March 6, 2014
Manager of Communications and Media Relations For Yankee Stadium Events Kenny Leandry
"Good morning folks. Welcome to Yankee Stadium everyone. When I first walked into the room today one of the first things that got my attention was the familiar faces that I've seen in the stadium over the past few weeks, especially some of the members of the media. To make today's announcements I'd like to introduce the Athletic Director for Army Mr. Boo Corrigan, the head football coach for Army Mr. Jeff Monken, the Athletic Director for the University of Connecticut Mr. Warde Manuel, the head football coach for the UConn Huskies Mr. Bob Diaco and the Executive Director for non-baseball events Mr. Mark Holtzman. Gentlemen thank you feel free to make your comments at your respective seats."
UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel
"I want to thank the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family and Mark and John for putting this game together here. It started with a conversation with Boo and Army four or five months ago. We were excited about the possibility of the game being here at Yankee Stadium. I'm excited about the opportunity to face Jeff and his Army team. He is a new coach and I have a new coach. There are a lot of parallels with our programs. This is going to be a great series and our fans are excited to play Army at Yankee Stadium as well as when they come to Hartford to play us. We look forward to being here in New York in November. As always it will be special as a proud son of an Army sergeant. It's a team you root for when you're not playing against them. I have a coach here who has been working so hard to invigorate the culture of our student athletes. In Bob Diaco, I think I have a special coach, who has brought a sense of pride and determination for the game of football and life."
On if this opens up possibilities down the road at Yankee Stadium:
"We've had a discussion with Army about this series and in the discussion about the home-and-home they wanted to make sure that moving their game to Yankee Stadium would be ok with us and I said it would be great. Part of it is that that they had two great sites to pick. Both places have a rich, deep heritage in America for what they mean. I've been assured by those on my staff who love the Red Sox that they will be working that day. We understand the importance of the opportunity for us to be down here. As for future games, I'm open to many different discussions. Playing in your home base is always important to teams and fans so we will continue the discussion to look at opportunities. I want to make sure that our team and our fans have a great opportunity at home as well. I'm open to discussions moving forward. I'm looking forward to this because we have great fans in New York and we have a great fan base. Our fan base in Connecticut has shown that it will travel in drones down to New York City and across the country. I think they'll be excited to come here."
UConn football coach Bob Diaco
"I'd like to thank the University of Connecticut for having the opportunity to be here and represent the state as a representative of their football team. When you talk about pride and passion you're talking about the Yankees. I grew up a Yankees fan and my family has had Yankees tickets forever and still does. To be in this stadium is surreal and a great opportunity, and then to join the three brands, the Yankee brand, the UConn brand and the West Point brand is just great. What a service to the tri-state area that the Yankees do to have the facilities open to all these different sporting events. In 2010 when I was at Notre Dame we took our team here to play Army so I've been here with a football team, and I saw the glimmer in the athletes' eyes as they entered the stadium. It's a life moment and something that adds so much to an athlete's time spent. It's a fantastic opportunity. The team is training hard. They have great focus and spirit and they want to be good. We're a process goal organization and we want to go to bed better than we woke up that morning. UConn Husky football is proud and honored to be playing on November 8th against the Knights and coach Monken and it's going to be a great time."
With the rich history of Yankee Stadium, is there any added pressure and how do you plan to handle that?
"I think from my perspective, having that opportunity as a player to compete at that level and then as a coach, an assistant coach and now as a head coach taking a team in, in my experience I find that the more you try to sequester the young men, the more anxious they get. We have to embrace this. We have to take it in and soak it in and let it become something that becomes an energizer for the team and not something that creates anxiety. It would be the same thing going to West Point. I was on a staff that took a team into West Point. We got there early and took a tour of the campus with the team. It was fantastic and the next day we played the game. It's about the game. They're going to be excited and prepared to play the team. At the end of the day, all this stuff wears off after about two minutes. You take on, you weather, you attack for the initial surge and after that the game settles into itself."
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