AMES, Iowa--"Don't be sad that it ended, be happy that it happened." Those were the words of Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard when he reflected on the Paul Rhoads era at ISU. The Cyclones have stumbled again this year going three and eight with just one game left on the season. Just one day after rumors swirled about his firing, Rhoads said, "In a year that we lost to six teams that are now ranked in the Associated Press top 25, it was not enough."
After going to bowl games in three of his first four years expectations were high. Rhoads said big name teams came calling but he chose to stay at ISU. "We wanted to accomplish what had never been done before at Iowa state," said Rhoads. After six straight losing seasons Athletics Director Jamie Pollard said Rhoads' teams failed to live up to its potential. Pollard said, "Unfortunately they don't keep score on the scoreboard for potential and talent. They keep score for results."
The Ankeny High School alum said he was understanding of the move. "Unfortunately, this is a bottom line business and I fully understand," and Pollard doesn't regret the hire, "I think we chose right unfortunately it doesn't mean the best outcome."
In seven seasons Rhoads, who was still under contract through 2021 compiled a record of just 32 wins 54 losses. "We simply just didn't win enough games and we were trending in the wrong direction," said Pollard.
Despite blowing fourth quarter leads in back to back weeks against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, Pollard says it played no role in the firing. "We have a saying here that goes no one player, no one play, costs a team. No one game costs a coach their job."
Rhoads was given the offer to walk away with one game remaining but says his passion for the game and his players wouldn't allow it. "I'm no quitter, I wouldn't give up the opportunity to coach these kids one more game."
Iowa State University will still be on the hook to pay Rhoads $4.6 million dollars through 2021. Pollard says the same firm used when hiring basketball coach Steve Prohm will be used to hire the next football coach. Pollard refused to provide a timeline for when he wants the new coach hired but says the coach must fit the culture at Iowa State University. He described that culture as, "Wholesome, sincere, and grounded."