AMES –We’ve been waiting for weeks to hear Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard address the status of coach Greg McDermott and the state of the men’s basketball program.
Pollard finally did so Monday morning, emailing a letter to donors that, in part, pledges his support of McDermott.
He is expected to speak with reporters later today.
McDermott is 59-67 overall and 18-46 in Big 12 games in four seasons. ISU plays Texas Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
Here is Pollard’s full letter:
Dear Cyclone fans,
Nearly four years ago, we implemented several strategic decisions to elevate our athletics program within the Big 12 Conference. Our initiatives were to grow funding, enhance facilities and improve academic and competitive performance.
I am pleased to share with you that we have made significant progress:
1. We have increased annual funding for our athletics program from $28 million to $42 million. More importantly, we have achieved that level of funding while reducing our annual reliance on State support from 12% to less than 5%.
2. We have invested more than $50 million in critical facility upgrades and new construction, including the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, the Sukup Basketball Complex, the Jack Trice Club and a golf indoor practice facility.
3. Last fall, our student-athletes recorded the highest graduation rate (79%) in Iowa State University history. That rate led the Big 12 and was 14% higher than ISU undergraduates.
4. We are in the midst of, potentially, the best competitive season in school history. Our Directors’ Cup finish for the fall (22nd nationally) is the best in ISU history and we are currently fifth in Big 12 all-sports rankings (on the heels of finishing last in seven of the prior eight years).
Unfortunately, one of the key elements in that competitive success – men’s basketball – has not experienced the same level of on-court success as many of our other programs. The competitive performance of our men’s basketball program has been both disappointing and frustrating.
Some fans have suggested that we make a change in the leadership of our men’s basketball program. It is important to understand that many factors are considered when deciding who gets the privilege and honor to be an Iowa State head coach. Certainly, competitive success is an important measure. However, so are the personal character and integrity of our coaches and the performance of our student-athletes in the classroom and in public.
Although we have not yet won games at the level we all desire, Coach McDermott and his staff have exhibited exemplary character and integrity and our men’s basketball student-athletes have performed admirably in many areas. As a result, I remain fully committed and supportive of Coach McDermott and his staff. Our department will continue to provide the necessary resources for our men’s basketball program to be competitive in this league and nationally so that we can achieve the goals we have outlined for our department.
As investors in our athletics program – through season ticket purchases and/or donations to the Cyclone Club – we felt it was important to communicate directly to you about our men’s basketball program.
Thank you for continuing to support us. As true Cyclones, we know that we can count upon your help as we try to reach our goals.
Director of Athletics