Otzelberger announces staff changes, Schmidt promoted to assistant coach

Mar 25, 2022; Chicago, IL, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach T.J. Otzelberger yells during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes in the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State Head Men’s Basketball Coach T.J. Otzelberger has announced updates to his staff for the upcoming season.

Nate Schmidt has been promoted to assistant coach, filling the void after Daniyal Robinson was named head coach at Cleveland State. Former UNI assistant coach Erik Crawford has been named the director of player development, while graduate assistant Mo Ba has been promoted to assistant director of player development.

Schmidt returned to Iowa State last season as the recruiting and player development coordinator. He’s in his second stint on the Cyclone staff, as he previously served as a graduate assistant and coordinator of player development from 2014-17. Over the course of his four seasons at Iowa State, the Cyclones are 94-45 with four NCAA Tournament appearances.

“Nate has impacted Iowa State Basketball in a positive manner for a number of years,” Otzelberger said. “He’s served as a graduate assistant, video coordinator and director of player development. His ability to build relationships with student-athletes and unlock their potential is unparalleled. We are excited for Nate to excel in his new role as assistant coach.”

After leaving Iowa State, Schmidt was an assistant coach at Indian Hills Community College for two seasons, before spending the summer of 2019 in Las Vegas training former Cyclone greats Georges Niang, Naz Mitrou-Long and Will Clyburn. Schmidt then spent the 2019-20 season as video coordinator for the Wisconsin Herd of the NBA G-League. He followed that with a stint on Otzelberger’s staff at UNLV.

“I am deeply honored and excited for this new opportunity and to continue to build upon our first-year success in Ames,” Schmidt said. “Coach Otzelberger has been a mentor of mine for many years, and I am grateful for the chance to continue to work with him and our outstanding staff. Iowa State University and the Ames community hold a special place in my heart, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to build life-long relationships here. I look forward to helping develop great young men, both on and off the court, in our pursuit for future championships.”

Crawford spent the last 12 seasons as an assistant coach at Northern Iowa. During his time with the Panthers, UNI advanced to the postseason five times and won Missouri Valley Conference regular-season titles in 2020 and 2022. The Panthers also picked up MVC Tournament titles in 2015 and 2016. UNI advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and 2016, while advancing to the NIT Second Round in 2012 and 2022. The Panthers made the CIT Semifinals in 2013.

“Erik and I worked together as Cyclones dating back to 2006,” Otzelberger said. “His work ethic, basketball IQ and passion for player development make him the perfect addition to our staff. He’s been an integral part of the success at UNI and we know he will have an immediate impact on our program. We’re excited to welcome Erik, his wife Nicole and their 3 children, Mya, Treyvin and Jaylen to the Cyclone Family.”

This will be the second stint with the Cyclones for Crawford, as he served as a graduate manager and assistant director of basketball operations from 2006-10. Following his time at Iowa State, he was the director of basketball operations at Creighton for the 2010-11 season.

“I’m excited to be joining Coach Otzelberger and his staff at Iowa State,” Crawford said. “I loved being an assistant coach at UNI, but this was an opportunity I felt I could not pass up. I am honored to be back at ISU starting this new journey. I believe in T.J. and watching him turn around the program in one season was a testament to his vision and the culture he has created in Ames. I look forward to helping him build on Iowa State’s incredible tradition of excellence.”

Ba completed his first season as a graduate assistant for the Cyclones in 2021-22. Ba assisted the staff with scouting, video editing and player development. Prior to coming to Ames, Ba spent the 2020-21 season as a graduate student manager at Houston, helping the Cougars to a 28-4 record and trip to the Final Four.

“Mo played a key role in our team that advanced to the Sweet 16 last season,” Otzelberger said. “He spends countless hours with the young men in our program in order to make Iowa State a truly elite student-athlete experience. His character, positive attitude and passion for player development make our program better on a daily basis. We are thrilled for Mo and this promotion.”

Prior to joining the Houston basketball staff, Ba spent two years as a basketball player development coach where he assessed player’s skills and deficiencies, creating individualized workout sessions to help athletes improve their overall games. The Ypsilanti, Michigan, native has also worked in sales for the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.

“I would like to thank Coach T.J. for the opportunity to continue to work with this great staff and amazing young men here at Iowa State,” Ba said. “I am looking forward to helping our players become successful both on and off the court. I’m so excited about the future of this program and can’t wait to be a part of Hilton Magic next season.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.