New Times: There are rumors that local residents raised money the money to buyout Cal Poly’s men’s basketball head coach Kevin Bromley from his contract. Is this true?
Cone: I have not heard that. We used non-state funding: a combination of ticket sales revenue, NCAA money, and donations to buyout Bromley’s contract.
New Times: Bromley only had one year left on his contract, why did he go a year before his contract was to expire?
Cone: I don’t discuss personal decisions with the media.
New Times: Was there pressure from the community to oust Bromley?
Cone: There is always pressure to make a decision with my job, but I didn’t base my decision on community pressure. I evaluated the program and thought it was in the best interest of the university to make a change. But not everything was broken. Bromley is a good person who did a lot of good things. His heart was in the right place.
New Times: How far along are you in finding a replacement for Bromley?
Cone: We’ve met with a number of applicants and we are hoping to make a decision sometime this week.
New Times: Why would someone want to coach at Cal Poly, which is ranked near the bottom of all basketball programs after so many losing seasons?
Cone: We had tremendous interest in the position. Cal Poly is a great school to recruit student athletes because of our academic reputation and beautiful location. It’s a great college town with a community that is really supportive of its athletic programs.
New Times: What is the difference between Bromley, whom you let go, and head football coach Tim Walsh whom you hired this year to replace Rich Ellerson after he was let go by Army (the United States Military Academy at West Point) for their failure to overturn the struggling program?
Cone: You have to understand that he was an assistant coach at Army and he had 21 months. If you look at his record he had been a successful head coach before that.
New Times: How much time are you willing to give the new basketball coach to overhaul the program?
Cone: There is a lot that I look at that signifies progress. Yes, progress is measured by wins and losses, but there is more to that. I’m looking for someone who will build up the program and that takes time.
New Times: With Bromley out, you are again undergoing a huge hiring process in one academic year. Walsh being the first after Rich Ellerson left for Army. How has the hiring process been for you?
Cone: Hiring is an interesting process. It takes up a lot of time; you make a lot of phone calls and who have to do some investigating. It’s funny. You find out you have a lot of friends when you’re hiring. But hiring is the most important part of my job because the coaches I hire are the people who work with the student athletes.
New Times: You said Bromley is a good person. Can you tell me what it is like to let go of people who you consider good people?
Cone: It’s hard to do because you are dealing with people with feelings and families. It’s not the best part of this job.