Monday, November 27, 2006

It's Chizik! And this time we're sure.

We were there this morning in Ames as Chizik and his family exited the Aikman Enterprises private jet. There to greet Gene Chizik with a hug, ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard (the video is on news at your desk elsewhere on

I was wrong. I thought the new coach would be Central Michigan's Brian Kelly, though I was never able to confirm it, and now we know why. I got a call early this morning from a source who has never been wrong, and he told me Kelly was out, Chizik was in.

Chizik's hire has energized the Cyclone fan base like no one else could, except DITKA! Chizik's thought by some to be the best assistant coach in America.

I talked with KXAN's Roger Wallace about Chizek. Roger meets with Chizek every week and works the sidelines for Texas football. He desribes Chizek as positive, intense and energetic. He says he's not a screamer, but definitely gets his point across. Chizek took the job at Texas with one thing in mind: becoming a head coach. He's a highly respected defensive coordinator who helped the Longhorns win a national championship last season. This year Texas has three losses and Chizik's defense took some criticism after being worked by K-State and Texas A&M.

I think it's another inspired hire by Jamie Pollard. And it's not Brian Kelly.


Anonymous said...

Great hire.

What's really amazing about this was Pollard's ability to pull the wool over the eyes of the press for the second time in less than a year. Remember how everyone thought ISU's next basketball coach was going to be Rob Jeter?

Looking back though, it makes sense. What possible reason would Pollard have for being in Dallas with President Geoffroy other than interviewing someone from that area?

But as far as the football aspect of this story is concerned, it's a fantastic move by Pollard and Iowa State. He needs to raise $130 million in the next several years, and frankly a guy from the MAC isn't going to be able to do that like a coordinator from a national championship program.

Next season is still going to be difficult. The Cyclones have road games in Lubbock, Lawrence, Columbia and Lincoln, with home games against Texas, OU and Iowa. Another 4-8 record (or worse) isn't out of the realm of possibility. There isn't a lot of talent on defense, and the offensive line will be extremely young.

But hopefully that's where the bleeding will stop. Chizik will have an opportunity to draw on his recruiting connections in the south, especially Florida and Texas, to improve the talent coming into Ames.

Considering that this will be Chizik's first head coaching job, it'll be interesting to see who he selects for his coordinators and assistants.

Anecdotally, I've already talked to several Cyclone friends, and they're already looking to buy season tickets and to increase their annual contributions to the National Cyclone Club.

That's the kind of impact a hire like Gene Chizik has on a football program.

Keith Murphy said...

Rob, you're right. It's a solid hire with much potential. You never know for sure what kind of head coach a coordinator will make, but Chizek has the credentials and background you want.

There's no doubt Pollard can keep a secret, and I respect him for that. Multiple sources told us, and ESPN---among others, that Kelly would be the next head coach. We never confirmed it as fact, and said that, but I was 80% sure it would be Kelly. I was wrong. That's why I'm careful to make a distinction between what I think and what I know.

Thank you for the feedback.

Anonymous said...

HOME RUN!!! You should read the Texas message boards - they are pissed.
Pollard - Three great hires - never question Jamie - he knows what he is doing.

American007 said...

I agree that Chizik shows enormous talent, but I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet. To me this reeks of "career move' instead of real commitment. Here is a program he can turn around in a reasonable amount of time (3-4 seasons tops with good recruiting and alumni $). Not only that, but a team that is getting a renovated stadium, and has an established fan base and good fund raising system. As soon as he gets the Cyclones back in shape, he'll be on the first plane out of here to far $$greener$$ pastures.

Anonymous said...

Duh, all great coaches have to start somewhere. If he turns the program around, GREAT! If he leaves for "$$greener$$ pastures" after doing so, that's his choice and reward for a job well done. As long as he's committed to turning the program around, I'm a supporter.

Anonymous said...

Intersting, but Iowa State isn't going to be a great team because they don't get the recruits they should get. When they start spending money like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, etc. they will eventually become a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12. Until then, no matter what coach they have, they will not be that great. Maybe Chizik can finally get them to spend more money on the football program, then, just maybe, they will be a contender for the Big 12 championship. By the way, Go Hawks!

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a link to the Texas message boards?

Anonymous said...

"When they start spending money like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, etc. they will eventually become a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12. Until then, no matter what coach they have, they will not be that great."

ISU will now have the 3rd highest assistant coach salary package in the Big 12, behind only Texas and A$M, and ahead of Oklahoma.

What was that about needing to "start spending money"?


Anonymous said...

The other thing that just didn't add up to me with Kelly was that the guy was getting his team ready for a MAC title game - when would he have time to fly off to Dallas to be interviewed or go to Ames to be introduced?

By the way, thanks for the video feeds on this - sure helps when I'm on business trips and want to keep up on the ISU coaching search saga.

Anonymous said...

"ISU will now have the 3rd highest assistant coach salary package in the Big 12, behind only Texas and A$M, and ahead of Oklahoma.

What was that about needing to "start spending money"?"

Umm, yeah, look at the overall'll understand'll understand!

Anonymous said...

"Umm, yeah, look at the overall'll understand'll understand!"

So, what does that additional expenditure get you? More employees to serve hot chocolate at the stadium? More security employees at the gates?

We already have a state of the art Indoor Training Facility (something that a lot of programs DON'T have) and a recently remodeled Jacobson Building with upgraded training facilities as well. What more is needed? I'm sure Pollard is dedicating more funds to recruiting as well as the assistant coaching salary packages, otherwise, Chizik likely wouldn't have taken the job. I'm sure Pollard had to sell the program to him and convince him that ISU is dedicated to giving the football program all the money it needs to succeed. What have you seen from Pollard that would make you think he won't do everything possible to build a successful football program?


Anonymous said...

Pollard is too new to tell what he will do. I'm not so sure about which direction he is trying to go with the programs. We'll have to see when ISU starts getting the 5 star recruits in...if they do.

Adam said...


I'm with you about the airport security. A few months ago, I drove the the Cedar Rapids Airport to pick up my fiancee. (At the time, another aviation terror alert was in effect). Upon driving into the airport, I had to stop at a security checkpoint. The TSA guard noticed I had a cooler in the bed of my pickup, and he said, "Sir what's in that plastic container?" I about fell over...It's a 65 quart Cooler!!! The COLEMAN logo is about the size of my shoe!!
UGGH...What a binch of robots.