T.J. Otzelberger, the associate head coach of the Iowa State men’s basketball team, will leave the Cyclones for a position on the Washington Huskies. His desire to become a Division I head coach, and personal reasons, resulted in the decision to leave Ames after eight years.
Chris Williams from Cyclone Fanatic broke the story earlier today. Otzelberger began as an assistant coach under Greg McDermott back in 2006. He was promoted to his current position in 2010.
His Cyclones.com bio page credits “his relentless work ethic in recruiting, scouting and player development has helped the Cyclones land a number of top-notch recruits and elevated the program back into the national spotlight” on the promotion.
Sticking with the program for eight years and going through a coaching change, it’s clear that Otzelberger loved working with the Cyclones despite other possible jobs he could have landed.
“I have had other opportunities come up over the years but I always enjoyed Iowa State so much,” Otzelberger said. “The passion of the fans – I never took for granted that Hilton Coliseum is one of the best places to play in college basketball because the fans are not only great people but they really support the program.”
The reasons for joining the Huskies is reasonable and makes a lot of sense. First, he has a connection with head coach Lorenzo Romar.
“I’ve had a long relationship with Coach Romar,” Otzelberger said. “I’ve known him since the time that I was in California and he was somebody who always impressed me.”
Washington is also a better fit with his fiance – former Iowa State women’s basketball star Alison Lacey. She played with the Seattle Storm in the WNBA in 2010, helping the franchise win a second championship that season.
“She really loved Seattle as a city,” Otzelberger said. “She has friends here and with her family being in Australia, being able to travel more frequently with less expensive flights and it isn’t as long of a trip. All of those factors played into me making this decision.”
It’s never an easy decision when there’s so much attachment on two different options. But I respect his decision and thank Otzelberger for everything he’s done to help the Cyclones organization and wish him the best in Washington.
All quotes via Chris Williams from a Cyclone Fanatic forum post.