Today the Iowa State Cyclones announced Steve Prohm as head coach after Fred Hoiberg bee-lined for the Chicago Bulls’ vacancy.
Prohm comes in to Ames with limited — yet impressive — head coaching experience leading the Murray State Racers to four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference regular season championships. He’s been a part of mid-major teams his entire career as an assistant or head coach, and Iowa State believes it’s time he deserves to take a seat in one of the nation’s top conferences now in the Big 12.
Our Bobby Reagan believed that Cyclones assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger was the proper successor to Hoiberg, noting his ability to draw in recruits. But Otzelberg will still be on staff, and can continue to help Prohm in search for new talent and evolve the system. The Cyclones have become a perennial conference contender, and the program itself has become enough of an attraction for recruits.
Of the many recruits Otzelberger was essential in recruiting includes top guard Georges Niang, and Prohm comes into adopt an excellent roster projected as a top ten team. He is no stranger to taking over strong programs and developing them beyond their current status.
Before taking over as coach of the Racers, Prohm spent a majority of the previous decade as an assistant behind Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy. He started as an assistant coach for Kennedy at Centenary, helping improve the program which led to Kennedy bringing him along to coach Southeastern Louisiana in 1999 and turning a struggling team into conference champions in a few seasons. Kennedy would then move to Murray State in 2006, once again bringing Prohm along to keep the Racers on the right path.
Since Prohm has been a part of the program the Racers have won the Ohio Valley Conference six times, including the past four seasons as head coach. During his tenure as head coach, Prohm held almost an 80 percent win percentage. How he has created this successful team starts just like Hoiberg’s success: offense.
Prohm’s offense has scored over 70 points per game in each season and was at their apex last season with a staggering 79 points per contest. Those stats may be inflated due to playing against weaker competition, but consider that the Racers ranked 6th in offensive efficiency last season and fifth in shooting percentage. Considering they ranked near Duke, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, and Arizona, and well above the Cyclones, Prohm clearly has a knack for offense.
Some may point fingers at his teams’ lack of discipline as Murray State averaged nearly 19 personal fouls a game and ranked 153rd in defensive efficiency. But, he’s adopting a Cyclones team that wasn’t much more effective on defense. It wasn’t rare to see them allow over 70 points. However, the cast he is inheriting also ranked among the top in the nation in fouls at just 15.5 per game. Couple his ability to create an upbeat offense and an experienced roster and things shouldn’t change much from Hoiberg’s time with the team.
Hiring Prohm affords the Cyclones the best opportunity to maintain and improve upon what Hoiberg laid down as a foundation. With top talent like Niang and Monte Morris coming back for their new coach, don’t expect the Cyclones to go down easily.