Monday Musings: June 4, 2012 Edition
By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
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Perfect fits are hard to find in life. In the world of sports, I've seen only a few of them in my 27 years on this planet.
When you find these rare matches, you have to lock them up before they become, well not so perfect. It's like any marriage really. A couple might be madly in love on the day that they tie the knot but as soon as one partner starts not appreciating the other, things can go south in a hurry.
I don't think it is any secret that Fred Hoiberg is a perfect fit as the head basketball coach at Iowa State. He's an Ames boy, Cyclone legend, has the NBA background and oh yeah, the guy can coach too.
Last week, Jamie Pollard and the Iowa State athletic department announced that Hoiberg had signed a new contract for eight-years and $1.5 million annually. In my mind, nothing about this contract was a big deal.
Fred took a lifeless program to the NCAA Tournament in two years. Hoiberg's 3-13 Big 12 season with Missouri Valley talent in his "rookie" coaching year was just as impressive. Not the 3-13 part but the fact that if a few missed Diante Garrett lay-ups would have dropped (and other circumstances too of course), that could have easily been a remarkable six-win conference campaign. Enough what if's though. What I loved about Hoiberg in year one was that no matter how much of a talent gap that team faced, those guys played their butts off for him.
When year two rolled around, we were supposed to see this major drop off in x's and o's due to Bobby Lutz's departure to N.C. State. What happened? Fred was named the Big 12's Co-Coach of the Year. Possessions out of timeouts, utilizing a freak of a 6-foot-7, 270-pound point/forward in Royce White and other accomplishments backed up this claim.
So when this new contract was announced last week, I have to admit that I was shocked when I turned on local sports talk radio the next day to actually hear a debate if it was the right thing to do or not. Now being in this business, I realize that it's often times hard to find legitimate local stories to break down in the middle of May. But I actually heard callers complaining about the deal!
To a person like the majority of you reading this, $12 million over eight years probably does seem like a lot of money. But in high-major college basketball, it isn't folks. With this new deal in which his salary was basically doubled, Hoiberg will still be one of the league's lowest paid coaches next season.
The deal was a no-brainer. Period.
Back to that perfect fit thing for a minute...Jamie Pollard makes less money at Iowa State than he could make somewhere else. As does Paul Rhoads. As does pretty much every single employee of that athletic department.
I think that in 20 years, a legitimate argument will be maid that Jamie Pollard was the most important individual to ever be at Iowa State. He's an out-spoken leader who understands the economics of college athletics as well as anybody in the country. At a cash-strapped institution that faces uncontrollable challenges daily, Pollard is perfect fit for Iowa State.
After being shunned and burned by some guy named Gene Chizik, Paul Rhoads revived Iowa State football with his passion for the job and a couple of bowl games. After three years, this emotional local guy appears to be a perfect fit for the Cyclone Nation.
There's Hoiberg, who I already made a case for.
And then there's the cornerstone of Iowa State athletics in one Bill Fennelly.
If you enjoy wearing the colors cardinal and gold, things are trending up right now folks. Consider money, facilities, Big 12 stability and everything up above, Iowa State is a pretty decent school to buy stock in right now.
ON IOWA STATE FOOTBALL...--- The Big 12's decision-makers got together in Kansas City last week. One of the hot topics was the future of the Big 12 conference and expansion. I'm not going to get into if the league should or shouldn't expand today, but I do have an opinion on the Big 12 having a championship game.
From an Iowa State perspective and that only, I absolutely like the idea of having one. I'm putting on my realist hat right now so if you don't like it, well tough.
The chances of Iowa State ever being in a position go go 11-1 or 12-0 (what it would take to get into this four-team college football playoff that is being discussed) are slim to none. If the same setup would have existed over the last 100 years in college football, I don't believe that Iowa State would have ever been invited to such a tournament.
However, Iowa State football has been within a game of playing in a Big 12 championship game multiple times and the thought of that happening again isn't crazy at all.
If I'm Oklahoma or Texas, I agree with the league's stance right now. That championship game does me no good at all. But If I'm Iowa State or Kansas State and want as much as exposure as possible, then the opportunity to play in a Big 12 title game on national television with major implications on the line is a very, very, very attractive thing to me.
--- I need to clarify something that I wrote around a week ago and got some backlash on. In a recent debate with my good friend Brent Blum, I commented that playing West Virginia in Ames in November is a good thing. I then received some wise guy responses about how West Virginia gets snow too, etc.
I know this. But my point is if you're going to play against an offense like that, I'd much rather do it on a cold/windy November Ames night than a mild September Saturday afternoon.
A stiff 30 MPH wind can mess with any quarterback, as can a field that's in rough shape. That was my point, not that West Virginia is some crazy warm weather state.
--- My best friend got married over the weekend so from Thursday afternoon until this morning at around six, I was basically unplugged. It absolutely KILLED me to miss this 2012 Cyclone Gridiron Club Coaches Cookoff.
Rumor has it that Iowa State's new secondary coach Troy Douglas won the event. Last year's champion Shane Burnham took home the coveted People's Choice Award.