Monday, September 19, 2005

Hiring of Pollard Will Be Good for McCarney's ISU Football Program

Dan McCarney suddenly has the best of both worlds.

Not only does he have an unbeaten and nationally-ranked football team at Iowa State, he’s got a new boss who figures to go the extra step to help him keep the good times rolling.

Jamie Pollard, 40, today agreed to a five-year contract with a $275,000-per-year base salary to become the university’s athletic director, effective Oct. 1.

Pollard comes from the University of Wisconsin, where he has been deputy athletic director under Barry Alvarez, who is the athletic director and is in his final season as football coach.

For McCarney, the Wisconsin factor is huge. Wisconsin is where McCarney spent five years as the defensive coordinator on Alvarez’s football teams.

Alvarez recently did Iowa State a big favor by not trying, at least publicly-, to hire McCarney as Wisconsin’s next football coach. Such a move could have caused a mess at both Wisconsin and Iowa State, and now it appears McCarney could become a “lifer” in Ames.

Alvarez picked former Iowa player and assistant coach Bret Bielema as the Badgers’ next coach after he had spent just one season on his football staff as defensive coordinator.

Alvarez and McCarney evidently remain close friends, and it would be a big-time upset if Pollard didn’t do everything within reason to help McCarney’s Iowa State program be successful.

Pollard’s timing in coming to Iowa State is perfect. In following Bruce Van De Velde, he has virtually nothing to live up to. Bruce Van De Velde resigned under pressure Aug. 8 and has been allowed to show up for work since. Don’t look for that to continue when Pollard starts punching the clock in less than two weeks.

Although few, if any, people guessing who might be the successor to Van De Velde brought up Pollard’s name, the Alvarez-Wisconsin-McCarney-Iowa State connection makes a whole lot of sense.

“He’s an outstanding person and leader,” McCarney said today of Pollard. “I only met him one other time before I met with him this morning at the home of Dr. Gregory Jeoffroy [Iowa State’s president].

“Obviously, I’ve known a lot about him because of my relationship and friendship with Barry Alvarez. I didn’t have anything to do with the selection. This was all Dr. Jeoffroy, the selection committee and a consulting firm.

“But I have tremendous trust in Dr. Geoffroy and have great faith in what Barry Alvarez has told me. The best measure I have about Jamie coming to Iowa State is how disappointed they are in Wisconsin to lose him.

“Jamie’s voice is Barry’s voice. Barry has given Jamie lots of responsibilities while Barry has been both athletic director and coach. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Jamie, so we’re excited to have him part of the Cyclone family.”

It’s a good move for Pollard. He’s at an age where he can build a solid reputation at a university that’s long been considered the athletic Avis of the state behind the University of Iowa, but is rapidly closing the gap with the football coaching of McCarney and the basketball coaching of Wayne Morgan.

McCarney has beaten Iowa in six of the past eight years, and now has a football team that’s ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll after beating the Hawkeyes and Illinois State and heading into Friday night’s game at Army. Morgan has had two successful seasons after succeeding the fired Larry Eustachy.

Obviously, one thing Iowa State might have to worry about down the road, assuming Pollard is successful, is that he’d be a strong candidate to succeed Alvarez when he decides to retire as Wisconsin’s athletic director.

But that’s a problem for another day.

Pollard said he’s honored to be chosen Iowa State’s athletic director, adding, “Iowa State’s athletic program has a rich tradition, a solid foundation and tremendous potential for growth and even greater success.”

Said Alvarez: “I’d like to personally congratulate Jamie on his opportunity to run the program at Iowa State. Jamie is an outstanding athletic administrator, whose vision, work ethic and intelligence will make a huge impact on Iowa State. In my dual role, Jamie has been both essential and exceptional in running the day-to-day operation.....He will be an immediate impact player at Iowa State.”

Pollard joined the Wisconsin athletic department in May, 1998, and has been deputy athletic director since 2003. In 2003, he received Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal’s “Top Forty Under 40” award, which goes to the most influential and creative individuals in athletics under the age of 40.

Before going to Wisconsin, Pollard was associate athletic director for internal operations at St. Louis University [1989-94] and associate athletic director for administration at the University of Maryland [1994-98].

He earned a degree in business administration in 1987 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. That same year, he was the NCAA Division III national champion in the 5,000-meter run.

In addition to his base salary, Pollard can receive up to $75,000 annually for achieving athletic and academic performance goals. If he remains the athletic director for five years, he will receive an additional $50,000 per year in deferred compensation.

He and his wife, Ellen, have four children.


After Iowa State’s 23-3 victory over Iowa on Sept. 10, McCarney said he sent e-mails to every student at the university in Ames, thanking them.

“I didn’t feel like I had to do that,” McCarney said today. “It was something I wanted to do. When we played Iowa, it was the best environment we’ve had in my 11 years at Iowa State. We broke the all-time season ticket sales record and we broke the all-time student ticket sales record.

“But it wasn’t just a matter of selling tickets—it was the students’ interaction, their involvement, their enthusiasm long before that game kicked off to when they stormed the field after we won. It was an unbelievable environment, and one I hope we can duplicate as the season goes on.”

Any negative reaction to the e-mail campaign?

“There was only one negative response,” McCarney said, “and it happened to be a Hawkeye fan who goes to school at Iowa State.”


Iowa State’s game Oct. 1 at Nebraska has been picked as an ABC-TV regional telecast, starting at 2:30 p.m. The Cyclones’ game at Army at 7 p.m. Friday will be on ESPN2.


Years Name Notes

1903-1914--S.W. Beyer [Iowa State's first faculty representative; also world renowned geologist; Beyer Hall was named after him]

1914-1919--Clyde Williams [Coached football from 1907-12; started Iowa State basketball program in 1907; Clyde Williams Field was named after him]

1919-1923--Charles Mayser [Coached football and wrestling]

1923-1924--Hugo Ottapalik [acting]; [Long-time Iowa State wrestling coach]

1924-1931--T.N. Metcalf [Left Iowa State to be athletic director at University of Chicago, replacing Amos Alonzo Stagg]

1932-1945--George Veenker [Iowa State football coach 1931-1936; golf course on campus was named after him]

1945-1958--Louis E. Menze [Iowa State men’s basketball coach 1929-1947]

1959-1966--Gordon H. Chalmers [Came to Iowa State from West Point as assistant football coach under Earl Blaik]

1967-1970--Clay Stapleton [Iowa State football coach 1958-1967]

1971-1982--Louis G. McCullough [Was a former Iowa State assistant football coach]

1983-1993--Max Urick [Former Iowa State associate athletic director]

1993-2000--Gene Smith [Now athletic director at Ohio State]

2000-2005--Bruce Van De Velde [The job was too big for him. He was forced out]

2005-Indefinite—Jamie Pollard [Takes over Oct. 1. Figures to be good for the football program]

Vol. 4, No. 378
Sept. 19, 2005