AMES — Paul Rhoads laughed before expressing his disappointment.
Iowa State’s seventh-year football coach spoke on this morning’s Big 12 teleconference and responded to questions about his day-old firing.
“We’re disappointed,” Rhoads will coach the final game of the season Saturday at West Virginia. “We’ve accomplished a lot here at Iowa State in our seven years and we’ve got a good young team with a great nucleus of talent and leadership and we were looking forward to the opportunity to coach them as we headed into 2016.”
Despite all that, Rhoads added that he’s not surprised his dismissal happened.
“It’s a bottom-line business and everyone in this profession well knows that,” Rhoads said. “We accept it very openly when we get into it.”
Rhoads also said he doesn’t expect his last game to lead to any mental blocks for his Cyclones (3-8, 2-6) as they prepare to face the Mountaineers (6-4, 3-4) at 11 a.m. Saturday in Morgantown.
“I don’t believe it will be a distraction,” Rhoads said. “I think anytime there’s change and a finality to something it’s hard. Different personalities accept it and deal with it in different ways, but I think our team, as they have been all season, are very dedicated to our preparation and one last opportunity to go out and play as a team and be successful as a team. It probably helps that there’s no school going on and they’re going to spend a great amount of time together this week. We want it to be an enjoyable week as we finish out the 2015 season and they’ll come to work every day distraction-free and read to prepare and win.”
As for going out with a win, Rhoads said that matters to the team, not merely to him.
“It won’t be important for me personally,” Rhoads said. “It will be important for the players and especially the senior class. There’s no hiding the fact we had some internal issues in our program in ’13 and ’14 that needed resolved and this senior class in large part has helped resolve that. I’d love nothing more than to see them go out as winners and with success. How that fits for me personally doesn’t (matter). This has always been about the kids and always will be.”