On Sunday we offered Ken Niumatalolo as a name that could make sense for the Iowa State opening. There is another coach near the Eastern seaboard that could make sense for the Cyclones: Lance Leipold.
Leipold, 51, is the first-year head coach at Buffalo (who, by the way, just lost his athletics director to Central Florida) but made his name mining talent across the Upper Midwest. A Wisconsin native, Leipold served on staffs at Nebraska-Omaha, Nebraska and Wisconsin before returning to his alma mater Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he led the Warhawks to a 109-6 record with six Division III national championships from 2007-14.
Like Leipold, Pollard hails from the Wisconsin system, where he was a national champion distance runner at UW-Oshkosh. Pollard also worked at Wisconsin and Saint Louis before landing at Iowa State a decade ago.
Another tie the two share: Parker Executive Search firm. Parker placed Leipold at Buffalo, and Pollard retained the firm just five months ago to assistant in hiring Steve Prohm to coach the Cyclones’ men’s basketball team.
Beyond that, Leipold offers something Pollard needs: a blueprint to win at Iowa State. The Cyclones aren’t going to catch up with the rest of the Big 12 playing the same style as everyone else with worse players. Like Niumatalolo, Leipold would be a bold step in the opposite direction for Pollard, and a step that needs to be taken.