Wojcik says he will continue Charleston tradition

By Bruce Smith

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, April 4 2012 4:20 p.m. MDT

New College of Charleston men's basketball coach Doug Wojcik speaks after being introduced during a news conference at the school in Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, April 4, 2012.

Bruce Smith)., Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

CHARLESTON, S.C. — College of Charleston Coach Doug Wojcik said Wednesday his goal is to keep Cougar basketball on the national stage.

"The vision for me is that it's a national job," said Wojcik, who was introduced as the men's basketball coach coach following seven years at Tulsa where he was 140-92. "I feel very fortunate and I feel very privileged to uphold your history and your tradition."

Wojcik replaces Bobby Cremins who last month announced his retirement after he took a medical leave from coaching in January. Cremins' assistant Mark Byington coached in his absence and Cremins said he had every confidence in his young assistant.

But John Kresse, who during the 1990s took the Cougars to four NCAA tournaments and led them to two finishes in the final Top 25 poll, said that the three member search committee — of which he was a part of — went with Wojcik's experience.

"He brought us seven years of head coaching decision which was a factor with our committee's decision," Kresse said. "Mark was terrific candidate and he was one of the finalists but Doug's background and experience gave him the nod."

Kresse sat next to Cremins at the introduction of Wojcik who met with his new players Tuesday night. Cremins said he did not want to comment.

"They made that decision I don't think anyone is upset or anything like that. It is what it is but after the meeting last night everybody seemed fairly impressed," said Willis Hall, a redshirt junior on the team.

Wojcik said Charleston is among a group of smaller schools like Creighton and VCU that have made a name for themselves on the national stage.

"Winning the Southern Conference is certainly the first way to the NCAA tournament," he said. "To do that you have to win games, you have to schedule games you have to recruit good players. It takes a lot because you are competing with 30 schools for about five slots in terms of non-BCS schools getting into the NCAAs."

In addition to his head coaching experience at Tulsa, Wojcik has served as an assistant at such basketball powerhouses as Michigan State and North Carolina.

His wife, Lael, and two sons Paxson and Denham attended the introduction.

"Paxson, he studies everything and he looked at the schedule next year and he said 'Dad we got Louisville. We've got Louisville at home. If we win that game we can be an at large-team,'" Wojcik said.

Louisville made it to this year's Final Four.

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