By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Bill Fennelly coached his first game at Iowa State way back on Nov. 24, 1995. You won’t be surprised to read that Fennelly’s Cyclones won that contest over the mighty Bengals of Idaho State, 82-55.
Now here we are on Nov. 15, 2010, two Elite Eight berths, three Sweet 16’s, 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament and a two Big 12 Tournament championship’s later at win number 500, as Iowa State avenged last year’s loss and beat Drake 64-46 on Monday night.
“There are so many people who have allowed me to be and do what I want to do,” an emotional Fennelly said after the game. “I was nervous because I really wanted to win here because I wanted my family, my parents, my brothers, in-laws and so many people who have affected my life to be a part of it.”
One word sums up Bill Fennelly’s coaching career. Passion.
As fun as it is to watch his teams play, it’s maybe even more enjoyable for me personally to watch Fennelly do his thing on the sidelines.
Let me explain. I am about ready to compare Fennelly to ESPN college football commentator and former coach Lou Holtz. Bear with me for a minute because I swear this will make sense when I wrap it up.
Unlike many, I tend to appreciate Holtz on ESPN. Skeptics out there like to poke fun at the 73-year old man’s job performance and I guess that I don’t blame them. If it were physically possible, I guarantee that Dr. Lou would spit on your television screen from within it, if that makes any sense at all.
But I am a notorious Holtz defender. I do this because I really respect people who live their lives with passion. When I am 73, I hope that I have that sort of passion for anything, whether if it has to do with college football or square dancing with my wife.
Now re-enter Bill Fennelly into this picture. Have you ever seen anybody do anything with the amount of passion that this guy has for coaching and Iowa State University?
There is no match. In that category, Fennelly stands alone. For that, he is a Cyclone legend.
It seems like Iowa State coaches come and go on an annual basis anymore. How many coaching searches have you gone though as a fan over the last decade? For the last 16 years, there has been one rock inside of Iowa State’s athletic department.
That is Bill Fennelly and we’re beyond lucky to have him.
On behalf of the thousands of Cyclone fanatics out there, congratulations coach and most of all, thanks for the memories!
Oh yeah…A game did take place on Monday night as well. Here are some notes from Iowa State’s 64-46 win over Drake.
– Kelsey Bolte scored 16 points while going 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Bolte’s season average is currently at 20.5 ppg. She is now tied for eighth with Tara Gunderson on Iowa State’s all-time scoring chart.
– Junior point guard Lauren Mansfield has 17 assists through the first two games of this season. She also scored a career-high 11 points against the Bulldogs.
– Freshman Hallie Christopherson has been a monster on the glass for Iowa State through two games. The rookie out of Exira, Iowa grabbed 14 rebounds on Monday after snagging five in Saturday’s win over Western Illinois.
– Fennelly is the 41st Division 1 coach, 24th active Division 1 coach and 47th coach at all NCAA levels to reach the 500-win plateau.
– Up next for the Cyclones is another in-state contest. This one against Northern Iowa on Sunday. The Cyclones and the Panthers will tip at 3 p.m. inside of UNI’s McLeod Center.