Tuesday Musings: 5-22 Edition

By Chris Williams, PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

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Tuesday Musings? That just doesn’t roll of the tongue the same way…

My Monday consisted of participating in the annual Cyclone Sports Properties golf outing (otherwise known as a tough day at the office). These days are always fun. Sponsors show up with dreams of being paired with Fred Hoiberg or Jamie Pollard. Then they get stuck with Brent Blum (at least Blum is good at golf) and me instead!

Nonetheless, it was a gorgeous day to swing the sticks but I’m very glad to be back working today (and I’m not just saying that). I love what I do.

— After a month of being able to reflect on the past year that was at Iowa State, I feel like the current ownership team got into this game at the perfect time. At last night’s dinner following golf, I took a moment to look around the room.

I saw the man who I always refer to as the cornerstone of the Iowa State athletic department, women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly. The man spews passion for the cardinal and gold. Bill says what he thinks and does what he wants. He’s a hall of famer and a guy who I’ve always thought of as the perfect representative for Iowa State.

I saw Fred Hoiberg. Do I really need to analyze his first two season’s on the job?

Paul Rhoads wasn’t in attendance, but a table full of his assistants gave me similar feelings. Flashbacks of the Oklahoma State upset and two bowl games in three years immediately came to mind.

And then there was the man who originally had to be "out there" when he first got to town. You didn’t forget about the Cyclone billboard over in eastern Iowa did you? That’s Jamie Pollard.

In yet another offseason when conference realignment is on the brain (Iowa State is safe this team so relax), I think it’s fitting to take a look at how important quality leadership is within a university, a business, an organization or really, any type of group that you can think of really is. I read a column a few weeks ago that was investigating how Florida State’s athletic department got to where it is right now – in limbo and potentially looking to make a leap to the Big 12.

How did that football program drop from being a national power to one that just hoped to reach six or seven wins in a ridiculously weak ACC (that’s gone 2-13 in BCS games) on an annual basis? It wasn’t Bobby Bowden’s fault. Bowden, a legend who I’m a huge fan of, wasn’t going to walk away. It’s not in his DNA to do something like that. Sometimes, leaders have to make tough (a little bit like Dan McCarney’s departure from Iowa State) and unpopular decisions. As much as it pains me to admit, Bowden probably should have been shown the door years before. But that’s just a small example of the broad point that I’m attempting to make.

Wins and losses are important, no doubt. But quality leadership, fundraising and most importantly, a vision are critical, especially at a place that faces so many built-in challenges like Iowa State. I started covering Iowa State athletics in the year 2004. At that time, the basketball team practiced in State Gym (Yes – The same State Gym that the legendary Gary Thompson used to play in). On a cold day, football was forced to practice in the Leid Rec Center (shaking my head).

Jamie Pollard was hired in 2005.

In 2006, Iowa State’s athletic departments total revenue reached just over $32 million dollars. Fast forward to 2011 and that number was nearly $49 million.

In 2006, athletic department contributions were just under $4 million. In 2011, that number was just over $11.5 million. (CLICK HERE to see where I’m getting these stats)

You don’t make that kind of progress over the span of five years without quality people leading the way.


I’m not going to spend too much time on this today. There’s no doubt that the Big 12 pairing itself with the SEC was a shrewd move that solidifies the league for years to come. But I really don’t see any sort of a scenario at all, even if the Florida State’s and the Clemson’s of the world come our way, that there will ever be some sort of playoff where only four conference champions can compete for a national title.

So you’re going to tell North Carolina and Virginia (or Louisville, or Boise, keep naming schools) that they can never play for a national championship, regardless of how good their teams actually are? That will not happen.

Speaking of Louisville, how upset are you right now if you’re a Cardinals fan? It came down to you and West Virginia to join the Big 12 a year ago. You JUST missed out. You were patient. You were confident that the Big 12 would eventually add you to the mix. And now Florida State, Clemson (and Notre Dame) want in? Who would of thought that was even possible a year ago?

The above note was a hypothetical. Everything in this conference realignment is hypothetical.

Texas is like the stud high school quarterback who just won’t leave the hot cheerleader alone. Notre Dame is that cheerleader who is playing hard to get. Texas just won’t give up though will he? Texas loves Notre Dame. As Forest Gump would say, "Texas and Notre Dame are like peas and carrots." Iowa State can’t really appreciate or understand what it’s like to be Notre Dame. But Texas can…

According to a report on Sunday, Clemson had agreed "in principle" to join the Big 12. Uh huh.

Yesterday I read a report that stated Florida State’s move to the Big 12 was "inevitable." Interesting…

Quick question: What happens if these "reports" are wrong? Will somebody please hold these throwing crap against the wall "bloggers" accountable?

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Have a fantastic week Cyclone Nation.