The ISU football coach capped off Tuesday's event, which drew about 110 people to the Starlite Village in Ankeny. He opened, very fittingly, by offering a toast to long-time play by play man and administrator Pete Taylor. McCarney then went directly into telling those in attendance that the athletic department is anything but a sinking ship.
Rebuilding the department, he said, just be done with the people and fans around it. He named off numerous accolades from all of the different sports programs.
As far as his program goes, McCarney is pleased with the direction. The Cyclones were 6-1 at home for the first time since 1903 and posted victories over Nebraska and Iowa for the first time in 100 years. Their attendance was at an 18-year high, he said. The 2002 season was the first time they have beaten three bowl teams (Iowa, Texas Tech and Nebraska).
He had great things to say about a defense that returns all but four starters and a multitude of backups. McCarney said Brandon Brown has the chance to become the first All-Big 12 linebacker since he came to Ames. This will be the best secondary in that tenure as well.
Offensively, the supporting cast will be better than that which surrounded Seneca Wallace a year ago. Whoever is named the starting quarterback, Mac believes his team can win with on any given Saturday. As for the schedule, it's a coach's nightmare and fan's dream.
After enduring what he called the most difficult week in his professional life, Fennelly said it's time for he and Cyclone fans that it's time to focus on the future. He said it's been tough because he and Eustachy were such good friends and he hated to see it end up like this, but at the same time the department must move ahead.
Fennelly went back on something Taylor said – that we're all in this together and will make things better as a group. He said he knows that the athletic department will do things the right way, and that McCarney will be the one to lead the healing process in the coming weeks.
Soccer coach Rebecca Hornbacher and women's golf coach Julie Manning also took part in the speaking program. Here are a few notes about their respective programs.
Hornbacher: Despite having only 12 players on hand at the time, her team went through two separate off-season tournaments in the state of Iowa. One of the squads ISU beat was NCAA qualifier Creighton, 2-1. She's excited about the future after initiating a vigorous off-season workout program, and it's already producing results. She's bringing in two Iowans in the upcoming class of freshmen.
Manning: The Cyclones are coming off of their best season since 1993 and if not for a last-season swoon would have been headed to NCAA regional play. ISU broke its 54-, 36-, and 18-hole records as a team this year. The program will be adding one of the most decorated in-state golfers in 26 years, Manning said, in Eldora's Christy Mathis. Cyclone alum Beth Bader spent her third year on the LPGA tour and her former coach said she wouldn't be surprised if a tour win is around the corner.