Let me start this article off with a full disclaimer to all Cyclone students today: You are lucky!
My collegiate career at Iowa State included two of the worst eras in school history in both football and basketball. With the former being Gene Chizik’s 5-19 record, and the latter – the Greg McDermott era.
Taking the job to come to Ames from UNI was thought of as a huge victory in the eyes of media pundits, Cyclone faithful, and quite honestly the entire nation. ISU had just come out of the ho hum Wayne Morgan era, where Morgan had lost the locker room and quite honestly just looked like he rolled the ball on the floor and let the boys play.
In comes McDermott, a highly successful Missouri Valley Coach and local Iowan who was well respected amongst his peers. He had led the cross-town Panthers to three consecutive NCAA berths and record in Cedar Falls of 90-63.
What could possibly go wrong might you ask?
Everything. First off, McDermott came in with a cupboard as bare as homeless man in an alley. He did not recruit the right kind of talent at Iowa State, namely at the guard position, and took flyers on risky players. And it burned him in the long run.
Does anybody remember these guys - Dodie Dunson, Corey McIntosh, Mike Taylor, Cory Johnson, and Wes Johnson? That was the starting lineup for the 2006-07 season, and EVERY SINGLE one of them either transferred out or was kicked off the team ala Taylor.
The only victory for McDermott was gaining 5-star recruit Craig Brackins, and quite honestly the big man never improved in his three years. He should have been better. After Lucca Staiger transferred mid-season, it was evident something was wrong.
McDermott’s tempo was as slow as your grandpa driving down the interstate, and was not aesthetically pleasing to the fan base. He literally tried to mold his team into a version of what his UNI squads were like (slow-tempo, fundamental, good defense), and for whatever reason it didn’t work in the Big 12.
After four painful seasons, and never eclipsing a season above .500, McDermott bolted for Creighton, and paved the way for the golden boy Fred Hoiberg to come back home.
And for that, we thank you