Headline for Thursday, December 19, 2008 edition of The Gazette titled Wanted: New coach, respect, regarding the vacant head football coach position at Iowa State.
I, for one, believe Iowa State is better off with the ill-fit, Gene Chizik. Coach Chizik is a fine, young coach, but he was a fish out of water outside the Southeast section of the country. I'll be shocked, if he ever takes a job north of the Mason-Dixon line again.
I would have enjoyed seeing Turner Gill as ISU's next head coach. I have always enjoyed his work as a player and an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The work he is doing at the University of Buffalo will likely earn Mr. Gill an opportunity somewhere else down the road. Hopefully, like the University of Buffalo, it will be the right fit for Mr. Gill.
On The Gazette question: "Is Iowa State's football program damaged goods in the wake of this mess?" Nope, one should consider it's been a long time, since Iowa State won any type of share of a conference title in football. As for last title, the Cyclones won a share of the 1912 Missouri Valley Conference title. Ironically, the MVC Football Conference returned this fall, after being silent for many years. Coach Chizik was 5-19 overall in two years at Iowa State (2-14 in the Big 12).
"I don't think Iowa State's reputation is hurt at all," said Charles Davis, Fox
television analyst who'll help call the BCS national championship game. "It
looks like they did everything the right way. If anything, Gene Chizik has to
answer questions about what really happened. I know him, I respect him, but the
court of public opinion is definitely not on Gene's side."
I have always enjoyed Charles Davis and I agree with him in The Gazette article.
Further I agree with the veteran Big 12/8 writer out of Omaha...
"Being in the North Division, which is in a much greater state of flux, you may
not be as far away as people on the outside think," said the Omaha
World-Herald's Lee Barfknecht, who has covered the conference since the days of
the Big Eight. "There's no reason somebody can't go in there and win some
football games. You aren't going to contend for national championship, but it's
not a black hole."
Dan McCarney was a better fit for Iowa State, than Coach Chizik would have been. Hindsight is 20/20. ISU AD Jamie Pollard wants to put his stamp on the Cyclone football program, as was shown when he hired Chizik. His first attempt lasted only two years, but like others that have been in the business before him (i.e.: Bump Elliott), sometimes your first coach doesn't work out.
It will be interesting to see who AD Pollard hires this time around? Someone with ties to the State of Iowa or the ISU program in some way may be a good trait to try to work into the new hire. Coach McCarney certainly brought that trait to Ames. It didn't work out for a conference title, but it did move the program in the right direction and the Cyclones came close in the North.
Good luck to State in finding their next football coach. The Cy-Hawk football series has certainly improved... it will be important for ISU to find a quality head coach for their program. Some of Pollard's decisions in other sports have left some ISU alums disappointed.