Brandtner: "Mac Made Me a Cyclone"

Iowa State's freshman punter Mike Brandtner grew up a Hawkeye, and he's not afraid to admit it. So why did this young man turn from evil to good in such a short amount of time? Dan McCarney had a lot to do with it. See what Brandtner had to say about his coach here in this Q&A.

CN: This is your first season playing at Iowa State so obviously you have a lot of years to come back and play. Does a move like this make you question if you want to be at Iowa State?


Brandtner: Growing up in Iowa, the eastern side of Iowa, you grow up as a Hawkeye. When you have a man like Dan McCarney, who coached there for a number of years and then came to the rival school and turned it in to what he did, it shows a lot of heart and soul and that's something that I had to do too. I came here trusting him. I love it here. Just because he's gone doesn't mean that I'm going to switch schools or whatever but he fought through being a Hawkeye and becoming a Cyclone and that's what I did too. That's why I respect him so much.


CN: A lot of players talk about how Coach Mac I like a father to them. Would that be accurate in your case as well?


Brandtner: I wouldn't really compare him to a father because fathers are not replaceable. I almost look at him like an older brother or an uncle. He's someone who you can always go to and he'll tell you the honest to God truth. He won't sugarcoat you. He'll tell you what you need to do on the field and off the field. That's why he's a great guy.


CN: You talked about how you were a Hawkeye growing up in eastern Iowa. How does your family deal with you going here and are they big McCarney supporters?


Brandtner: My dad went to Iowa, my mom went to Iowa, my brother goes to Iowa and uncle Brad Webb started at linebacker when I think Coach Mac was there, so Coach Mac knows my uncle. My whole family is black and gold and for me to come here, I wouldn't say it shocked them. My dad is probably one of the biggest Cyclone fans in the world right now. It doesn't really shock my family that I came to school here because this was the best opportunity for me. Coach Mac gave me that opportunity.


CN: Do you think that he'll have any problems finding a coaching job somewhere else?


Brandtner: No way. Never. He's one of the most respected coaches in the nation, not I Iowa, but in the nation. He's got respect from everybody.


CN: Coach Mac is really well known for all he does for this community. Talk about that a little bit.


Brandtner: Every Friday he takes a handful of players and we go over to the hospital and go through all of the rooms of some really ill people. Coach Mac is always the first person in the room. He shakes their hand regardless of anything. He'll just try and brighten their day as best as he can. I feel like that's kind of the way he is with everyone in the community. He just tries to lift their day.


CN: Does that rub off on the team?


Brandtner: Definitely. His character and his leadership definitely rub off on guys on this team. He's our leader and it's like what you said about being a dad or being a role model. You try to be like your dad, or be better than your dad. He gives off that impression and we follow.


CN: What does the team think about when Mac can always turn a negative into a positive?


Brandtner: It's a great quality to have. Sometimes he stresses it with like the weather, the Cyclone weather. It could be like 10 degrees out and it's Cyclone weather. I think the only time that it's not Cyclone weather is when it's 72 and sunny with no wind of course. I think that's the only time it's not Cyclone weather. It's got to be rainy, windy or snowy. Anything is Cyclone weather, according to Coach McCarney.


CN: Watching Coach Mac's press conference, what was that like for you?


Brandtner: It was sad to see his wife and all of the other coaches around. All of the players faces. Even some of the media guys who I was looking at got upset and tearful. It's just tough to see a great coach like that leave a place that he built from the ground up. Without him here, I don't know what this place will be like. That's what I'm thinking about.  



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