AMES — South Dakota State formally introduced Iowa State assistant men’s basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger as its head coach Thursday afternoon.
Otzelberger, who was introduced in a press conference in Brookings, S.D., has spent eight of the last 10 years as an ISU assistant under Greg McDermott, Fred Hoiberg and Steve Prohm. The 38-year-old was an assistant at Washington from 2013-15.
Before Prohm was hired to replace Hoiberg as Iowa State’s head coach last June, Otzelberger was a finalist for the job in Ames. He was also linked to the vacancy at UW-Milwaukee this offseason before landing at South Dakota State.
“Becoming a head coach is something that’s always been a dream of mine,” Otzelberger said during his introduction. “For me, being part of a team is even more important. That’s being a part of a team on the court with these (players), being a part of a team in the athletic department, being a part of a team on this campus and being a part of a team in this community. That’s what really gets me excited is all of you and this opportunity.”
Otzelberger is taking over a Jackrabbits program left by Scott Nagy — now at Wright State — that was 26-8 last season and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Maryland.
During his time at Iowa State and Washington, Otzelberger developed a reputation as a tenacious recruiter and helped the Cyclones land Craig Brackins, Melvin Ejim, Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long among others. Iowa State qualified for three NCAA tournaments with Otzelberger on staff, including a Sweet 16 berth this season.
Otzelberger is married to the former Alison Lacey, a former ISU women’s basketball standout, and has two children, twins Jayce and Olivia.
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“I’m really happy for T.J. and his family,” Prohm said in a statement. “During our one season together at Iowa State, he did an incredible job of easing my transition to Ames. He’s been an instrumental part of the success of Cyclone basketball the last five years and will be truly missed. I think South Dakota State has a rising star as their new head coach. I have no doubt he will continue to do great things while leading their program.”
Otzelberger’s departure is the only announced vacancy on the ISU coaching staff this offseason.
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