Iowa State football coach Dan McCarney announced that his 12 years at the school is coming to an end. McCarney made the announcement Wednesday evening in Ames along with Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard. McCarney said he began an “unbelievable journey” at Iowa State 12 years ago this month, and says the journey will end in a just a few days. McCarney says he’ll step down at the conclusion of the Missouri game.
Iowa State has failed to win any of its six Big 12 games this year and is 3-7 overall. McCarney says though his decision was made after discussions throughout the season with athletic director Jamie Pollard. McCarney says he and Pollard have talked all season long and McCarney says he’s realized the institution is bigger than he is and McCarney says “sometimes you have to put the organization ahead of yourself” and it is time to step down.
McCarney says stepping down now is the best for the program. McCarney says the Iowa State community has been divided because of the losses, and he says “I’m sorry for that” that “tears me up” and it’s time to move ahead and build on the foundation they’ve built. McCarney says he wants the best for I-S-U as he loves it. McCarney says he has seen teams get energized when a coach is leaving and some that have fallen flat.
McCarney believes his team will finish strong. McCarney says they’re good young men and haven’t quit. McCarney says the wins haven’t matched their investment, but they’re going to go to Boulder, Colorado and have one last shinning moment on the road before coming home to finish the season against Missouri.
McCarney had an overall record of 55-84, 26-67 in the Big 12, including five bowl games. McCarney says some of his top memories were his first win against Ohio, and two trips to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York with Troy Davis, where Davis was a finalist. McCarney got emotional as he said ending a long losing streak against Iowa was another top memory.
McCarney says the series has meant a lot to him and he’s glad they’ve turned it back into a rivalry because it is important to the people in the state. McCarney says “it’s healthy, it’s classy, it’s respectful, and I’ll always be proud that we turned that back into a rivalry. Because nobody laughs as Iowa State any more when we line up to face Iowa, because it’s a great rivalry in college football. And I’ll really be proud of that as we leave this program.”
McCarney says his future will likely include coaching again. McCarney says he “hopes and prays” that he’ll get to coach again and says his passion for the game is as strong as ever.
Pollard says McCarney brought legitimacy back to Iowa State football and it is hard to make this decision. Pollard said,”If I had one wish right now, it’d be that this isn’t happening But that’s not an option.” But Pollard says when he signed up to be the athletic director he signed up to do what’s best for the university, even at the expense of his own personal feelings and beliefs.
Pollard says the school can’t afford to have a losing football team. Pollard says Iowa State’s football program has to be healthy for the school to have any chance to compete in the Big 12. Pollard says if football isn’t healthy the entire athletic department gets stuck or stalemated. Pollard was asked if he would have fired McCarney if the coach didn’t resign.
Pollard says he and McCarney had discussed the program throughout the fall and came to realize that the momentum in the program had been lost, so he says they never got to the spot where’d they discuss firing McCarney. Pollard says the attention on McCarney’s future took attention away from the team and led to the decision for McCarney to step down.
Pollard says things got to be a “circus” with the media asking players about McCarney’s status, and he says that took the focus off the football team. Pollard says he will honor the final years of the contracts of McCarney and his assistants. McCarney’s contract runs through 2010 and the buyout is 625-thousand dollars. Pollard says he’ll begin the search for a new football coach immediately. Pollard says he’ll begin the search for a new football coach immediately.