’re never really sure how far you can go. I know the process at that time is slower. You’re never really sure, when you become a graduate assistant, you see a lot of guys fall out. You see a lot of guys give up on that dream. I know there was a point where I went back to Mount Pleasant and I’m looking to sell insurance. Thankfully I had three great friends that talked me out of it. I went back to LSU and got another opportunity in Detroit and the ball kind of got rolling for me. So you just never know how your journey is going to turn out. You just keep battling.”

(On his thinking Thursday after finishing his interview) – “I think everything was happening very quickly, as far as bouncing around from one team to the other. I was heading to New York. I felt good after I left here. Like I said, it was a long day and a half. I came in the night before. I had dinner with everybody. Coming in the next day, grinding the entire day, and then having to leave later that night and going to New York. It was hard to really process how close anything really was until probably later last night.”

(On why he chose Miami as opposed to another team) – “When I came in here, the one thing that I had heard a lot about from someone that was very close with me, who had experience with Mr. Ross, he said so many positive things about him. I was very excited to get in this position as far as getting in front of these guys. And then my relationship, as far as knowing some people that had been in this organization before, knowing Mike (Tannenbaum) from way back, earlier in my time in the NFL, it was very attractive to me. Getting back in the AFC was something that I was really interested in, as well. I’ve been in this conference six of the last seven years, so there is just some familiarity in this conference that I really liked.”

(On who has been the biggest influence on him and why) – “I don’t know if I can say one guy has been my biggest influence. I would say I was lucky enough to start off under Nick Saban as a student assistant, graduate assistant. I think that being raised under him, that’s probably the best way to say it, it’s a unique situation to be in. To be able to go with him from Michigan State to LSU, I’m pretty sure I was the only one. It was a task that wasn’t easy, but it was worth it at the end of the day. And then being able to get around Mike Martz. I was lucky enough to be around him for those three years and following him to San Francisco, him really letting me grow as a coach and as a person. He didn’t need to take the time that he did to try to teach me, as far as how to game plan, how to attack a defense, how to watch film. He really started me from the ground up as far as an offensive coach. And then obviously the last five years being with John Fox, his record speaks for itself. To work for a guy that has had over 100 wins in his career, who’s been to multiple Super Bowls, who’s made a living on walking into an organization and absolutely turning it around in the attitude. To be under him, that’s a career changing move as far as learning how to do it the right way.”

Stephen Ross:

(On what drew him to Adam Gase and what gives him confidence that this is the right pick) – “Well I talked to a lot people, in the football (world), in the National Football League. People had familiarity with him. We looked at a lot of people and of course there was a reoccurring theme of who was really one of the brightest young guys out there. And Adam’s name always surfaced to the top of that. And also his passion and his drive for football, and just talking to the people who he’s worked with and hearing other players who played under him, (how they) felt about him, and (I) really felt that this guy would be a great head coach and that he was ready. I mean that was the most important thing, was he ready? Certainly when you hire someone that’s 37 in the National Football League, people kind of question you. But I felt that, knowing my organization and how I’ve grown my organization with great people and, really, I’m a builder of organizations. Seeing that and having young people with the passion that they have, the energy, and have really put in the time, I really thought Adam, in the long term, is really the best thing for the Miami Dolphins.”

Mike Tannenbaum:

(On why not having previous head coaching experience matters) – “We really studied it quite a bit. Unfortunately there was a decision made earlier in the year about moving on from our head coach. That was the bad news. The good news, it gave us an opportunity to spend an incredible amount of time and resources just looking at it, and candidly (we) looked at more than one sport. And we have some incredibly great minds here with (Analytics Director) Dennis Lock in analytics and pro personnel people, and we just kept looking at it. And there’s really no correlation between first-time coaches and second-time coaches. We got our list probably down to about 25 and we wound up interviewing seven. But we looked at 25 people pretty seriously – college, pro, former Super Bowl winners, new – and we just said if we were going to be committed to a process, we’ll get a great result. And not to speak for Tom (Garfinkel), Matt (Higgins) and Chris (Grier), but I think we all felt like telling Steve (Ross) what our thoughts were. We all felt, unanimously, to recommend to Steve (Ross) what we felt was the right decision. So that’s kind of how you want it as an organization: when the hardest decisions and the biggest decisions turn out to be the easiest ones. And as long as we stayed committed to the process, we felt great about the result.”

(On what he’s looking for in guys getting their first chance to be head coaches) – “You guys asked me that the other day and I don’t think my answer has really changed. I think it comes back to leadership and knowing how can you inspire young players to achieve their potential? How can you attract great coaches? How can you develop them and hold them accountable and manage your staff? Those players come in all shapes and sizes with disparate backgrounds. Adam is a person that’s inspiring to be around – not only his story, but all the passion he has to make himself better. He works with a Hall of Fame Coach, a Hall of Fame Quarterback, it’s not good enough. They want to get better. They go around the country just to pick up one or two little things to get better and that’s inspiring. That’s what leadership’s about. So the fact that he hasn’t been a head coach before, obviously we talked about it and Steve (Ross) was comfortable with that. But it was really the attributes that we felt that Adam possessed, that we felt great about that choice.”

Stephen Ross:

(On if there are any plans to keep Dan Campbell in the organization) – “I mean, that’s really up to Adam. I mean I love Dan Campbell. He’s done a great job. I’d love to see him in the organization but Adam has really the free hand to hire his assistants. And the question is, he’ll probably meet with Dan, and he can tell you that, but I don’t think any conclusion (has been made). But I think, the way we feel about Dan, as an organization, is fantastic.”

Mike Tannenbaum:

(On why he did not wait until after the first round of the playoffs to speak to more candidates) – “We looked at that. We felt, after seven interviews and all the calls and all the screening, we felt really comfortable about Adam. And, as we said the other day, we were committed to our process, and I’m really proud of the fact that we were disciplined to that, and we were going to go as long as necessary. As I told you, personally, I’ve been involved with searches that hire people well after the Senior Bowl, so that was certainly something we felt like we could do, if necessary. But we also wanted to move quickly if we felt like we could find the right guy and we were thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement with Adam. Now that allows us, obviously, I believe we are the first team done, that we can move as quickly as possible to fill the staff, which is obviously an advantage. So we, again, no preconceived notions. It was about the candidate, not the timeline.”

Adam Gase:

(On if he had offers from other teams to become a head coach) – “Right now, Jimmy Sexton is sitting at home, probably on the phone. That’s why agents are involved in this. My job was to go through the interview process and I got a phone call late last night and he said, ‘I think we’re pretty close with Miami.’ That’s as far as I really got into it with him. That’s why those guys get paid what they do. That’s their job and my job was to say, if he gave me choices, then I would have had to make a choice. And he said ‘Miami is your spot,’ and I was ready to go this morning.”

Adam Gase:

(On how his family feels about living in Miami after spending time in cold weather cities throughout his career) – “I don’t know how many times Mike said, ‘It’s 75 (degrees) and no state income tax.’ About a hundred?”

Mike Tannenbaum: “I wasn’t sure if you were listening.”

Adam Gase: “It is a change of pace for us, but I think it’s a good one.”

Adam Gase:

(On what qualities he believes he possesses that sets him apart from other candidates) – “I think my passion, my attitude, the way that I go about interacting with players and the relationship that I develop with players. It’s something that’s hard to explain when you can get in front of a group of guys, develop something as a staff and then actually get to a point where everybody cares about each other, they’re doing it for each other and not for themselves. Probably one of the proudest things that I’ve been a part of was last season in Chicago, seeing that group, injuries, nobody gave us a chance in any game. But the way those guys battled every game, came down to the wire and that’s something that is unique. I feel like when coaches and players can develop those kind of bonds and you are really doing it for each other and you’re not just doing it for yourself.”

(On the emotions he felt when he finally realized he was going to be an NFL head coach) – “I think it will hit me maybe in a couple of weeks, but right now I just keep thinking about what our next step is. We have to work on the coaching staff. We have to figure out what our next move is, as far Mike’s calendar. He keeps talking to me about ‘We’ve got to stay on schedule here.’ I’ll have time. Whenever we have downtime, that’s probably when it’ll hit me.”
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