Iowa State hires T.J. Otzelberger as new men’s basketball head coach


Former Iowa State Head coach Steve Prohm and former assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger walk back to the locker room after winning a game against Texas Feb. 13, 2016.

Zane Douglas

Just three days after parting ways with former Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm, the Cyclones found their new guy in T.J. Otzelberger, first reported by Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and confirmed Thursday by Iowa State Athletics.

Otzelberger leaves his head coaching position at UNLV after two seasons, going 29-30 in the Mountain West during that time.

The decision comes after a video statement was released by Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard on Tuesday saying that the Cyclones were already starting the search for a new coach. Pollard said in the video that the search would be relatively quick.

“I have had a close professional relationship with T.J. for many years and admired his work ethic and commitment to excellence,” Pollard said. “Having watched him grow professionally, I am convinced he is exactly what our program needs at this time.”

Otzelberger has previous ties with Iowa State as an assistant coach under Fred Hoiberg and later under Prohm for one year before leaving and eventually ending up with UNLV.

“I couldn’t be more enthused about the opportunity that President (Wendy) Wintersteen and Jamie (Pollard) have given our family,” Otzelberger said in a statement in Iowa State’s announcement¬†on Thursday.“It’s somewhat rare to get the chance to return home but Iowa State was my first stop as a Division I college coach and it is my wife’s (Australia native Alison Lacey, who played for ISU) adopted home. The resources are here to build and sustain a program that competes at a high level in the Big 12 and nationally. I’m familiar with the foundation of the school and basketball program and am eager and inspired to sell our vision and re-establish a championship culture.”

Iowa State has been toward the bottom of the Big 12 for the last two seasons of Prohm’s six-year tenure and the Cyclones were the worst team in the conference in the 2020-21 season, finishing 0-18 in conference play and 2-22 overall.

UNLV finished its season under Otzelberger at No. 7 in the Mountain West with a 12-15 record and an 8-10 conference record.