Sound off on Greg McDermott and his coaching performance all you want, Cyclone Nation.
But lay off his Iowa State players please, McDermott said Monday during a news conference centering on his continued employment as the team’s head coach.
Some ISU fans have been very vocal lately in their displeasure with McDermott and the program’s direction. The Cyclones — an NCAA hopeful coming into the season — have been a major disappointment at 15-16 overall and 4-12 in Big 12 play.
Direct your anger toward McDermott, he asks.
“I’m a big boy. I can handle it,” he said. “(The players) don’t deserve that. They deserve the support of every Cyclone fan out there… It’s not my right to care what other people think of the job that I am doing. They are entitled to their opinion and I respect that.”
Athletic Director Jamie Pollard gave the fourth-year coach a public vote of confidence in an e-mail to donors and ticket holders and later to assembled reporters.
McDermott said his seat never felt hot.
He and Pollard were in constant communication, even though Pollard wasn’t responding to increasing calls for a coaching change.
“The reality is my job was never in jeopardy,” McDermott said on Monday’s teleconference with league coaches. “I don’t have time to worry about what other people think and it’s none of my business what they think. I’ve had the unwavering support of the administration.”
The Cyclones have remain competitive when they could have packed it in.
They are 2-4 in their last six games, with four of the losses by five points or less. One of the wins was the 85-82 overtime shocker at No. 5 Kansas State.
Still, the wins haven’t come as regularly as expected. McDermott is 59-67 overall and 18-46 in Big 12 play.
Pollard feels McDermott still is the right man for the job.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “It’s been disappointing for fans, for Coach McDermott and his staff and for players. There’s a lot of things that have happened… some of which were self-inflicting, some were out of anybody’s control. At this juncture it doesn’t matter.”