James Whitford has said repeatedly he loved being an assistant at Arizona, but he also admits actively looking to become a head coach elsewhere during his last couple years there.

That search officially ended on Wednesday as athletic director Bill Scholl and university president Jo Ann Gora introduced Whitford as the 19th head coach in Ball State history in front of a huge crowd in the Alumni Lounge. 

There was a buzz in the room as Gora opened with statements about returning the program to an era of greatness and Whitford certainly echoed that excitement.

“When the Ball State job opened up, my mouth was watering and I was itching in my seat to get the job,” Whitford said. 

Since getting into Muncie early this week, Whitford said he met with players on Tuesday and expects to meet with pending recruits Zavier Turner and Franko house in the next four days in an attempt to secure their commitments. 

His first couple weeks won’t be easy with him needing a staff and possibly two more scholarships filled before the season, but Whitford seemed poised and ready for the work load on Wednesday. 

“I think the combination of coaches I’ve been around and the great teams I’ve been on, it put me in position to be ready for this challenge here at Ball State,” Whitford said. 

Look for in-depth coverage with more quotes from Whitford and a former player in the Daily News on Thursday.