STATESBORO, GA - Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Jared Benko formally introduced new men's basketball coach Charlie Henry to Eagle Nation this afternoon at an introductory press conference and welcome event in Hanner Fieldhouse.
More than 150 fans and media were present as Coach Henry, his wife, Teisha, son, Nash, and daughter, Dixie Grace, were introduced at the press conference. Benko talked about the hiring process, and Henry expounded on his vision for the program. Below is an excerpt of the remarks from both Benko and Henry.
You can watch the full archive of the introductory press conference here.
"We talked to people all throughout college basketball, professional basketball, scouts, you name it. We turned over every stone. And the one reoccurring theme that kept coming up was Charlie Henry, Charlie Henry, Charlie Henry. And so as we went through the process and really dove deep into Charlie and his background and utilizing analytics and talking to all types of people in the industry, he became a major candidate for us."
"Here's what I want to share here. Charlie wanted to be an eagle. That's really important. He wanted to be an Eagle, and he shares our vision for comprehensive excellence, and we are aspiring and continue to work towards being the premier athletic department in the Sun Belt and among the elite in the country. Charlie has many outstanding qualities. He's an elite basketball mind - elite. He's a progressive in his approach to game planning and style of play. They're doing stuff at Alabama that other schools aren't doing. We're really excited about bringing that style of play to Statesboro. He's detailed and uses advanced analytics, that's that NBA background that brings it to the table. He's bright, he's personable and he's engaging. He has incredible drive and an uncanny work ethic. He's a high-character leader with integrity. I know that ultimately Charlie will be evaluated based on how our basketball program does, but if the last 48 hours are any indication, we could not have found a better fit for the Eagles. I've heard from countless individuals about the impression he's already made on them. Charlie already is where college basketball is heading. And for the Eagles, that future is right now."
"Georgia Southern - people, purpose, action. Growing ourselves to grow others. I've always prided myself on being a lifelong learner, and at Georgia Southern, I feel honored to be a part of this great team. I want to specifically thank all the people that have gone out of their way to call, send texts and make myself and my family feel so welcome. Shifting gears to basketball - at Georgia Southern, we have a rich basketball tradition to live up to with greats like Tookie Brown, Michael Curry, who I spoke to this morning, and my guys see why, and legendary coaches like Coach Kerns. Former players, this is your program. We are going to celebrate you and welcome you back with pride and admiration in our hearts. I personally look forward to working with Coach Backus, who I got to see earlier today, to help foster those relationships. We're going to work really, really hard to give you all, and especially our former players, a program that they can be proud of."
"There's got to be more to it, though, than wins and losses, right? There's got to be more to it. Obviously, the unforgettable moments of triumph, the depths of despair after defeat. I'm a little bit old fashioned, but I still believe in the college experience. I still believe in the overall student-athlete college experience - young men leaving their families to become a part of my family, the Statesboro community, and to leave with a second home. The effectiveness of the job we do won't consist exclusively of wins and losses. We don't run from the fact that we'll be evaluated by wins and losses, but we're also going to evaluate what type of student-athletes we are producing for this University, what type of contributors we are producing for the overall Statesboro community, and are they better for their time having spent inside this program and at Georgia Southern? Five, 10, 15 years down the road, are they good fathers and husbands? That's ultimately going to be the final count in our scorecard."
"Lastly, I just want to reiterate. I can't tell you how proud I am to be standing up here in front of you today. All the thanks I've given out, I meant every word of it. We're going to work extremely hard, all right, with this current group of guys, we're going to work extremely hard to add the right guys, and as I said earlier, build a program that we can all be proud of. Which leads me with I guess one thing left to say. Hail Southern!"
Men's basketball 2023-24 season ticket renewals and season ticket reservations began today and can be made by calling 800-GSU-WINS or emailing tickets@GeorgiaSouthern.edu. Pricing starts as low as $100 for general admission seating, upper reserved seats are $150 and lower reserved seats are $195. Courtside seats are $550 with a minimum donation of $1,200 to the 2023-24 annual fund, and premium parking can be purchased for $100 with a minimum donation of $300 to the 2023-24 annual fund.