Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dateline Daytona Beach: Murph sounds off on Rhoads hire.

I normally sleep with one of those Sharper Image clock radios---the kind where you can press one of several sound options: tropical rain forest, thunder storm, ocean waves, first day of kindergarten, midnight carjacking, light rain, or New Age music. I go with light rain, but right now our family is staying right on the beach, so Friday night I left the sliding glass door open, and went with actual ocean.

I'm not sure if that's the reason I didn't hear the phone ring around 7:30 a.m. Or 8. But I did hear it at 8:30. Iowa State hired Auburn defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads. (Auburn?! )

It's not the home run hire many fans hoped (Gary Patterson), but it's not the bad idea many feared (Mike Stoops? Wrong Stoops. If you can't win big at Arizona, good luck at Iowa State).

Rhoads is not a "sexy" hire, but he's a solid, safe one. The one big negative, and it's a real concern, is the lack of head coaching experience. There's just no way to know except witness the trial by fire and hope for the best. Not all good coordinators and assistants make good head coaches.

Most everything else fits nicely.

Rhoads is an Ankeny native. He wants to be at Iowa State. Unlike Gene Chizik, Rhoads won't use ISU to get what he really wants (well, being a head coach is what he really wants, so the previous sentence is a bit of an oxymoron, but you get my point. He won't use ISU to get what he wants somewhere else). He's invested enough to care what happens to the Cyclone football program after he leaves it. Rhoads' reputation and character suggest he'll keep promises. (Winning back the trust of the burned is never easy, but it can be done. Even Jennifer Aniston seems happy these days.)

Rhoads was an assistant on McCarney's first staff at Iowa State. This is more important than you might think at first blush. It will heal the division in the Cyclone football program. There are hundreds of former Dan McCarney players living in Central Iowa. Since Mac was forced out, most have supported Iowa State football, but not Jamie Pollard. Those players will be firmly behind this hire, and therefore Pollard. For the first time since Mac left, there will be no backroom sniping.

Rhoads is only 41. He's a proven defensive coordinator, and unlike Chizik, he's done it at a place without 5-star athletes at every position (Pitt). Rhoads also specializes in pass defense, which you may have noticed, comes in handy these days in the Big 12. The man Rhoads hires as offensive coordinator is his most important decision.

I don't know if Rhoads will lead Iowa State to championships. Odds are he won't, it's one of the harder jobs in college football, but I do believe he'll immediately return Cyclone football to tolerable viewing, and eventually you'll see Iowa State back in minor bowls. Who knows, if he hires the right staff (not his under-qualified buddies), the Cyclones just may get to that previously unattainable "next level". There's no way of knowing. No head coaching track record to even take an educated guess.

Rhoads first task will be to re-recruit the current players. He'll get it done. Rhoads is a charismatic recruiter to begin with, but those Cyclones don't want to leave, especially when the reality of sitting out a year sinks in. One or two may stray, but the rest will come to realize it's more important to embrace the school and its people than the head coach. The school will always be there, the head coach could start yelling "War Eagle!" at any time.

Those of us who choose to live in Iowa love this place. We even find ways to love the things we hate---like the weather, state fair, and SoundOff. We don't like being used. Rhoads won't have one eye on the door. Iowa is home.

Jamie Pollard tried "sexy". It was a disaster. Time to get back to someone who will roll the sleeves up and go to work. Paul Rhoads will do that. He won't sell tickets on sizzle, so he'll need to look a lot better in his first two years than Chizik did in his. That won't be hard.

If I know Cyclone fans, and I think I do, they're already talking up the positives and downplaying the negatives. Good for them.

Paul Rhoads deserves a chance.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iam from Ankeny. I have known Paul Rhoads and his family since he was in grade school. They lived behind us and he is a close friend of my son. I remember driving Paul to school one day and he told me he had "goals!" -- This is a seventh grader telling me he had "goals"-- Of course I asked him what they were. He said he wanted to get all A's (check), play highschool football, (check), be Valedictorian (check), play college ball (check), and become a college head coach (check)!!!

Iowa State is a difficult place for recruiting. But my hope he can recruit quality young men of his caliber. In my opinion, Iowa State couldn't have made a better choice.

Good Luck Paul and ISU!

Jo Ann West
Ankeny, IA

giraffe@dwx.com

News Review said...

Congratulations to Paul Rhoads. He actually deserve to become the ISU new football coach. Go Rhoads!!

shane - marshalltown said...

I seem to recall another state school hiring a "no sizzle" coach who used to be on staff during a successful time in past...we'll see if lightning really can strike twice...

Good luck Coach Rhoads...in every game but 1.

Melinda said...

Wow, what a die hard sports reporter Murph! Now go back to your ocean and enjoy it while the rest of Iowa sits with heating pads on their backs after scraping their driveways off for 3 hours. :)

Anonymous said...

ISU has made a great choice in Paul Rhoads. Not only is he a great coach, but he is intelligent, dedicated and a man of integrity. Welcome back to Iowa, Paul! (By the way, Paul, the class of 85 will be expecting game tickets when we get together for our 25th in a couple of years!!!)

Good luck, Paul, and congratulations to ISU!!!

Lisa (Eich) Weatherwax
Ankeny, Iowa

Tim & Janice from Temptations said...

Murph -- I always said you were a great writer, but the ocean really brought it out this time; you caputured the feelings of a whole lot of ISU fans. We're backing this guy....enjoy the sun.

Anonymous said...

Required reading. Perfect.

Al/ISU '89

Anonymous said...

To coin a phrase, Murph: Ditto.

shane - marshalltown said...

I can't help but think that the ocean and weather has inspired Keith beyond anything the rest of us could possibly realize...and that ISU's coaching hire benefitted from that inspiration...and that it prevented Keith from writing the "Great American Novel" just now, causing him to waste it all on a sports take...

Oh well, I'm sure it'll hit him again sometime...we hate novels anyway...

travis said...

Is Jamie Pollard a thespian? I just got done watching the press conference of him introducing Rhoads, and he sure is dramatic. Geesh.

Anonymous said...

Keith, what is wrong with your stupid station? I turned in to see the Chiefs and Dolphins, and what do I get, a 48-0 Patriots/Cardinals blowout. Not only did you guys not switch till after the game was over, but you had to leave the Chiefs game before it was over.
You guys suck!

Anonymous said...

To the absolute moron above, How is it you read this but dont even know what station Keith works for? You are an idiot. The stupid station you refer to is channel 8. Keith works at 13 you doofus. Am I being clear? You are dumb.

Anonymous said...

Well excuse me, I got the stations mixed up! I guess you never made a mistake. I guess the person that makes no mistakes can call another person dumb or a doofus. Go F yoprself and die already, I think all of us would appreciate that Mr perfect.

Anonymous said...

one game was on fox, the other cbs. how could anyone get that mixed up?!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Look, go f yourself people, some people don't know that, not all of us have cable.

shane - marshalltown said...

Neither 17 nor 8, are cable channels, rendering that argument moot...however, due to your rambling, blatant stupidity, all of your arguments are hereby rendered moot...potty mouth...

And by the way, when you're over on 8's website, blasting Andy Garmin for his "stupid suckiness" for how he handled those games, just keep in mind, he doesn't control the programming or how the network handles its switching between games anymore than you can make people die on command...

Anonymous said...

Andy is the sports director, right. So how does he not make those decisions. I mean football is a sport isn't it Shane?

myeasper said...

Well I certainly can't argue with logic like that...

Especially when you're correct, football is indeed, at last check, a sport...and KCCI is "Iowa's sports leader"...

Ya know what!?!? Give 'em hell over there, they deserve it!!

shane - marshalltown said...

Not sure what "myeasper" is...but it sounds painful..

But it was me...

Anonymous said...

FYI the Sports Director at a *local affiliate* does not have ANY say in programming for the NATIONAL NETWORK... Even if he/she is the Sports Director at the station. Programming and News/Weather/Sports are two very different animals.

SO:

1) you're berating the absolute wrong guy on the absolute wrong station.
2) you couldn't even get the correct channels for the game in the first place... chances are you just turned to the wrong channel
3)You clearly have no clue who to point the finger of blame at, so instead of telling people to "f themselves", why don't you simply be quiet, and leave the people who know what stations they are watching to discuss sports in peace.

THANKS! BYE! LOVE YOU!

Anonymous said...

I admitted I was wrong, let's see if you can. The sports director DOES choose what games they show, that's why they are called sports directors dummy. Maybe you should listen to Marty and Miller, they kill Murphy and Andy Ireland, and John Walters all the time for the games they choose.
Maybe your the one who knows nothing about sports, or maybe nothing at all.

shane - marshalltown said...

There are bigger fish at a TV station who choose programming, not the sports director, even if it's sports...granted they get input, but that doesn't mean they have to use the input...Andy Garmin could lobby til he's blue in the face for a Steelers vs Dolphins game, but if the guys above him decide Brett Favre and the crap happy Jets vs the crappier Chiefs is bigger for local ratings, they're going to put it on...


Anyone else think we're being played? Noone can be THAT dumb, right!?!? I smell a set-up...

Keith Murphy said...

I'm checking in from Florida where it's actually cold by Daytona Beach standards. It's 50 degrees, which means people here are dressed like you are there. They have no idea what real cold is like.

I appreciate all the kind comments on the Rhoads' blog. It's definitely a wait and see hire, but he's already shown more sincerity in 48 hours than Gene Chizik showed in two years.

As for NFL games, that is not the decision of the Sports Director---at least not at any station I've ever worked. I'm in charge of the way we cover and report local sports, with input from the News Director, not what's shown on network programming. That's the decision of the Programming Director and/or the General Manager, though the decision is often made by the network (local stations can usually overrule that choice).

However, it's been a long time since anyone at channel 13 had to make a decision. The Sunday Night Football game leaves no choice. There is only one game. We don't have, and haven't had for a a long time, any other NFL games.

It's understandable why someone might think the sports director made all decisions regarding sports. You took a little too much abuse, though that wrong network thing did put it on a tee.

Hope this clears it up a little.

Back to Iowa tomorrow. See you soon.

Keith

Dave said...

Wow, I thought we were reacting to the Paul Rhoads hiring and Murph's comments.

Great hire - the only way he leaves ISU by choice is for a big time job and that will mean he has had some phenomenal seasons with the Clones.

Anonymous said...

Ding, ding, ding!!!! Shane wins!!!

Tell em what he's won Murph.

rdwmpb said...

Wow, he must be a 'clowns fan...

....they all seem a little off kilter...

....what? you never noticed that the circus is in town for a home game?

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm a Cyclone fan, so what! Which reminds me, why don't they ever show the Cyclones on TV anymore either. It used to be you could see Pete Taylor and the Clones on Channel 5 all the time. Now that Pete Taylor moved to another station we never see the Cyclones on TV anymore. Don't tell me the sports directors don't have any say of ehat goes on TV.

Anonymous said...

That's it. I've had enough of the insanity. Are you for real or is this a joke? Pete Taylor, broadcasting legend and voice of the Cyclones for 33 years, passed away in 2003. He didn't move to another station. OMG

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Pete Taylor died, when did that happen? Oh man that sucks. I lived out of state for a while, so I must have missed that news. I just assumed he got a better job somewhere.

C-Marshalltown said...

Geez, can we be a little more cheerful with the Holidays around the corner??
Hey Shane, I know your probably not the only Shane in M'town but do you have a black lab?

Have a great holiday everyone.

shane - marshalltown said...

No, I don't have a black lab...I am currently dogless at this time...but they're a great breed, from what I can tell from the ones my friends have owned in the past.

As for "Shane wins!!! Tell em what he's won Murph." I already know what I win...NOT a trip to Mexico...or Florida!...which is disappointing, since I'm single and would make a great chick oogler...I mean "talent spotter"...which would have made for MUCH better pictures than the ones Andy brought back from Mexico...

As for the 50 degrees you're dealing with Keith, please find a shop-vac and suck up all of that warmth and bring it back with you!

travis said...

Shawn and Chris did a great job Sunday night. Maybe others didn't enjoy their show as much as me, but I think they may have even upped the bar...

mcbrewski said...

candy corn

shane - marshalltown said...

In these times of family and friends, togetherness and happiness, when tidings of peace on earth and joy to the world ring to everyone...

Can we just drop the *bleep*ing candy *bleep*ing corn issue for a *bleep*ing while Mc*bleep*ingBrewski???

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

shane - marshalltown said...

That should've said "ring out to everyone"...I really need to take better advantage of that there "preview" thingy...

I smell a New Year's Resolution...

Hawk Rock said...

You know, all the coaches shuffling in and out of Ames is making Bob Bowlsby at Iowa look pretty good about now.

Go Hawks!

Anonymous said...

Back to the Paul Rhoads hire, looks like a good call. For now. Lets see who he surrounds himself with. Glad to have a coach that wanted the job, not just took it. He seems to have the desire and the recruiting ability. I hope for us Cyclone fans it all plays out well.

Anonymous said...

The sports directors must have listened to me, caue they got good games on the TV today. Sometimes all you got to do is speak up and express your displeasure, which is what I did, and got chided for.

Kirk Diggler said...

Does anyone know why that usually we get 3 games on Sunday afternoons, but all of a sudden we have 4 today? It is nice, yes?

I would ask that fool that thought Murphy chose games for Fox and CBS, but I think his brain is full from all that he learned this week.

shane - marshalltown said...

Not sure why we got the bonus game...but it sure was nice.