AMES — During new Iowa State basketball coach Steve Prohm’s introductory press conference last week, the ripe Cyclone coach choked up, looked at his wife and infant son and proceeded to thank them for allowing him to live his dream.
What exactly is Prohm’s dream? Is it coach at Iowa State? Is it to lead a high-major program?
None of the above.
Prohm’s simple motivation for taking the Iowa State job should get fans excited.
When asked exactly what that dream is, Prohm immediately began talking about Final Fours. That’s what is on his mind. That’s why he is here.
“You can get to the Final Four at Murray State. There’s no question about it,” Prohm said. “We had a team that had a chance my first year and this team, to be honest, that I coached last year, if we could have got in we could have made a run.”
Point taken. But there’s no doubt that at a school like Iowa State, your chances of making it to that level are higher on a year in, year out basis than playing in the Ohio Valley.
“This opportunity gives you a chance to get to the NCAA Tournament and compete for national championships,” Prohm said. “There’s Big Monday, the whole thing. This is what it’s about. As a competitor, you want to compete night in and night out against the best to see what you can do against Kansas, Oklahoma, State, Baylor, Texas and all of the great schools in the Big 12.”
The Big 12’s high-major status was a sticking point for Prohm. He no longer has to worry about being in a one-bid league. The days of fretting about going 16-0 in league play, losing on a buzzer beater in the title game the conference tournament and being shut out of the Big Dance (that’s what happened to Prohm’s 2014-15 Murray State club) no longer exist. Not at Iowa State. Not in the Big 12.
“The conference tournament will probably have a lot less pressure,” Prohm joked. “I’ll tell you what, if you have never coached at the low-major level in a conference tournament, that’s pressure. It is great being in a power conference where you want to get in the tournament, get a good seed and put yourself into a position to make a run.”