Williams Blog: Pollard had to act fast

By Chris Williams, Publisher

In todays blog, I want to address an article that was printed in today’s edition of the Des Moines Register.

Before you continue on with this blog, you should probably take a look at THIS LINK. It is a piece written by Tom Witosky, that essentially questions Iowa State’s hiring process last week in bringing Fred Hoiberg back to town.

Do I have a problem with the article? Not really. Witosky is just doing his job. So is the Des Moines Register. This type of stuff is what they do. I write articles like this, commentating on what they do. They dig, dig, and keep digging. I have no problem with that or Tom Witosky at all.

What I do have a problem with is one ridiculous quote in the article. It comes from Richard Lapchick, the director of University of Central Florida’s Devos Sports Business Management program.

"Athletic directors always want to move quickly with basketball and football coaches, but I disagree," Lapchick told the Register. "It seems to me that a better and greater field of candidates will get you a better coach almost every time."

Okay…I’ll buy that to a point. That goes for anything in life really. Competition equals success right? In football, if you have three really good quarterbacks battling for one spot, most of the time, the guy who comes out on top will perform better than if he knew he was the man at the beginning of spring ball. The other two players push him to be better.

In a regular coaching search, I think that the above quote would be accurate.

But think about this. Did Lapchick really have a clue as to what kind of shape the Iowa State men’s basketball program was in when he made that quote? Did he really have all of the necessary information available to him when he said that? That’s doubtful.

Because if Lapchick did have everything at his disposal, he would have known that this situation was way different than a normal coaching hire. Pollard had no choice but to move fast. The future of the program depended on it. Pollard did what he had to do and by doing so; Iowa State will have a chance to win in three years, as compared to six or seven.

Iowa State and Pollard didn’t have the luxury to pull an Oregon and take a month to make a choice. Had that happened, Iowa State could have legitimately run the risk of not having enough bodies to play ball next year.

Think about it. If Pollard would have elected to drag his feet and was still conducting a coaching search a week from now and if T.J. Otzelberger would have elected to leave the program, it is possible that all four Cyclone signees could have gone elsewhere. There’s a strong chance that a handful of Cyclones would have elected to transfer, or quit basketball all together.

That possibly could have left the next coach with three or four scholarship players in the middle of May. That is a nearly impossible situation to come back from.

So like any great athletic director in this country, Pollard made a quick move with the guy who was on top of his list. That happed to be one of the biggest names in Iowa State basketball history.

It isn’t like Pollard plucked some guy from the east coast in less than 24 hours. It’s Fred Hoiberg! The Mayor!

I give some mad props to Jamie Pollard. You think that Iowa State basketball has been bad over the past for years? Pollard’s quick move last week just might have saved Cyclone basketball from going into a state of irrelevancy that any of use could have ever imagined.

Pollard’s job is to run a healthy athletic department. A very important part of that department was on the line with this move. Pollard pulled the trigger quickly. He didn’t have a choice. I think it will pay off.