Nikki Caldwell introduced at LSU

April, 4, 2011
4/04/11
6:13
PM PT
Former UCLA women's basketball coach Nikki Caldwell was introduced to the LSU media on Monday afternoon. Click here for the full video of her 29-minute press conference.

Caldwell said her assistants at UCLA -- Stacie Terry, Tony Perotti and Tasha Butts -- would also be joining her in Baton Rouge. That means UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero has to replace an entire staff.

Three noteworthy snippets:

On her decision to leave Westwood

I left a very special place. It's special in so many ways because of not only the people there, but when you look at the athletes that have come through that program -- Jackie Joyner Kersee, Arthur Ashe, Jackie Robinson -- to me it's just a deeper appreciation for where the women's game is today. Leaving there was hard because it is a special place where, historically, people who made movements in athletics attended. Obviously you can't say enough about what coach (John) Wooden has meant to so many of us. Having an opportunity to sit down with him is unreal. I can't even explain being able to talk with him and sit with him. I think the first time we met was at a gymnastics meet. Coach Wooden really had an influence on (Tennessee) coach (Pat) Summit and then obviously she's filtered that to us.

On what she noticed when LSU visited UCLA last season

Seeing them up close I knew this program would only be destined for greatness. The attraction goes deeper than just that -- I want to be planted here, I wanted this to be my home, I want to be a part of LSU's family for a long, long time.

On the difficulty of her move

It was back and forth. It's a tough decision because you've built relationships there and you recruited young ladies to come to that institution. They've been nothing but great to myself and this staff. It was a tough decision to make when that's your first head coaching job. The intent is never that you want to leave. But when opportunities present themselves for yourself, for your family, you make the best decision you can for those reasons. I definitely don't want -- and I'm just going to say this -- to ever have to go through that again.

Blair Angulo | email

Reporter, WeAreSC.com

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