Dannen leaves Tulane faithful laughing, excited at introductory news conference

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Troy DannenNEW ORLEANS – Troy Dannen is 1-0 as Tulane’s athletic director.

He didn’t just win his introductory press conference Friday inside the Glazer Club at Yulman Stadium. Weaving humor with a message of commitment to leading Tulane into a new era of success, Dannen turned in a dominating performance at the podium.

Now his next task is to extend that winning streak in the next few days when he introduces the Green Wave’s new football coach.

“It’s going to be as quick as it needs to be,” Dannen said of the search process. “When we find the right person, we’ll hire the right person. This is certainly the most important thing I will do in my career.”

Dannen will work in tandem with deputy athletic director Barbara Burke in finding Curtis Johnson’s replacement. In addition, Tulane also in the market for a new head volleyball coach.

“I want a football coach who’s going to make Saturday something you look forward to,” Dannen said.

When Dannen met with the search committee last month, the biggest question he wanted answered generated the response he wanted.

“I asked the question, ‘What do you want out of your athletic department?’” Dannen recalled. The consensus answer he got from the committee members was simple: “We want to win.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Dannen said. “I wanted to know that the institutional ego, that you have to have in everything, was there.”

Tulane is clearly prepared for Dannen to make a football hire in short order. The Glazer Club is remaining in its current set up, news conference style, for the next introduction; only the balloons and the photos on the video screens will need to be changed out.

Upon being introduced by Tulane president Michael Fitts, Dannen immediately invoked his sense of humor, directing a message to his two older children watching the festivities online back in Iowa.

“They may take exception to what you said,” Dannen said, smiling, “because that was the nicest stuff anyone has ever said about me.”

Dannen comes to Tulane after eight years in a similar role at his alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa. If the Tulane faithful in attendance didn’t know anything about the Panthers, he let them know one thing in a hurry – the school’s colors.

“I have a whole lot of purple and gold,” he said, “that everyone told me not to bring near this town.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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