``This wasn't a horse race. This is the guy right here. He knows the Komet way, and he understands what needs to be done in the ECHL.
``We have done a tremendous amount of scouting since Feb. 1 in the ECHL and the AHL, and we feel that we are totally prepared moving into the 2013-14 season.
``In the long run, his knowledge of the Komet operations is immense. He knows the way things are done here. He knows what the fans expect, and that's very, very important. He understands that our fans want to see a team that gives 110 percent every night. He's got the wherewithal in his arsenal of recruiting to be able to hold players accountable, and if they aren't giving 110 percent they aren't going to be here very long.
``Recruiting is his strength. The bottom line is Gary will work hard every day. He wants to better himself, and my hope for him is that he's very successful here and that he can move up the ladder down the road.
``He knows the Komet way and that's very, very important. There's a lot of learning curve coming into a job like this, and he's going to cut that learning curve probably by 90 percent. He's excited to be here. This is like a dream job for him, and now it's up to me and Dave to make sure that he's successful as coach of the Komets. I have all the confidence in the world that he'll do that.
``We talked to a lot of candidates, and how can you overlook what he has accomplished for us here, and then what he did last year by basically taking a head coaching job, constructing a team, Fort Wayne ripped it apart with some other teams, he got guys to come in and fill the bill for him, and to me more impressively, guys wanted to go back when their season was over and win a championship with Gary.''
``He has a passion for the game which all the Frankes do. We have a great relationship with him in the four years that he was here with the Komets. He knows the type of team that we want, the style of play that we want, and it fits how he wants to build his team. We know him, he knows us. He knows what being a Komets coach is all about. He understands the pressures. He was through the pressures with us as an assistant and last year in Pensacola. I think he'll do fine.
``I've had a couple of meetings with him over the last couple of weeks or so. I think it's going to be a process now of getting on the phone. Gary has a strong work ethic. He's very well-spoken, and he'll be a great representative of the Komets. I think any player coming to Fort Wayne this year whether it be a returning player or new players will be in for an exciting ride with Gary because he's a winner, and I'm hoping he'll turn us back into a winner, too.
``Gary learned a lot from the Komets organization.... I think the synergy that Gary and myself have, the relationship that we have, the passion we have for the Komets is going to bode well for us.
``He was the front-runner all along. He lives and breathes hockey. His age, I think is a benefit. He's got his whole coaching future ahead of him. He's not tired or burned out, he's not anything but energy, energy, energy, and he knows how to translate that into what he wants his players to do. Our guys who were with us at the end of the season last year, they left early to get back to Pensacola because they wanted to help Gary win a championship. I think that speaks volumes about a coach. We weren't going to make the playoffs, and they could have made a little more money here by finishing out the season, but they wanted to go back and help the coach and win a championship. That says a lot about who Gary is.''
Neither Franke would comment on who else was a candidate for the position.