Tim Keating said it best yesterday after he was introduced as the 23rd head football coach in the 102-year history of Western Maryland College.
"I may have been the sixth seed, but I'm the one standing here," said Keating, who comes to Western Maryland after compiling a 27-22 record in five years at Division III Wesley College in Dover, Del.
Keating, 39, was considered one of the lower profile coaches among the final six candidates for the vacant Green Terrors position.
He didn't have the clout of a Dave Dolch (former Bowie State coach) or a Frank Tavani (offensive coordinator at Lafayette College), the two early front-runners for the job, and he probably couldn't match the credentials of a Walter Barr (former Shepherd College head coach) or a Mike Gibson (Colgate assistant).
And he didn't have the local connections of Johns Hopkins University assistant Bob Benson.
But Keating got the Division III job that became available when Dale Sprague resigned in early December.
"What threw me over the top [for the job] were my meetings with Dr. [school president Robert] Chambers and Dr. [athletic director Richard] Carpenter," said Keating. "The direction we're headed in at Western Maryland is in tune with today's young athletes.
"This is not the Vince Lombardi days, although I liked him a lot. But we can't tell a kid to run through a brick wall anymore. Those days are gone. This isn't the military. You have to approach kids honestly and be someone they can count on. You have to help them make it through four years of college."
That kind of low-key philosophy is exactly what Chambers and the Western Maryland search committee wanted when they set out to replace Sprague.
"In Tim Keating, we believe we have the diamond in the group of six outstanding finalists," said Chambers. "We were really impressed with how he turned the Wesley program around, not only in terms of winning games but in getting youngsters to graduate. When he took over that program, only one senior stuck it out four years, and when he left, he had 12 seniors on the team."
Chambers also said he liked the fact that Keating had been associated with outstanding academic institutions in his early days as an assistant coach.
"He was at Georgetown (D.C.), Penn and Rice before going to Wesley," said the president. "And at Wesley, he developed strong recruiting ties in the Dover area where we draw a lot of our students."
Keating, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., said people would find him to be a laid-back person "as long as I know what's going on. It's when people don't communicate that I get upset."
He said he respects the fact that youngsters are willing to give "their blood and bones" to play football for a school.
When asked what his goal for the Green Terrors was in the 1993 season, Keating sounded like the old breed of football coaches.
"I play the games one at a time," he said. "All I'm thinking about is beating Juniata in the opening game."