Chief Energy Officer: Hawley went from Kansas quarterback to Cyclone fan-favorite


Tyler Coe

Conrad Hawley is hyped up on the bench during Iowa State’s 68-53 win against Milwaukee on Nov. 20, 2022.

Hailey Dohnal, Assistant Sports Editor

He’s been given the nickname, “Chief Energy Officer.” 

However, his energy doesn’t come from the court. It’s his impact from the bench that is inspiring. 

Whether up by 30 points or down by one, sophomore Conrad Hawley can be seen jumping from his seat on the sidelines and cheering on his teammates like it’s an all or nothing game. 

And when the whistle blows for a team timeout, Hawley is the first player to congratulate his teammates for their hard work. 

Hawley is experiencing his first year with the Iowa State men’s basketball program after transferring from the University of Kansas as a quarterback on their football team. 

“I was playing football, and I was like man, ‘I miss basketball,’” Hawley said. 

While he appreciated the lessons he learned from football, basketball was where he wanted to be. 

From the Cyclone fans to his professors, Iowa State is a special place for Hawley. 

“I love Iowa State,” Hawley said. “I think that this place fits me really, really well with just that home feeling.” 

Hawley played both football and basketball at Raymore-Peculiar High School in Missouri but ultimately decided to go the football route into college. 

One of the biggest things that Hawley missed from basketball was the difference in competition. 

“As a quarterback, you really only compete against yourself, and it’s more strategy-based,” Hawley said. “In basketball, it’s like you’re guarding the guy, you’re rebounding [and you’re] playing offense. It’s more of a battle.”

Another difference between the sports for Hawley was the difference between being a Division I scholarship quarterback to becoming a walk-on basketball player. 

As a walk-on basketball player, Hawley said he has gotten more practice reps than he ever did as a scholarship quarterback.

Additionally, with a basketball team being quite smaller than a football team, everyone is needed for everything. 

“I appreciate getting to be actively engaged the entire [basketball] practice,” Hawley said. 

With a smaller team also comes closer relationships. 

“It’s unreal,” Hawley said about the connection the Cyclones have. 

“Playing football, you may go a month without talking to a teammate. In basketball, our locker room is just one big circle of all 13 of us guys.” 

Hawley said the team eats breakfast and dinner together every day along with practicing, lifting, watching film and playing games almost every day. 

“I’m so lucky to have got to meet these older seniors and get to learn from them and how awesome they are and how awesome their stories are,” Hawley said. 

Before the 2022-23 basketball season started, Hawley had the goal of being the best teammate he could be. 

Now, about a quarter through the season, that goal has come to life each game. 

“I care so much about my teammates, and it makes me so happy when they all do good because I know how hard every guy on the team works,” Hawley said. 

Hawley said even when something not so great happens, he feels that it is still his job to be a great teammate. 

Teammate Caleb Grill mentioned how beneficial it is to have Hawley cheering them on from the sidelines. 

“Just having a player that’s always in your corner…it helps build our confidence up,” Grill said. 

Hawley has a season-high of four minutes on the court this season which came from the Cyclones’ 88-39 win over IUPUI on Nov. 7. Nonetheless, the minutes played doesn’t phase Hawley one bit. 

“Our coaching staff does a great job of making it clear what your job is and then if you’re doing it well or not,” Hawley said. 

Hawley said his job is to be a great teammate, work hard and listen to the coaches. As for some of the other players, their job is to make plays on the floor and lead the team. 

“I don’t ever get mad at minutes because every guy who is getting minutes deserves them and they’ve earned them,” Hawley said. 

Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger had nothing but positives to say about the transfer.  

“Conrad’s an unbelievable young man,” Otzelbeger said. “He’s been a tremendous, tremendous asset to our program. He’s selfless; he’s a winner; he’s a competitor; he’s a leader. He brings energy every single day.

That’s who he is.”

Otzelberger said it has been an honor to have Hawley in the Iowa State basketball program and that he is proud of who Hawley is. 

“He takes such a great sense of pride in being a Cyclone, and that’s something that at the core of everybody that we have here, we want them to have that love to be in this program,” Otzelberger said. 

Otzelberger said that Hawley does not take a day for granted and always brings enthusiasm and energy to everything. 

Conrad Hawley and Hason Ward celebrate a 77-40 win against McNeese on Dec. 11, 2022. (Tyler Coe)

“It’s awesome to see him get some opportunities in the game because I know our fans recognize him and appreciate him too,” Otzelberger said. 

Now that basketball season is in full swing, Hawley could not be happier with his decision. 

“I’m just thankful to be here playing basketball,” Hawley said.