It feels like only yesterday since Iowa State had its basketball program turned upside down by the departure of Fred Hoiberg. After all, Hoiberg wasn’t the Mayor of Ames for no reason. Really, honestly, what Hoiberg did for the university was incredible. Between helping to put it on the map of being a national contender on a yearly basis, to changing the expectations we have for it year over year, Hoiberg is a state hero.
However, when handsome Fred Hoiberg left for the Chicago Bulls, personally leaving a void in my now cold heart, it put Iowa State in the precarious position of finding themselves an admirable replacement very late in the offseason game.
Hiring a new coach in June isn’t exactly easy. The potential downfalls are more likely than any type of positive outcomes. Hiring the new coach can result in the fan base becoming disenchanted if he’s not perceived to be nearly as good as the former coach; players transferring out of the school because he’s not “their guy”; as well as incoming recruits bolting from their commitments because of a possible change in style of play.
That’s all fair, too. Those aren’t made up scenarios facing a university when changing head coaches. Especially when, in Iowa State’s case, the coach who left was the literal embodiment of all things related to the program.
With that being said, it seems like the Cyclones may have come as close to hitting a home run this last in the game as possible.
Reports have now surfaced that the Iowa State Cyclones are going to bring Steve Prohm in as their new head coach. For those unaware, Prohm is a very capable young coach, who has had rather wild success with the Murray State Racers.
In only four years with Murray State, Prohm has amassed an overall record of 104–29 (.780), while making the NCAA Tournament once.
Now, while only making one appearance in the Big Dance in four years might not scream “he’s the man for the job”, let’s remember that his resume (below) should speak volumes considering he’s done it at a mid-major level, — with limited resources:
- OVC Regular Season Championship (2012, 2015)
OVC West Division Championship (2013, 2014, 2015)
OVC Tournament Championship (2012)
CIT Champions (2014)
The important next step for Steve Prohm is attempting to keep as much of Hoiberg’s previous staff as possible. While some will, likely, go to the NBA with Hoiberg, Prohm would be wise to keep as many as possible, if only to limit players transferring out and putting a preventive stop to whichever recruits might look at this change as a reason to decommit.
Over the next few hours, days, and even weeks, Prohm will have to adapt to a new world. One in the Big 12, where expectations are the highest he has ever met as a head coach, and a land long dominated by the Kansas Jayhawks — the latter being something even the mighty Hoiberg fell to tackle completely.
How he handles it will be interesting to see. Will he fold under new pressures, be able to recruit at a major-conference level, and will he adapt his system to his players or force them to player under his — are merely some, of the many, questions looming in the incredibly early stages of the Prohm era.
That said, again, it can’t be understated: Finding a replacement equal in stature or perception to that of Fred Hoiberg in the late stages of the game (in June!) was near impossible. We shouldn’t judge this hire in the Hoiberg vacuum anyway. We already know the outcome if we chose to do so. Steve Prohm will unlikely be as beloved as the Mayor, maybe not as successful either, but that doesn’t mean he will be a failure in continuing the foundation of success that was built by his predecessor.
Regardless of those obstacles, there might not be a better — realistic — hire than Prohm, and it seems as though Iowa State may have kept itself relevant in the post-Hoiberg era. In June, well, that’s all you can really ask for at this point. When the new players need to be recruited, a different system has to be implemented, and the games are needed to be played, though, are a different story altogether.
Welcome to Iowa State, Steve Prohm. All you need to do is equal, if not surpass, one of the state’s most beloved natives. No pressure or anything — except… all of it.