Jamie Pollard: It was really a great shot in the arm for the entire athletic department. What helped is that it is one of those sports that captures the national attention so it really gave Iowa State some positive publicity. I just thought it was great for the seniors to end their career in such a special way.
CSR: What is the latest on the new basketball practice facility?
JP: It's progressing really well and should be done by late summer or early fall. When I have given tours of it so far the people have been really impressed with how much there is to the facility. It's going to be great for practice but also an outstanding recruiting tool.
CSR: Where does the men's basketball program stand in your opinion as we head into Coach McDermott's fourth season?
JP: I'm just really excited for our team that Craig Brackins decided to stay and I think that finally the sun has decided to shine on them. Coach McDermott is a great coach and a great person and he was that long before I hired him here at Iowa State. We haven't had the success that we have wanted to yet but he inherited a very difficult situation when he came here. He's going to be our coach for a while and I actually hope that we both retire here together at Iowa State.
CSR: Did you ever expect Cael Sanderson to leave when you originally hired him considering his history at Iowa State?
JP: I always wondered if he would get out of coaching. I did not see him leaving for the reasons that he did yet I can understand it. I wish he wouldn't have left but he felt that it was better for his career and so we have moved on.
CSR: What specific things made Kevin Jackson the right choice to replace Coach Sanderson?
JP: He clearly has a passion for being at Iowa State and is comfortable in the type of limelight that comes with being the head wrestling coach at Iowa State. His experience with World and Olympic training will be a huge recruiting tool for the student athletes. Many of them want to go on and wrestle in World and Olympic events and he already has that experience. The last twenty-two programs to win a national championship have had a coach that either won a gold medal or coached in the Olympics which speaks volumes for understanding how important that experience really is and Kevin brings that here to Iowa State.
CSR: Do you expect for the Iowa State wrestling team to definitely win some more national championships over the next decade?
JP: Definitely and I think winning the national championship is our goal every year. I fully expect for us to win more national championships in wrestling.
CSR: What are all the changes that are taking place with football stadium?
JP: The east side was duplicated on the west side with the concourse and the bathrooms. We now have a a tribute to Jack Trice on the east side which will be located in the Jacobsen Plaza. We're working on changing the north gates and fixing the fencing around the entire stadium.
CSR: What has been the reaction to the Kansas State-Iowa State match-up at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and is there a chance that this new rivalry game could be played there longer than just the next two years?
JP: The initial reaction has been really good and a lot for the future will be dictated on how our season starts off next season. There is definitely potential to go beyond two years with this game at Arrowhead but we also don't want to put ourselves at a scheduling disadvantage with not having enough home games during a season.
CSR: How surprised were you that Coach Chizik left after only two seasons?
JP: Not really surprised because that is part of the business. I was a little surprised considering what his record was the first two seasons but he went to Auburn where they already know him and they have all the confidence in him. So we'll just watch from a far but overall that's just part of the profession.
CSR: A lot of people were happy that you hired Coach Rhoads considering he was a native Iowan. How confident are you that Coach Rhoads would stay at Iowa State if he ends up having a lot of success?
JP: I really don't think about it at all because everything is predicated with what he does here. I hope he's here for a long time but you never know in this business. Dan McCarney could still be here but the fans ran him off. A lot of people say I got rid of McCarney but that was not the case. The fans stopped buying tickets and stopped making donations.
CSR: What are you most proud of in regards to what you have accomplished at Iowa State?
JP: The first thing I would say is that we have been able to increase ticket sales, increase donations, and increase the budget without winning at football and men's basketball. We've been able to invest fifty million dollars in facilities for both during a three and a half year period. Really it's what our fans have done to help the program. It's amazing what they have done to help increase ticket sales. The second thing I would say is that we have been able to maintain the great academic success that Iowa State has been known for in the past. I'm also proud of how our student athlete's have behaved off the field. I'm also proud of the fact that we're near the Top 50 for the Director's Cup. Our men's cross-country ranked 17th in the country, the gymnastics team finished 13th in the country, our women's basketball and volleyball went to the Elite Eight, and our wrestling team finished third in the country.
CSR: What are some of the things that you are hoping to accomplish over the next few years at Iowa State?
JP: The first thing would be to build a new outdoor track. Right now we are currently working on the fundraising for that. The second thing would be to continue to find ways to improve Hilton Coliseum. The final thing and essentially the elephant in the room is to bowl in the south end zone of the football field. It would require us to win in football and for that success to lead to more ticket sales. We would also need for the economy to get a lot better and for a major gift to be donated.