Steve Prohm Inherits a Fascinating Situation at Iowa State

Posted by Brian Goodman on June 9th, 2015

It’s not often that a new head coach inherits a team ready to win big right now, but then again, it’s also not often that a successful college coach gets snatched up by a pro team in June, putting his boss in the unenviable position of finding an early summer successor. While former Murray State head coach Steve Prohm doesn’t have many of the characteristics typically found in a new power conference coach — a connection to the school or its recruiting base; a strong reputation among the program’s boosters; a deep NCAA Tournament run to make him an easy sell — nothing in the immediate post-Hoiberg era at Iowa State is typical, and that makes the future in Ames one of the most intriguing situations to monitor heading into next season.

Steve Prohm arrives in Ames with immediate expectations. (Dave Martin/AP)

Steve Prohm arrives in Ames with immediate expectations. (Dave Martin/AP)

Prohm takes the reins of a squad that will likely be among the preseason top 10 in most polls, and one that could ultimately go down as the best in Iowa State basketball history. Because of that, the new head coach will have to answer a number of questions not normally posed to a first-year man. He will of course have the right to bring in his own staff, but in a scenario where the short game for the program is just as important as the long game, he may need to be more careful than in a typical situation. For example, will Prohm retain assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger, a man whom he beat out for the job but also with which the current team is already comfortable? If he doesn’t, or if Otzelberger leaves on his own accord, what kind of impact might that have on the current roster?

Otzelberger isn’t the only assistant who could be affected by Prohm’s arrival. Cornell Mann and Charlie Henry each have one season left on their contracts, and according to beat writer Travis Hines of The Ames Tribune, Mann is especially close to point guard MonteMorris, who is one of the biggest keys to Iowa State’s season. While it’s reasonable to see Morris flourishing no matter who’s at the helm, relationships matter, and if Prohm obtains his own staff, the addition of someone who can relate to Morris as well as the rest of the team will be important to preserving the Cyclones’ chance to compete for a national title.

These are first-world problems that nearly every Division I coach would love to have, but they’re still problems in need of solutions. Prohm will also have to navigate the more traditional challenges of satisfying a fan base eager to see its team win consistently and attracting and molding top-tier prep talent to keep the Cyclones rolling in the face of heavy roster turnover. In the short term, though, the complexities of running a team with possibly its best chance at a national championship coming so early in Prohm’s tenure will make next season’s dynamic at Iowa State one of the most interesting ones in the sport.

Brian Goodman (983 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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