Reaction to Tulane's New Orleans Bowl bid

AP Photo
AP Photo

New Orleans, La. - Tulane announced Tuesday that the football team would be accepting an invitation to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl to face UL-Lafayette.  The December 21st matchup will mark the first postseason game for the Green Wave since the Hawaii Bowl in 2002.

The following are quotes from several parties involved in the announcement, as transcribed by Tulane Sports Information:

Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson

"Good morning. Thanks for coming on such short notice, everyone. This is especially rewarding considering the struggles and challenges this program has seen over the last decade. It's due to a lot of people's hard work, but none more so than the young men of our coaching staff and our head coach, Curtis Johnson, who are responsible for us being here this morning. This is a good day. We had this interesting plan, and I remember being on the bowl committee for Conference USA, and we said 'Wouldn't New Orleans be a great destination for a bowl.' Part of the voting was that we'd get to play in it all the time, but here we are some time later and it finally happened. We're extremely pleased for that. Having Paul (Valteau) and Ron Gardner from the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and of course the folks that we work with very closely in Jay Cicero and Billy Ferrante with the different events that we work together to bring to New Orleans.

"We're very comfortable in terms of what this announcement is and where we're going. We're especially pleased for our young men and the fact that all of our teams, our student-athletes, kids on our campus, family and friends of all of these young men and our fans that get this opportunity. The last time we made this announcement almost 11 years ago, we just got to stand up and tell everyone we were doing this but not hardly anyone got to go with us. That's obviously going to change. We're looking forward to seeing a great turnout of Tulanians. It's going to be a great day, and we're really honored and pleased to be able to kick off the bowl season.

"With that, I want to turn it over to the person responsible for this day, this invitation and the selection, and welcome Paul Valteau."

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Committee Vice Chair Paul Valteau

"I have to tell you this is about the fifth or sixth year that I've extended the invitation to the various schools that have participated in our bowl game, and this is without a doubt the most exciting one for me. What most people don't know is that I grew up on the corner of Willow and Soniat and from the 1950s on, some of my fondest memories are walking with my father to Tulane Stadium to see Tulane play. Since the day we started this bowl game, it has been one of my fondest hopes – to stand here and extend this invitation. I remember the Petitbon brothers – both John and Richie. I remember Boo Mason. I remember Bobby Duhon. I remember those two great victories over LSU. So it is with great joy and pride that I extend to you Athletics Director Rick Dickson, this invitation to the New Orleans Bowl. I would like to also say that it is indeed special knowing the path that you are leading Tulane on. For not only does the New Orleans Bowl and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, but I think I can talk for a large number of New Orleanians who would say to you that we don't believe New Orleans can be a great city without a competitive college football team. We thank you and congratulate you for your leadership and your guidance both with the Tulane Athletics program and with the great stadium you are in the process of building here in New Orleans. We look forward to great excitement, a great game, great leadership from Coach Johnson and, this year, a bowl game that breaks all of our records. Coach Johnson and Athletics Director Dickson, congratulations and welcome to the New Orleans Bowl."

Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson

"It's been too long. A lot of people have worked really hard for a very long time – a lot of young men, coaches before and others – to just keep up the program. We have survived at a time that maybe others wouldn't. For them, it's for them too because they've paid in some case some ultimate sacrifices. Those are the things necessary to achieve great things. In addition to that, you have to have great people. The person that is responsible for first bringing a great staff together here with him and getting a good group of young men…I can remember talking to Curtis in the three or four times that we did talk about coming and doing this job, and I said 'Curtis, the biggest challenge will be really in our own locker room and getting that group of young men who are here now to buy in, play and work at a level that they haven't been able to.' The results of how he and his staff have taken on that challenge is very evident today. It is with great pleasure to re-introduce to you the person responsible for why we are here today, Curtis Johnson."

Tulane Head Football Coach Curtis Johnson

"I stood up here once before being introduced, and I'm just telling you I was terrified. This was hard to me. I really have to thank Dr. Cowen for taking a chance on me. He's been a 100 percent supporter, especially with his hair. It's just been awesome. And then the guy I have to thank the most is Mr. Rick Dickson and his wife, Brenda, who really took me in. He's turned into Sean Payton. I'm like the little brother of the group now. I get calls from him. I get call from Sean all the time telling me stuff. But Rick has been outstanding. He's been awesome. The administration here has been phenomenal. The academic people have been awesome. Everybody who's been around, I just want to thank all of you people. But most of all, I want to thank the New Orleans Bowl. Out of all the colleges in the world, they chose us. I was telling the team earlier today that you guys are blessed that a bowl like the New Orleans Bowl is a fantastic place to have a bowl. It's home. You get the opportunity to play in front of all of your family and all of your friends. I just want to thank the New Orleans Bowl. Also, I really have to thank these assistant coaches. They've been fantastic. This is the best group in the world. I really appreciate them. I really love them. They stand up there and it's just a special bond when you have men who live by the rules of integrity, do it the right way, and they really, really love these kids. Most of all, I have to thank this team. When I first got here, I don't know what they thought. I don't know what they thought of me. I'm a little bit tough to deal with. You can ask my wife. I'm not the easiest person in the world to deal with. But you know what, I really have to thank this football team for coming together and having a great season like this. And guys, we're looking forward to doing this as many seasons as we can. Thank you."