New George Mason basketball coach Paul Hewitt was introduced in a press conference on Monday afternoon, his first public comments since being named the Patriots' basketball coach on Saturday. Hewitt, of course, replaces Jim Larranaga, a beloved figure locally who bolted to Miami after 14 years in Fairfax.
During his remarks, Hewitt stressed the importance of maintaining as much continuity as possible, given the Patriots' success last season and all their returning players. He said he told the players that it was important to "keep the culture you guys established."
"This year, it's important we maintain some sense of continuity. When you win 27 games, you don't want to change too much," he said.
Hewitt said he began the process the Tuesday before he was hired, and met with University president Alan Merten on Thursday before deciding to take the job. He said he "traded one paradise for another," referencing a planned vacation to St. Martin's over the weekend that had to get canceled, and added that this was the only job he would have considered after being fired from Georgia Tech.
Hewitt added that he will "take his time" filling out his coaching staff, and said he plans to recruit as vigorously as ever.
"We want to win and we want to win big. I don't think there's any reason why we should take a backseat to anyone." "The one thing I feel very confident we can do is, we're going to be able to recruit."
He added that he talked to Larranaga briefly and will speak with him again later.
Athletic Director Tom O'Connor said he was looking for a "good communicator" first and foremost, and that he feels he has that in Hewitt.
(Quotes via the GoMason.com live stream).