The search for Prohm: How the hectic search to replace Fred Hoiberg occured


Courtesy of Tab Brockman-Murray State Athletics

Steve Prohm will replace Fred Hoiberg as Iowa State’s next men’s basketball coach. Prohm has coached the Murray State men’s basketball team the past four years and has a 104-29 overall record.  

Garrett Kroeger

ISU leaders needed only a week to find the successor for a coach who appeared in four NCAA tournaments in five years and won consecutive Big 12 tournament championships.

When Fred Hoiberg announced in June that he would be departing Ames to coach the Chicago Bulls in the National Basketball Association, ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard, President Steven Leath and Associate Athletic Director David Hale wasted no time in naming their next coach — Steve Prohm.  

In the seven-day search, multiple names surfaced as potential successors. Names from on-the-rise college coaches to former coaches and players at Iowa State were rumored to be on the list.

“I wanted to know about the coaches we were looking at,” Pollard said when he introduced Prohm. “What was their demeanor on the sidelines? How did they treat you? How did the players come out of timeouts? It was an insight that I thought was going to be really valuable to deciding who’s the right fit.”

The fans who wanted to see Hornacek succeed Hoiberg began to witness their dreams diminish on June 3.

Cyclone Fanatic released a story that said Hornacek declined a meeting with Iowa State because of a lack of interest in the opening. However, the report was refuted by Hornacek’s agent, who said Hornacek never refused an interview for the position.

Even though Hornacek’s agent denied rumors of him declining an interview, Hornacek never met with Pollard and company for the vacancy.

The Hornacek report was not the only subplot during the ISU coaching search.

During the seven-day hunt, it was reported that Pollard and Leath did not meet eye to eye during the search.

CBS Sports analyst Jon Rothstein reported, “Iowa State assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger has full support by Pollard, but Leath wants a ‘brand name’ to take over the job.”

Pollard later shut down those rumors.

“There’s no truth to that at all,” Pollard said, addressing the rumors at the introductory press conference. “That’s really unfortunate because it was total garbage. Whoever planted that had an agenda. … There was a lot of misinformation to waste peoples’ energy.”

At the end of the seven-day search, Pollard and Leath were able to come to an agreement on the next head coach. Their decision was the lone coach linked to the search who had no previous ties to the Big 12 — Prohm.

His style matched Hoiberg’s, his coaching style was similar to Hoiberg’s in that he is a player’s coach. Above all, he had the winning mentality that matched Hoiberg’s fire.

“This game isn’t about me, it’s not about the head coach, it’s about those guys right there,” Prohm said, pointing to the players.  

In his time at Murray State, Prohm went 54-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference and 104-29 overall.

“One of my goals was I want these four seniors to not have their senior season cheated,” Pollard said. 

That will be put to the test when the ISU men’s basketball team plays its first official game against Colorado on Nov. 13 in Sioux Falls, S.D.