Iowa State Basketball's Black Eye Has Finally Healed

By Jack Dooley
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg is two wins away from becoming the winningest head coach in a four year period at Iowa State. If Iowa State can get a win against West Virginia on Wednesday, the Cyclones will finish the month of February with a 7-1 record. The win would make this the winningest month in Cyclone history and would put the Cyclones at 10 conference wins. If Iowa State breaks the 10 win conference threshold Wednesday, it will mark the the third consecutive year that Iowa State has had double digit conference wins.

Coach Hoiberg has already led Iowa State to the longest winning streak in school history. At 21-5, Iowa State is having their best season since the 1999-2000 campaign. That season Iowa State finished 32-5, winning the Big 12 Conference tournament and making an appearance in the Elite Eight. Iowa State was ousted from the Elite Eight by eventual national champion Michigan StateIowa State’s head coach at the time was Larry Eustachy. Eustachy took Iowa State to new heights in his first four years but will be forever remembered for his actions following a road game against the Missouri Tigers on Jan. 21, 2003.

Eustachy’s attendance at a Missouri fraternity party opened the floodgates to the harsh reality of the direction that Iowa State’s program had taken since their Elite Eight run. After winning back-to-back Big 12 titles in 2000 and 2001, Eustachy’s team would go a combined 9-23 in conference play. As bad as things had been for Iowa State on the court, 2002-03 was much worse off the court. Eight players left the program and six players were arrested in a year. Assistant coach Randy Brown resigned Mar. 3, 2003 after being charged with possession of Internet Child Pornography. All of these events transpired while Eustachy proudly proclaimed that he was “the best functioning alcoholic in the country.”

After a heavy push by the athletic director for the firing, Eustachy eventually resigned on May 6, 2003. For the next seven years, Iowa State wore a massive shiner and suffered mightily. The once proud program that was built to respectability by the great Johnny Orr had been tarnished by the actions of Eustachy. Iowa State would only make the NCAA tournament once in seven years following Eustachy’s resignation in 2005.

In an attempt to try and bring back the glory years of Iowa State basketball, the Cyclones hired Hoiberg. Hoiberg’s No. 32 hangs in the rafters of Hilton Coliseum. The move has been more than just a move to regain support in the state of Iowa; Hoiberg has healed all the wounds that Eustachy inflicted on the program. Each win chips away at the memory of Eustachy’s tenure. While Cyclone Alley can never fully forget the pain that Eustacy’s actions caused the program, Hoiberg has brought Iowa State program back to the level of respectability it once had.

Jack Dooley is a Big 12 basketball writer for Rant SportsYou can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyRS.

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