Jerod Haase was officially welcomed as Stanford Men's Director of Basketball on Monday.
Accompanied by his wife, Mindy, and children, Gavin (9), Garrett (6) and Gabrielle (4), Haase was introduced to the media by Director of Athletics Bernard Muir at a morning press conference at Kissick Auditorium.
"It just became clear that this was going to be the right fit for us," said Muir, who presented Haase with a basketball and Cardinal jersey with his name on the back.
Afterward, a public reception was held at Dallmar Court, where the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band greeted him by playing "All Right Now," and the spirit squad danced. Red and white balloons hung behind the podium, and the Haase kids seemed mesmerized by the Tree.
"My son (Garrett) loved it," Haase said. "He's already drawn a picture of the Tree dancing."
Former Cardinal basketball player and current radio analyst John Platz held a Q&A with Haase attended by several hundred fans and ex-players, including Earl Koberlein, David Moseley and Taj Finger.
"The email and texts between the (former) players has been going all day," said Finger. "I look forward to meeting him."
Haase, who turns 42 on Friday, struck the right chord with the crowd.
"We're going to take the challenges head on," he said. "This is a place where you can make something special happen. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could get it done."
Haase is working hard to assemble his coaching staff and has already spoken to several former Stanford players about joining him. He has also been in touch with recruits and hits the recruiting trail on Tuesday.
"I'll be heading to the Final Four, but before that I think I have about 7,000 miles of flights," Haase said.
The last few days have been a whirlwind for Haase and his family.
"It's been a wild 48 hours," he said. "Tons of phone calls, text messages and emails. I don't mind that. I love the idea of working hard, and I kind of like a little bit of chaos."
Haase and his wife made time Sunday for an Easter Egg Hunt.
"I hid a dozen eggs in our hotel room," said Haase. "The best part was it took them a long time to find that 12th one."
Haase can't wait to get started. He recently completed his fourth year as head coach at UAB, where he won the regular-season Conference USA Championship and guided the Blazers to a school-record 26 wins and a berth in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
A native of South Lake Tahoe, Haase will stress core values and is a big believer in character, toughness and discipline. He is excited, organized and confident.
"To say I'm humble about this opportunity would be an understatement," Haase said. "I'm not going to have to walk far around the hallways to meet the coaches and understand how many championships and how much success they've had, and I think I can lean on them and help grow the program. I genuinely feel I'm a good fit and I'm going to do my best to prove that."
The fiery and competitive Haase, who met with his team earlier in the morning, recruited Rosco Allen when he was an assistant coach for Roy Williams at North Carolina.
"They seem genuinely excited," he said.
Haase was a standout guard at South Lake Tahoe High, then played for one season at Cal before transferring to Kansas. He started 23 games as a freshman in Berkeley alongside Jason Kidd (1992-93), then started 99 of 101 games at Kansas, where he scored 1,264 points while helping lead the Jayhawks to three-straight conference titles. Haase concluded his Kansas career ranked in the top 10 in assists, 3-point field goals and steals.
A two-time Academic All-American, Haase earned a master's degree in business administration from Kansas and spent 13 years as an assistant coach for Williams with the Jayhawks and North Carolina.
"I love a quote Coach Williams used to use, 'Be led by your dreams, not pushed by your problems,' " said Haase. "I believe that can be a great motivating force and we're going to push that way."
Haase told the large media contingent that he has 25 championship rings dating to high school and made a great first impression on Tara VanDerveer, the Director of Women's Basketball.
"Good job, coach!" she shouted when he finished.
Haase's mother is a teacher and he is committed to academics and winning championships.
"The standard here is excellence," he said. "I wouldn't have considered the job if it was anything less than that. This university values the things I believe in."
In high school, Haase was recruited by then- Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery and attended summer camps. Haase had many national offers, but Stanford was his top choice.
"I never got that final offer," he said. "It was always a dream of mine."
Twenty-five years later, that dream has come true.
"I have a second chance at something very, very special," said Haase. "My goal is take advantage of it."