Iowa State is searching for its next head men’s basketball coach in the wake of Fred Hoiberg leaving for the Chicago Bulls, and a shortlist of candidates has emerged.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the university has set its sights on Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood as well as Murray State’s Steve Prohm. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated noted that former NBA assistant Lindsey Hunter is also on Iowa State’s radar.
Iowa State search to replace Hoiberg includes Murray State coach Steve Prohm and Stephen F. Austin’s Brad Underwood, source told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 3, 2015
Lindsey Hunter has emerged as a candidate for the Iowa State opening, per source. Hunter was an assistant in Phoenix and Golden State.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) June 3, 2015
There’s no denying that the Cyclones are a desirable looking team right now, as Hoiberg led them to a 115-56 record (49-39 Big 12) and two Big 12 titles in five seasons. Hoiberg also turned Iowa State into a Final Four contender again, getting as far as the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.
That said, the three aforementioned candidates could very well decide to make the jump to Ames, so let’s look at each of them individually, starting with Underwood. He was an assistant under Frank Martin at Kansas State from 2006-2012, so he knows what the competition is like in the Big 12. In two seasons with the Lumberjacks, he has gone an eye-popping 61-8 (35-1 Southland) and won the Southland Conference championship in both years. Granted, while that record is impressive, it’d be interesting to see how Underwood would handle tougher competition, as the Southland Conference isn’t exactly a hotbed of competitive play. Just the same, Stephen F. Austin has made it to the big dance in each of his seasons, even upsetting No. 5 VCU in 2013
Now let’s talk about Prohm, who has no Big 12 experience but has done an excellent job in four seasons coaching the Racers. Over that stretch, Murray State has gone 104-29 (54-10 OVC) with one conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, going in 2011 and reaching the Round of 32. In 2014, Prohm and his team were the CIT Champions. Though he doesn’t have much experience in power conferences, he knows how to rally his troops and establish a winning atmosphere.
Finally, we come to Hunter, who played 17 NBA seasons and was recently an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. In 2013, after the firing of Alvin Gentry, he was named Phoenix’s interim coach and went 12-29. He is definitely the most unlikely of the candidates, but knows the NBA and could offer guidance to players on how to improve their game so that they could potentially get to that level.
No matter how you look at it, finding Hoiberg’s successor will require Iowa State to make a tough decision, and these three candidates won’t make it any easier.
Campus Sports will update this story as more information becomes available.