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AMES — As the coaching carousel spins around the country, the Iowa State men’s and women’s basketball teams have their coaches locked up for the next five years.
The ISU athletic department extended the contracts of coaches Steve Prohm and Bill Fennelly through 2022, athletics director Jamie Pollard announced Friday.
Pollard made the announcement through Twitter, including both coaches’ extensions in a single tweet.
“I didn’t know they were going to do it that way and announce it with Steve,” Fennelly told The Gazette. “It shows a commitment to basketball, not just the coaches, but a commitment to the programs. Just a class move on their part. It’s exciting and like I said, very humbling.”
“Just really, really, really appreciative of Jamie and his commitment, the university’s commitment to me, my staff and our program,” Prohm told The Gazette. “Just can’t be more appreciative. Very fortunate.”
Prohm’s deal was extended one year (June 30, 2022) with compensation increasing to $2 million annually. Fennelly’s contract was extended three years to June 30, 2022. All other terms of the deals were unchanged.
“We have two of the premiere college basketball programs in the nation, and each is led by a very successful and talented coach,” Pollard said in a release. “Securing contract extensions with Steve and Bill solidifies the future of both programs for our institution, fans and student-athletes.”
Iowa State averages a combined 23,381 fans per home game in men’s and women’s hoops, which ranks fourth in the nation. Both programs are coming off an NCAA tournament berth, just one of 25 schools nationally to hold that distinction.
In two years with the Cyclones, Prohm has led the team to a combined 47-23 record. Iowa State won 11 of its last 14 games this season, won a Big 12 tournament title and became the first Division I men’s basketball program in the state of Iowa to go to six straight NCAA tournaments.
“I feel at home here now and I’m very proud of the things we’ve been able to accomplish over the last two years,” Prohm said. “Obviously Fred (Hoiberg) deserves a lot of credit for leaving this program in a really good situation with a lot of good talent.
“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do and excited about what we can do in the future. I think these two years have made me a better coach.”
Prohm, who is expecting a baby with his wife within the next week, said contracts of his contemporaries in the Big 12 didn’t play a factor in his urgency to get a longer deal done.
Former Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood, who was the lowest paid coach in the Big 12 at roughly $1 million, left suddenly last weekend for Illinois, which tripled his annual salary. Prohm’s new deal moves him out of the cellar of Big 12 coaching salaries.
“That stuff isn’t a factor to me,” Prohm said. “I’m Steve Prohm and I have my path and everybody else has their own individual path. I’m worried about me, my staff and my program. That’s it. I’m very, very fortunate.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity they’ve given me. I can’t wait to continue to have a lot of success here.”
“Coach Prohm has led our program to a Big 12 Championship and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances while also representing our institution and athletics department in a first-class manner, both on and off the court,” Pollard said. “His values and approach to coaching are a perfect fit for our institution and fan base.”
In 29 years, Fennelly’s teams have been to 20 NCAA tournaments and won at least 20 games in 19 seasons. Through the end of his extended deal, Fennelly will have been the coach at Iowa State for 27 seasons.
“I’ve been very lucky to be in a place where they allowed you to (be there 27 years),” Fennelly said. “They allow you do to your job. I’ve been around great players, great staffs and again, I think the biggest thing is it starts at the top with the university hierarchy with Jamie and (Senior Associate AD) Calli (Sanders). They want stability and like those kinds of things. It’s a rare thing now.
Fennelly’s group won five games to end the regular season, including at No. 6 Texas, and went to its 10th NCAA tournament in 11 seasons. He has a 465-236 record in 22 seasons at Iowa State and is one of 17 active coaches in Division I with at least 600 career wins — dating back to his time at Toledo.
“When you consider Coach Fennelly took a program that had averaged just more than 10 wins a year in the two decades before his arrival and now has won 465 games in Ames, it’s a pretty amazing story,” Pollard said. “His players are great ambassadors on and off the court and he has personally built a loyal and large fan base one person at a time.”