Transcript: Dr. Randy Woodson introduces Boo Corrigan as next NC State athletic director

Raleigh, NC – Boo Corrigan, director of athletics at the U.S. Military Academy, has been named the next director of athletics at North Carolina State University. Chancellor Randy Woodson introduced Boo at a January 31 press conference in Reynolds Coliseum.

NC State chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson and the next Wolfpack athletic director Boo Corrigan. (photo by Gene Galin)

Below is the transcript of Thursday morning’s procedures.

Randy Woodson: Good morning, everyone. It’s a great day at NC State. Welcome to Valvano Arena in historic Reynolds Coliseum on Kay Yow Court. Look, it’s great to have you all here. This is a great day for NC State and what a difference nine years makes. About nine years ago this spring, I arrived as your chancellor and immediately began the process of hiring one of the most outstanding athletic directors in the country. And when you think back on what Debbie has been able to do at NC State, the way she’s moved us forward and the momentum that we enjoy now, it’s just a phenomenal tribute to her leadership and to where we are at NC State.

So nine years ago, Debbie stands up in front of this group, ’cause I see some of you that have been here before, and told you that her vision was to get NC State athletics in the top 25 consistently across the board. And there was a lot of cheers, a lot of head nodding, and then some wow. Because at the time, we were 89th in the country in Director’s Cup, and within the first two years of her work and her colleague’s work at NC State, we had the greatest gain in Director’s Cup points of any team in ACC history, jumping to 37th. And as you all know, in the last three years, we’ve been consistently in the top 25. In fact, the last two years, 17th and last year 15th, and currently 10th in the country.

And that’s a tribute to leadership. It’s a tribute to hiring great coaches, 17 of which have been hired by Debbie and her team. And just a tribute to all the work that has been done here. So, first and foremost today, I want to make sure that we all recognize that my job as chancellor in initiating this search, was made tremendously easier by the state of affairs at NC State, academically and athletically; and to that I owe tremendous gratitude to Debbie and her colleagues and it brings me to today’s announcement.

So I am very excited to introduce to this crowd today and to the NC State community, the next athletic director at NC State, Boo Corrigan. Now, I’m gonna give you a little background and then you can get everything, all your energy out. Boo is coming to us after eight very successful years at Army-West Point, where he literally has transformed Army athletics during his tenure there and brought, in fact, if you look at the record during his time there, 20 Patriot League Championships, you’ve seen what happened with football. And I see General Odierno here is a proud West Point graduate and football player there. He’s thrilled to know that they consistently beat Navy now. And that’s almost as big of a deal as some of our rivals, and I won’t go into detail there.

So Boo has been a tremendous leader at Army. When I started this search, I told Parker Executive search that I had three criteria. First and foremost, I wanted an athletic director that put the student athlete first and foremost in everything they do. Their health, their safety, their education. And that’s criteria one. Criteria two, that they’ve been successful in athletic administration at the highest level in Division I athletics; and typically in my mind, that means they’re an experienced athletic director that has competed at the levels that we compete at within the ACC. And third, and very important to me and I know to the people here today, someone that is passionate about coming to NC State. This is a program that deserves the best, and we have hired the best in Boo Corrigan.

So a bit more about Boo, he, you know, he’s the seventh child of Gene and Lena Corrigan; and that’s a lot of children. But he’s also Junior. They waited until the last to go there, which is impressive. And since his arrival into this world, he’s been called Boo. So just live with it. So Boo has grown up in an environment, because you all know his father well. Athletic director at UVA. Athletic director at Notre Dame, and Commissioner of the ACC, so he’s been steeped in the tradition of this conference, steeped in the understanding of athletic administration and preparing for this job throughout his life.

He began his career like all good athletic directors, working at a number of institutions, including Florida State, the Naval Academy, Notre Dame, and most recently before Army, the Senior Associate AD at Duke. So he comes with vast knowledge of this business and he comes with incredible credentials of not only nurturing the student athlete, but building relationships with the coaches, supporting the coaches in their effort to build a world class academic and athletic experience for student athletes, and finally with external constituents. He’s got a marketing background in athletics, so he understands connecting with people and the relationships that are required to move a Division I, Power 5, ACC Conference athletic program to the next level. So it’s my distinct honor and privilege to introduce to the NC State community, the next Athletic Director at NC State University, Boo Corrigan.

Boo Corrigan: I told Chancellor Woodson, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me. So thank you, Chancellor Woodson, and to the trustees, thank you for trusting me with the athletic program here at NC State. We’re thrilled to be here at NC State at a transformational time in the success that has occurred in the last nine years. But there’s great history in this building, as you bring up the name Valvano and Yow and Reynolds. What it means to this institution, what it means to the conference and we could not be happier to be here.

With that, I do think it is important to point out the incredible job that Debbie Yow did here; and not only her commitment to winning, but winning the right way. And as we talk about who we are at NC State, there is a standard at NC State and our goal is to reach a standard and maintain that standard, because that’s who we are as an institution. And we will have a standard, and I look forward to making sure that we everyday work to reach that standard and meet that standard.

That being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t introduce my family. My wife, Kristen is here. My son Brian, my daughter Finley and my son Trey. If y’all would stand up for a second please. As Chancellor Woodson said, I’ve been around this my whole life, and Kristen’s parents Ted and Mary Aceto, she grew up and her father was the AD of Villanova. So we both grew up the same way and our goal, when we got into college athletics, was to raise our kids around a college campus. I see a number of student athletes around here. You have been, one way or another, role models for all the young people in Raleigh. And that’s what we want to be a part of. Is to have our children around that and we’ve been very fortunate and very blessed to have that opportunity to be at a number of great schools.

I may get a little emotional on this and I apologize, but I want to talk about my parents as well. Amy, thank you for being here from the ACC, it means a lot to have you here. Dad was the commissioner of the ACC. He was the AD at Virginia. He was the AD at Notre Dame and had a remarkable run and it’s something in my life that’s always meant a great deal to be involved with the ACC and what the ACC stands for. And it’s that commitment to academics, the commitment to doing things the right way that was equally attractive to me with NC State and the ACC is something that we just couldn’t turn down. Dad’s gone through a couple of things here recently, but you know, he’s the best. My mom’s a rock star.

Those of y’all that knew them back in the day, and couldn’t be prouder to be here and represent our family. So on behalf of all, there’s a lot of us, thank you from the Corrigan family as well for bringing us here. General Odierno, you honor me with your presence at all times. Chief-of-Staff of the Army, West Point graduate, class of ’76. Last year. Was a distinguished graduate at West Point. NC State grad for his master’s degree. It’s funny. I was coming back from the interview and I landed and had a text message from General Odierno. General Odierno, “Call me ASAP.” I don’t know if y’all have ever received a text from a Four-Star general, but it’s a little intimidating when you get that.

And I had a chance to talk to O, and his first words were, “This is a great job. This is a great place. I think you’re the right person to be there.” And what I hope in my time here at NC State is that we’re able to build on what Debbie Yow’s done. To the coaches, we had a chance to visit yesterday and I said this yesterday and I mean it, you’re my people and I look forward to working with every coach here, ’cause I think that’s the relationship that means the most. You’re the ones that have the most connectivity to our students. You’re the ones that they’re gonna look up to. You’re the ones that are gonna mentor our student athletes and that’s what we need and that’s the standard that we expect.

When I think about the job, I think about four things: I think about the ability to trust and me to gain your trust, and me to be able to trust you in what we’re doing. I think about accountability. A lot of this comes from West Point, General. I think about accountability, being able to hold each other accountable to what the standard is. Because the standard is gonna be the standard and we’re all gonna get there together. I think about passion and clearly this is a passionate fan base. 99% sold out at Carter Finley, 10,000 season ticket holders. It’s, when I flew in and got off the plane and the Virginia game was on TV and you could see a Wolf Pack forming around the TVs when we got off the plane to watch the end of the game. And the fourth thing I think about is empathy. And empathy from the standpoint of assuming that everyone comes from the same place. That everyone’s had the same thing. As we refer to it at West Point, everyone’s carrying the same rucksack. Got the same things in their rucksack. That’s not true. What is true is that people care about where you are. And they need to know that we care about them.

So that being said, could not be more proud to be here. Could not be more honored to be here. My family and I look forward to coming to Raleigh. What did Jimmy V say? If you laugh, if you think and you cry in one day, that’s a good day. I’m an emotional guy, I think I fit in with that. Could not be more excited to be here and look forward to serving you. Thank you very much.

Fred Demarest: At this point, we’ll open it up for questions from our media members. We have microphones on each side, or at least we have one here. If you can raise your hand, we’ll get a microphone to you and we’ll take questions for either Boo Corrigan or Chancellor Woodson.

Reporter: Hey Boo.

Boo Corrigan: Hi, how are you doing brother?

Reporter: Good. You’ve seen this university from the seat of the ACC when your dad hired you as an intern. And you’ve seen it from other institutions, what-

Boo Corrigan: Unpaid intern.

Reporter: Unpaid intern. Okay. What was your thoughts of the university from afar? And what, now that you’ve gotten closer to it what are your thoughts of the university and the job of being the Director of Athletics here?

Boo Corrigan: Well, I mean, you have to see the success that’s occurred here and not only athletically, but academically and from a brand and from every aspect of the institution, it’s going in such a positive direction. And when Debbie announced that she was leaving, Kris and I kind of looked at each other like, “Boy, that’d be a great place for us to go.” And for those reasons. Because of the success that’s occurred. Because of the coaches that they’ve hired. You know, four teams in the top 10 right now. You know, I believe it was the only undefeated basketball team.

Fred Demarest: Yes sir.

Boo Corrigan: Is that right? With women’s basketball and the job that’s been done there. The chance to meet with Chancellor Woodson, that first interaction we had, really kind of solidified everything that we were thinking and everything that we were hoping to be a part of. And you know, you want to be a part of a winner, you want to be a part of a place that does it the right way and that’s what we were really looking at, and that’s what we felt. And that’s why we’re so interested.

Fred Demarest: Mr. Armstrong, next question.

Reporter: Boo, your predecessor oftentimes really directly embodied the passion of the fan base and wasn’t afraid to publicly show that. How do you sink your teeth personally into the you know, kind of the passion that the fans have and the school itself?

Boo Corrigan: Well, I think the stars of the show are the student athletes and I think that always needs to be our focus on what we’re doing. We’ve got a great group of coaches and we had a chance to visit with them, or I had a chance to visit with them yesterday and the biggest part of that is my job is to support. You know, I think that’s the most important part. The job’s a big job, I’m not naïve to that. But the job doesn’t have to be everything that consumes me and I think you need to have balance in your life, I think you need to know that the people around you care about you and that the coaches know that you care about them and that you got their back and my job, more than anything else is to make sure that everyday on a daily basis they have what they need to coach, to recruit, to mentor and to develop the student athletes here at NC State.

Reporter: Randy NC … How are you?

Randy Woodson: Living the dream Joe.

Reporter: I commend you on your stealthiness by the way. NC State was involved in the FBI trial for paying a former basketball player. That case is with the NCAA now. What were your conversations like with Boo about that? And can you give us an update on how you would characterize that case right now?

Randy Woodson: Yeah. I was … Boo and I had a long conversation about what we know at the university now and where we are with that investigation, both with regard to federal agents in New York as well as the NCAA. And so he knows essentially everything I know at this point. What I can say is that I’m immensely proud of Carrie Doyle and Debbie Yow and our team here for being transparent. For getting all of the information out that we have and sharing and being responsive to the needs of the investigators and so that’s where we are. It’s still in the courts and the NCAA is a little slower because of that. Honoring what the federal government is doing through the Southern District of New York. So Boo and I have had careful and deep conversations about that so he knows where we are.

Reporter: Randy for you, when you went through the interview process, obviously you’re going through a lot of different people, what sold you on Boo Corrigan as the next AD for NC State?

Randy Woodson: Well among all the people that I talked with and all the people I considered, Boo’s name always came back to the top of the list honestly. And it goes back to what I said at the beginning. The three criteria that I shared with Daniel and Dan Parker at Parker Executive Search that you know, I want an AD here that understands this is about the students and about their success in all aspects of life, not just on the court or on the field, although that’s a big part of it, but in the classroom and as they develop as mature adults by the time they leave our campus. And I saw that in Boo consistently throughout his career. I heard it in his voice when we talked.

Randy Woodson: Secondly as I said when I introduced Boo, I was looking for someone that this wasn’t their first rodeo, that they know what Division I, Power 5 athletics is about and all the issues that come along with it. And again, box checked. That is very clear not only in his experience, but in his, in what he’s passionate about. And third, you know, it’s my job to sell this university. But I wanted people that were visiting with me about this job to be sold on this university and this job before that first conversation occurred and that box was checked for me in Boo early on because he’s know this conference. He knows this part of the country and he knows the great history of NC State athletics. So it just, it kept getting better and better until it was, until he’s sitting here.

Fred Demarest: Next question,

Reporter: Was this kind of a unique situation to come into where you’re not trying to fix a program or make sweeping changes? You’re trying to continue on the success that was had before and build on that?

Boo Corrigan: I think all of them are pretty unique. Wherever you go there’s going to be, you know, as we jokingly referred to it, these are pretty high class problems to have when what you’re looking to do is take it from a top, what 10 right now? Where they sit and been consistently in the top 25 for the last couple of years and grow on that. But you know, every opportunity you have, right? Is a chance to get better and I think that’s how I look at every day when I’ll be the AD. Is to look at it from that standpoint of how can we continue to push forward? How can we continue to develop our student athletes? How can we continue to develop our coaches for that matter? From thought leaders and those types of things to make sure that they have every resource they need. But again, high class problems because of the great job that Debbie did.

Reporter:                            Boo would you knock out the origin story of your name for us? Randy said that everybody calls you Boo, but we didn’t get the story for it. And who’s responsible for giving you that name?

Boo Corrigan:                    I’ve had multiple versions of this story over the years. Right? No. So I’m the baby of seven kids and there’s two girls and then five boys in a row. And my father never cared for the name Eugene and so by the time he had the fifth boy in a row, my mom looked at him and said, “We can probably stop having kids if you name one after you.” And so they named me Eugene Francis Corrigan, Junior and when I was a baby, he started calling me Boo and my mom kind of looked at him and said, “Gene, you need to stop doing that, the kids are gonna start calling him Boo.” Here I sit 52 years later as a guy named Boo. I do think it’s kind of funny that there’s a guy named Bubba in Chapel Hill, so I don’t know where Boo and Bubba fit in, but I think it’s … Yeah, exactly. A comedy routine somewhere.

Randy Woodson:             I told Boo that my father was the seventh of seven children, and his name that followed him through life was Squirt. So he got the better end of the deal.

Boo Corrigan:                    Yeah, I’ll take Boo over Squirt. I will. Thank you.

Reporter:                            Boo, you’ve talked about your love for the ACC. I got a little choked up seeing you get emotional about the ACC, but obviously the league as it currently stands is not the league that you grew up in. How did the conference as it stands right now? Sort of what’s your assessment of the conference that you’re entering both in NC State’s position to compete in it, and it’s position in the larger landscape of college athletics?

Boo Corrigan:                    Yeah, I think from a competitive standpoint, you know, whenever it continues to grow and you look at the commitment of those schools it’s going to be tougher and tougher as you go through it, which makes the … At the end of the day, you’re in the people business, right? It’s really what you are and it’s about hiring good coaches. And I think there’s a great group of coaches here, so from a competitive standpoint, I think the focus will always be there. What resources you’re providing them, from the standpoint of facilities, from the standpoint of travel, from the standpoint, you know as nutrition becomes more important, I think there’s that aspect of it as well.

Boo Corrigan:                    But yeah, it does look different but the whole landscape of college sports looks different than it did. I think at the time, we made the decision awhile back at West Point to go into Conference USA. And choose to go there for awhile and get out and it’s just, it’s an ever-evolving process of college athletics. Love where NC State is right now, primarily because of the leader who each time when I met with a coach, they continually came back to Chancellor Woodson and his incredible support of the people at NC State and the commitment he has to the people here, primarily the students.

Reporter: Boo there are a lot of kids that follow in their parents’ footsteps into what career they want to go into. What do you take away from your dad that you try to apply in your current position as the Director of Athletics and a leader of people?

Boo Corrigan:                    A lot. You know. I mean, a whole lot. I’ve been around it, I’ve been around him. He had two phrases that he used to tell all seven of us. And one was, “It’s better to remain silent and appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Was one of them. And the other one that I really do take to heart is, “Take your job serious, but not yourself.” And I think that’s something that, the job is a big job and we were jokingly talking the other day and Chancellor Woodson looked at me and said, “Your kind of a big deal.” And I said, “Well the job is.” So you know, it’s always been that aspect of it.

Boo Corrigan:                    The other thing that I’ve really learned was my dad was in the Army. He was an E-5 in the Army during the Korean War. And just what I’ve learned at West Point, whether that’s from General Onture who hired me there, or whether it was General Caslen who I worked with for five years, or General Williams, who I work for now. And it’s that, I think Dad had a great humility about him as well and I think the ability to, you know you have to have an ego in these jobs to a certain level to even get to this point, but it doesn’t have to be what leads you through the door. And I think that’s kind of the other aspect of it. But I appreciate you asking about that. Thanks.

Reporter:                            Hey Boo.

Boo Corrigan:                    Hey.

Reporter:                            I’ve always wanted to say that.

Boo Corrigan:                    Hey Boo. Yeah, exactly.

Reporter:                            To Kill a Mockingbird.

Boo Corrigan:                    There you go.

Reporter:                            Talking about your dad’s conference, the old collegial ACC, it’s really not there anymore in a sense and that’s true probably of all college athletics. Money has become such a big deal now. The chase of money. But how have you seen the ACC from afar? How different is it now as you come into it, and how do you sort of see yourself handling a situation that’s so different from what your father dealt with?

Boo Corrigan:                    Well I think the key to what you said is seeing it from afar. You know, not really [inaudible 00:27:54]. Is a decision that you make, you know? [inaudible 00:27:54] the best that we had to offer there. And if there are disagreements to handle those the right way, you know and be a part of the solution as opposed to not being in there and trying to understand the landscape. And again, as I alluded to earlier, it’s an ever changing landscape that’s going on right now in college sports. And you know, at the end of the day, I think the ACC’s different.

Boo Corrigan:                    I think that academic piece is just so important. Five private schools in the ACC, you know when you look at the ratings, from a … Not that anyone cares about the US News and World Report, but when you look at those ratings and where the schools are, I think what you’re looking at are people that really care about the total person and care about the student athletes. And that’s kind of the core of who we are as a family and who we’ve always been. And again, I think that’s what the ACC is all about.

Reporter:                            Chancellor Woodson, there’s been a lot of great influential people to come through the athletic department at this university, Kay Yow and James T. Valvano to name two as we’re here in this building. Has Debbie Yow, in your mind, earned her place among that group with her legacy here?

Randy Woodson:             Without a doubt. Without a doubt. Debbie came in here at a time when NC State was not as competitive as we should be athletically. Certainly not as competitive in terms of the success of our student athletes in the classroom as we should be. Look at this building. Look at the indoor practice facility. Look at where we are as a university, athletically and academically. Debbie has played a big, big role in that and deserves her name among those that have transformed this place.

Reporter: Chancellor Woodson, one more question.

Randy Woodson: By the way this is a recruiting visit for his children and they’re out of school today on an official college visit.

Boo Corrigan: Yes.

Randy Woodson: So I did, just for the record, I did walk them through Talley and thank goodness someone said, “Great hire, Randy.” Whew. I mean, you know, you’ve got their kids with you, it could have-

Boo Corrigan: It could have gone the other way.

Randy Woodson: No.

Fred Demarest: Thank you very much for attending. We’ll have a break out session upstairs on the second floor.