A Familiar Face Headed Back to Ames
Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said in a video yesterday that the search for a new men's basketball coach at ISU wouldn't take long. He wasn't kidding! The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger is leaving the desert and heading to take over in Ames.
The Review Journal reports that while nothing has been finalized, two people close to the situation call it a "done deal." Otzelberger and the UNLV athletic director could not be reached for comment. So who is T.J. Otzelberger? He was twice an assistant at Iowa State, and was at the program a total of eight years. He served as an assistant with Greg McDermott, Fred Hoiberg, and the recently departed Steve Prohm. He has also reportedly remained close to ISU AD Jamie Pollard. Otzelberger's wife, Allison, was also a star basketball player at Iowa State.
UNLV hired Otzelberger in 2019 and has guided the Rebels to a record of 29-30 in two seasons. The team was 12-15 this year. He was previously the head coach at South Dakota State where he went 70-33 and reached the NCAA Tournament twice. UNLV is now left looking for it's sixth head coach in 10 years, and 14th since Jerry Tarkanian left in 1992. The Rebels haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 2013.
Iowa State was looking to replace Steve Prohm. The Cyclones had one of their worst seasons ever, winning just two games all year, and winning NONE in Big 12 Conference play.