Welcome to college athletics, Bobby Valentine
Then came the first question from a member of the southwestern Connecticut media: How does Valentine feel about those who might label his hiring as "kind of a joke."
"Ouch," Valentine said. "If it's a joke, it's an inside joke. I'm very serious about everything I do in my life. I deal with passion and commitment. I deal with excellence. I really didn't think I'd be insulted with the first question, but what the hell? I guess that's the way it goes."
Thus began the latest venture of the rest of Bobby Valentine's life: He will take over on July 1 as the executive director of intercollegiate athletics at Sacred Heart, a Division I university that fields 31 varsity teams -- 17 for women and 14 for men.
Valentine, 62, was most recently and disastrously the manager of the Boston Red Sox. He was fired in October after leading the Red Sox to a 69-93 record and last-place finish in the American League East in his only season with the club.
Valentine has also managed the Mets, Texas Rangers and Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan. He was an analyst on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" for one season. He spent a year and a half as the public safety director for his hometown of Stamford, Conn., where he also owns a popular sports bar. He will be hosting a baseball show for NBC Sports Radio this season.
"I'm a guy who loves to do things," Valentine said. "Hopefully, we'll laugh a lot, but it won't be because of anything except for a mutual understanding of the situation."
Valentine, who has never worked in college administration, said all of his "life's experience" has prepared him for this next challenge. He will be replacing Don Cook, who is retiring.
Valentine was pure "Bobby V" during his news conference / pep rally in the campus student center. He was well-spoken, funny, charming, irascible and boastful. He answered a question about how long he expected to work at the school with a joke about once having a lifetime contract in Japan that was the lifetime of the owner's dog.
He also said he isn't through being a big-league baseball manager.
"If some team calls, I always answer the phone," Valentine said. "That doesn't mean that I'm going to rush to judgment and run away from a situation I think is a very good situation."
And of his "silly" season with the Red Sox, which he has vowed not to talk about anymore? Valentine couldn't help himself.
"It's six months of a 62-year life," he said. "It's six months of a 42-year career in baseball. It's a blip. A little spot on the radar as far as I'm concerned. And I thought I did a hell of a job in Boston."