When now-former North Carolina assistant coach Jerod Haase left the Smith Center offices on Monday, he said he ran into Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith.
“Seeing all this tradition, the opportunity I had there, I left there [thinking] … ‘It’s my time to go,’” Haase said during the news conference Tuesday to introduce him as UAB’s new head coach, according to a transcript from The Fayetteville Observer. “While I’ll miss everything at Carolina, and I always miss things at Kansas, it’s my time and I will never look back. I will be 100 percent committed to UAB with obviously an appreciation for North Carolina, Kansas and Lake Tahoe.”
Haase, who played for coach Roy Williams at Kansas, then coached under him with the Jayhawks and UNC, was emotional during the news conference, especially about leaving his North Carolina family.
“I also want to thank Coach Williams. Without getting into too much detail, when I left his office [Monday], I told him I’d have to leave and not talk, because I can’t do it. He’s been great to me."
He added: "So why this job, why this time I think is an important question. I think it’s very easy. Back at Carolina, I think everybody in this room understands that it’s a tremendous opportunity, the best assistant coaching job in America working for the best coach, the best program, maybe along with Kansas, and a great place to live. The people there, the assistant coaches and the staff there, are family. C.B. McGrath on my staff, on staff, I’ve known him longer than my wife. I introduced him to his wife, and I’ve probably spent more time with him than I have my own mother. To leave that family is not easy.
“But I told [UAB officials] in the interview, UAB is a job I’d walk to, and I would. It has everything I need that we can be successful. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”
Haase agreed to a five-year contract that will pay him $475,000 annually with incentives, according to The Birmingham News.