Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hey, It's Almost Christmas, So Let's Be Positive: Iowa Saves Embarrassment, Drake Shows Progress, Allen, Elliott Get Jobs

It's the holiday season, so let's downplay the negatives and concentrate on the positives in tonight's Drake-Iowa basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Iowa [9-3]won the game, 65-60, and thus avoided losing for the first time in history to all three of the other Division I teams in the state -- Drake, Iowa State and Northern Iowa -- in one season.

Another defeat would have been embarrassing for an Iowa team that's predicted to be one of the best in coach Steve Alford's term as coach and one that's supposed to be a Big Ten title contender.

The Bulldogs [6-4], who went into the game as 12-point underdogs even though Iowa again played without injured senior guard Jeff Horner, kept their composure well and went a long way toward proving they could be strong first-division finishers in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

It's been a tough struggle for Tom Davis to build the Drake program, but this looks like it could be a competitive team.

"Our team feels pretty bad that they didn't get the win tonight," said Davis, who was in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the second time as Drake's coach. He became Iowa's winningest coach from 1987-99 before being forced out.


Iowa State assistant Terry Allen [pictured above] was hired today as football coach at Missouri State, which finished with a 4-6 record in the 2005 season.

Allen will replace Randy Ball, who was fired in November. Before becoming the head coach at Kansas in 1996, Allen was a big winner at Northern Iowa, which is in the Gateway Conference along with Missouri State in Division I-AA.

Allen has won seven Gateway championships and had been considered the favorite for the job since first interviewing Thursday. The Missouri State Board of Governors met Tuesday in special session to approve the hiring.

Allen's Northern Iowa teams were 75-26 from 1989-96. At Kansas, he went 20-33 and was fired before the end of the 2001 season. Allen has been associate head coach at Iowa State since the 2002 season. He also coaches the tight ends.


Bobby Elliott, who has been the defensive coordinator at Kansas State for the past four years, is expected to become the first hire of new Diego State coach Chuck Long, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Elliott, 52, said he has been in contact with Long, who said an announcement is likely forthcoming on Elliott's appointment as the Aztecs' defensive coordinator.

"I've been talking to Chuck a little bit, but that will be Chuck's call and we'll see what happens," said Elliott, who was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at the University of Iowa when Long was coaching the Hawkeyes' secondary and quarterbacks in the 1990s.

Elliott, who just completed his fourth season at Kansas State, has also served as an assistant at Kent State, Ball State, Iowa State and North Carolina. Elliott's job status is in limbo after Ron Prince was tabbed to succeed Bill Snyder as head coach after Snyder retired earlier this month.