Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Where Are Iowa's Basketball Fans? Crowd Called 8,553, But Only 5,000 Were In the Arena; ISU 'Corporate Spokesman' Malchow Will Get A $105,000 Salary

There might be another major story developing in Iowa City.

I'm not referring to Kirk Ferentz's football team, which ends its regular season against Minnesota at 11 a.m. Saturday in Kinnick Stadium.

I'm talking about attendance -- or the lack of it -- at the Hawkeyes' basketball games.

A gathering of only 8,553 [or so it said in the box score] in 15,500-seat Carver-Hawkeye Arena [the empty version of which is pictured above this column] watched Iowa beat Maryland-Eastern Shore, 86-41, last night in the opening game of something called the Guardians Classic.

Don't believe those 8,553 numbers.

Susan Harman of the Iowa City Press-Citizen didn't.

There were "perhaps 5,000 fans" in the building, Harman wrote today.

Very disappointing. Embarrassing, too.

In the old days, 8,553 people might wander into the building off the streets, just to stay warm.

Attendance was down last season, too. You'd think more people would show up now because Steve Alford's team is ranked 20th nationally.

But Alford [upper right] -- alias Mr. November -- doesn't sell many tickets.


I see that Mr. Personality -- otherwise known as Bill Snyder [lower right] -- is calling it quits as Kansas State's football game after Saturday's regular-season finale.

Becoming a winner in the lonely outpost called Manhattan, Kan., is something no one ever thought was possible.

Snyder, a former offensive coordinator under Hayden Fry at Iowa, is maybe the only guy who thought he could take his Kansas State teams to 11 straight bowl games.

Before he got there, K-State was regarded as the worst major-college job in the nation.

Kansas State made Iowa State, another place known as a coaching graveyard until Dan McCarney got there, look like Ohio State.

But Snyder somehow talked good players into accepting football scholarships at K-State. His record in his 17th season there is 135-68-1.

I wonder if Bobby Elliott [lower left] will be seriously considered as Snyder's successor. Elliott has certainly paid his dues. The Kansas State defensive coordinator played at Iowa and made coaching stops there and at Iowa State.

Another member of Snyder's staff is Del Miller, a native of Cedar Rapids who is in his 12th season as offensive coordinator. Miller thought he had the Iowa State head coaching job until then-athletic director Gene Smith changed his mind at the last minute and hired McCarney.


Steve Malchow [pictured to the left of Alford] of the Wisconsin staff is coming to Iowa State as senior associate athletic director for communications, and he's getting a nice pay raise, too.

The Wisconsin State Journal says Malchow [who worked with Jamie Pollard, Iowa State's new athletic director, at Wisconsin], will get a $13,000 raise and be paid $105,000 annually at Iowa State.

The fact that Malchow [who formerly worked in the sports information office at Iowa] would join Pollard's staff at Ames was in the plan all along.

"Pollard thought so highly of Malchow, he created a position for him," the State Journal said. "Pollard said having a 'corporate spokesman' for an intercollegiate athletic program, as opposed to a communications director for sports, is becoming a necessity.

"'He's the perfect person,' Pollard said of Malchow."

Malchow obviously knows what he's doing. But I wonder why Tom Kroeschell [upper left], Iowa State's longtime athletic department spokesman, didn't qualify for the new job.

Oh, well. Maybe I'm missing something. It's been a long season.


I wondered the other day why Notre Dame wants to keep playing football games against Navy, a team it has beaten 42 straight times.

Now a guy informs me that Navy and Notre Dame have agreed to play through at least the 2016 season -- with the 2012 game scheduled for Dublin, Ireland.

"I wonder if Navy does it for the paycheck," the guy asks. "Those ships need maintaining?"


"I don't know when it happened, but I noticed that the price of the Sunday paper has been dropped back down to $1.50," Bud Appleby tells me in an e-mail.

The Sunday paper had cost $2, which I think is too much for any newspaper.

I guess other people felt the same way.

"What are the odds of the Register replacing Rick Tapscott by promoting someone who already works there?" Appleby asks. "I'll bet they bring in another Gannett clone."

Tapscott, who was passed over in favor of Carolyn Washburn when the paper was looking for a new editor, is leaving the place. He'll be the managing editor at the paper in Wilmington, Del.

A guy tells me that there will likely be a few in-house candidates for his job at the Register -- one of them perhaps sports editor Bryce Miller, "who applies for every job that opens."