AMES — Shortly before he hired Paul Rhoads in December of 2009, Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard picked up the phone and called Jerry Kill.
At the time, Kill was two years into his so-far successful tenure at Northern Illinois and a mutual friend – Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips – had reached out to Pollard to let him know of Kill’s interest in Iowa State’s open position.
As Pollard recalls, the phone call went something like this:
“I said, ‘Jerry, I’m calling you because we’re not going to hire you. I’m not even going to interview you. The reason I’m not is we just had a coach (Gene Chizik) leave and left a group of young men in the locker room after two years. You have just arrived at Northern Illinois and I can’t hire somebody who is going to do that to another group of young men.”’
That conversation between Pollard and Kill, who recently resigned from his position as the head coach at Minnesota due to health issues, started what Pollard referred to as a “bond of mutual respect” between the two.
“I admired him from afar,” Pollard said.
When the decision was made to fire Paul Rhoads eight days ago, Jerry Kill was one of the first people who Pollard called for advice.
“I think it was medicine for both of us,” Pollard said. “I had someone who didn’t have any bias in the process and I think it was medicine for him that he is still wanted in the profession.”
During Matt Campbell’s introductory press conference on Monday in Ames, Pollard also revealed that he had reached out to former Cyclone greats the best football minds I’ve met in 31-years of life, Ben Bruns and Sage Rosenfels.
Being somebody who greatly cares about the future of Iowa State football, knowing that Pollard reached out to (at least) three fantastic “football guys” relieved me greatly.
Iowa State legends like Bruns and Rosenfels deserve to have a say in the future direction and for me, this made a solid hire a super hire.
No drama on Saturday night
While Twitter and message boards were lighting up with rumors on Saturday night, Jamie Pollard was having a relaxing dinner with his buddies and Matt Campbell was already working for Iowa State.
Huh? But what about….?
“It was all signed,” Pollard said. “Dr. Leath flew over on Saturday night so that Matt could sign the offer officially with Dr. Leath there. I think that is very important for Matt, our president and for me that the highest paid employee at Iowa State University that the president was in the room for the actual signing.”
So none of that stuff about Campbell interviewing with Missouri was true?
“I don’t know how many of these searches have to happen for people to slow down on the – but it is never going to change,” Pollard said while laughing. “You guys do what you have to do and I get it. I would do the same thing too. I could write a book and every AD probably could on all of the information that is out there that isn’t true. But you do kind of sit back and laugh at it but I will say this, had I not got there and gotten it all done, then I would have been involved in the speculation because a whole set of my peers were going to be going through that where it is going to be intense stressful because you don’t know if it is true or not true.”
It looks like we all got worked up for nothing.