What We Know About New Iowa State Head Coach Steve Prohm

Y’all, I was writing about something else & then the news of Iowa State’s new hire came down so, naturally, I had to switch gears. Fred Hoiberg’s (AKA ~dream~husband~4eva~) replacement has officially been found in Murray State head coach Steve Prohm. The similarities between the two are almost uncanny — so much so that I feel dumb for not including him in my roundup last week.

Let’s start with the intangible — the Cyclone basketball ethos. When a program proudly brands itself on its upstanding, non-morally-corrupt nature, the first priority needs to be finding a coach who will gladly work under that MO. According to ESPN basketball insider Jeff Goodman, ISU AD Jamie Pollard has found that in Prohm, calling him a “low to no ego guy [who’s] even keeled and really high character,” & assuring fans that Prohm is not a coach who will bust onto the court & immediately start changing things.

Prohm with ISU AD Jamie Pollard

Based on his offensive structures at Murray State, though, not much needs to be changed. Under Prohm’s four year tenure there, the Racers went 104–29, & became known for their near-manic offense — high scoring, fast-paced, risky-threes, Roadrunner-style play that wiped opponents out. Last season, the Racers went 29–6 (including 25 wins in a row) & averaged 79 points per game. In conference play, the two teams’ stats are eerily similar — the Des Moines Register cites the offensive efficiency in points scored per 100 offensive possessions as sitting at 116.3 for Iowa State & 114.8 for Murray State.

Monte Morris (left) & Georges Niang

What’s the biggest plus here? Prohm’s inheriting a superstar team that’ll start in the top ten & easily rise from there, & his expertise with guards (Isaiah Canaan & Cameron Payne rise to the top of the heap in particular) will only enhance the Cyclones’ repetoire. Prohm’s savvy in getting high points from his guards will work to the great advantage of PG Monte Morris — already the nation’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio two years running. (None of this, of course, is to mention Georges Niang who could basically coach this team himself, he’s that goddamn good.)

Money-wise, Prohm’s just what Jamie Pollard was on the hunt for — a coach who checks all the boxes without expecting a big check himself. Hoiberg’s 2014 starting salary (after a $600K raise in August) was $2.6 million. Prohm, on the other hand, can look forward to a five year deal at a $1.5 million base rate — a $1 million per year increase from his previous salary at Murray State. (When Hoiberg signed with the Cyclones back in 2010, it was initially a five-year deal worth $4.5 million.)

This also makes Prohm the lowest paid (or potentially tied for lowest-paid — argh, inaccessibility of TCU’s official records) coach in the Big 12. As of February of this year, Hoiberg was the sixth highest paid Big 12-er. The other lowest paid coach is TCU’s Trent Johnson, whose salary is rumored to be six years at $1.5 million plus incentives. This means Pollard saved nearly half of Hoiberg’s allotted pay on hiring Prohm. Of course, if he kicks ass, expect the bonuses to come quickly (as they did with Hoiberg), but as is, Iowa State’s basketball budget is sitting pretty.

While many Iowa State fans (myself included) were hoping to see Jeff Hornacek’s name atop the Cyclone letterhead, I think we’ll all end up fairly happy with Prohm. He seems to fit the ethos of the program, respects the experience of the returning players, gets the Hoiball offense, & really does seem like a player’s coach. No one’s sadder than me to see The Mayor go, but Steve Prohm deserves a shot — & I think he’ll pleasantly surprise us when he gets it.

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