Futile Former Iowa State Coach Heads to Friendlier Territory
Remember this guy? All I can say is, better them than us.
Murray State's (located in Murray, Kentucky) men's basketball team is bringing back a familiar name, as Steve Prohm has been re-hired as their head coach.
Prohm spent nearly a decade at Murray State, four as head coach, where his teams went 104-29, according to ESPN. It's a record that caught attention in Ames, Iowa where he took over for the beloved but departing Fred Hoiberg, who exited for the Chicago Bulls. Hoiberg ended up back in the college ranks at Nebraska, where, for now, he remains the head man.
In a six-year stint with the Cyclones, Prohm's first four were impressive. A trip to the Sweet 16 the first year, and two Big 12 titles in 2017 and 2019, according to 24-7 Sports. Equally impressive, in a bad way, however, were his last two years.
After going 12-20 in the pandemic-riddled 2020, the bottom dropped out in the only slightly-less pandemic-riddled 2021. In his final year in Ames, Prohm set what had to be some kind of record for futility. The team went 2-22, and Prohm was, rightfully, out.
Enter T.J. Otzelberger. According to Wikipedia, Otzelberger had been an assistant at ISU under Hoiberg, joined the coaching staff at Washington, rejoined the supporting cast at Iowa State with Prohm, then took the head coaching job at South Dakota State, and later became the head coach at UNLV.
When Prohm was ousted, Otzelberger was a shoo-in to come back and lead the Cyclones. He just completed his first season, culminating in a trip to the Sweet 16. They came out on the losing end to the University of Miami, 70-56 on Friday night but still, quite the turnaround, indeed.
In a statement made upon being re-hired at Murray State, Prohm said,
I'm extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to return to Racer Nation. During my time away, this program has maintained an elite standard of excellence, consistently producing championship-level teams.
Murray State's Matt McMahon, meanwhile, was recently hired at LSU, leaving the door open for the return of Prohm. McMahon's Racers went 31-3 this season, reminiscent of their success during Prohm's glory days. They're sure to be warm and welcoming to Prohm in Murray, but "Racer Nation" is also likely asking for one thing from him: don't screw it up.
Incidentally, Prohm's not getting away from the state of Iowa so easily. Murray State joins the Missouri Valley Conference next season, where two of their opponents will be Northern Iowa and Drake.