McCarney gets personal satisfaction from success

Jeff Stell

It’s been a long time coming for Dan McCarney, but the ISU head football coach has proven the doubters wrong about ISU football.

McCarney earned his first winning season in his six years as the ISU coach when the Cyclones won a 39-20 shootout over Missouri Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium. It is the first winning season for the school in 11 years since the 1989 team went 6-5.

“A lot of people said I was committing professional suicide when I took this job,” McCarney said. “They said you couldn’t turn it around, you could never win at Iowa State. It’s going to be hard for people o say that we can’t win at Iowa State after tonight because we have at least have a winning season.”

“We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re getting a hell of a lot closer and I think that the people that have watched this program appreciate the way that it has been built. A lot of people have a pretty good feeling of what we’ve been through and some don’t realize how hard this thing has been just to get to a point where you can wear the label of a winner.”

McCarney was proud of his players and the feeling was mutual among the players.

“I really feel great that we could get this win for coach Mac,” ISU senior wide receiver Chris Anthony said. “He has invested so much into us, and has been through the good and the bad, and has been able to stay focused and keep pushing forward the whole time.”

The victory improved the Cyclones to 6-2 and makes them eligible for postseason play. The Cyclones haven’t played in a bowl game since the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl and still have three games left to improve their record for bowl scouts.

“Believe me, there’s not anybody satisfied or full of gratification down there [in the locker room],” McCarney said. “The great thing is that we have some chances at some big opportunities. From here on out, as everybody knows, each game gets bigger and you’re putting yourself in position for rewards at the end of the season.”

“We got a lot of snaps to be played, and hopefully we’ll play our way into having another game. Instead of going and visiting relatives at Christmas-time, maybe we can go someplace else and play another game instead of watching every else in the country play.”

One of McCarney’s biggest supporters made his presence felt at Saturday’s postgame press conference. McCarney’s father, P.J., entered the interview room and loudly proclaimed “How ’bout them Cyclones?” His media savvy son came back with, “He’s been sipping on the scotch again.”

One family member that wasn’t in attendance was McCarney’s wife Margy, who was attending a wedding. McCarney poked fun at the situation and said that wife would be at the top of the list for people to call.

“The first thing I’m going to do is call my wife,” McCarney said. “She’s in New York at her brother’s wedding. She misses one game and we finally turn the program around.”

“Tonight I’m just going to go home with my staff and have a cold one,” McCarney said.