Iowa State head men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm announced today his initial coaching staff.
Prohm has retained T.J. Otzelberger as an assistant coach from Fred Hoiberg’s staff and announced he will bring William Small with him from his staff at Murray State. Former Iowa State assistant and most recently a staffer at Loyola (Chicago), Daniyal Robinson (dan-yell), will return as an assistant coach.
On the administrative side, Micah Byars will remain in his role as Director of Basketball Operations, while High Point assistant coach Neill Berry joins the staff as Special Assistant to the Head Coach.
“I am excited about the staff that I’ve been able to assemble,” Prohm said. “This was a unique situation because Fred (Hoiberg) went to the NBA and I wanted to be very respectful to everybody involved in the process. “I thought that because of the success of the program it would be important to have some continuity.
“I also wanted some people around me that I’ve known for a while, to recruit the South, which is an area that has been very good to us. I also wanted to add some people with strong junior college and Midwest ties. It was important to me to have coaches with good character that are going to do things the right way on and off the court.”
A long-time Iowa State assistant and native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Otzelberger recently returned to Ames after a two-year stint at Washington. Prior to leaving for Washington, Otzelberger spent three years on Hoiberg’s staff and four years on Greg McDermott’s staff at Iowa State. He has played a key role in bringing five of Iowa State’s top 30 scorers in school history to Ames.
“T.J. has been terrific throughout the process,” Prohm said. “I have talked to every one of his former bosses and everyone gave him glowing reports about the type of assistant that he was. He has a great passion for Iowa State and he understands the kind of player you have to have here to win.”
Otzelberger was in charge of all opponent scouting reports and implementation of game plans while on staff with Hoiberg.
“Coach Prohm is someone that I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for in the coaching profession,” Otzelberger said. “His teams have great confidence and he has a track record for developing players that play with great purpose. I can’t wait to get started working with him.”
Small brings 20 years of coaching experience to the Cyclone staff, including the last four seasons under Prohm at Murray State. Prior to joining the MSU staff, Small spent the 2010-11 season under former Iowa State head coach Tim Floyd at UTEP.
Small and Prohm’s relationship dates back to their days coaching with current Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy at Southeastern Louisiana. The group revived a struggling program and won back-to-back Southland Conference titles and the school’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m glad that William will be joining me here in Ames. We’ve got a relationship that goes back about 15 years to when we were at Southeastern Louisiana,” Prohm said. “He helped me along the path when I was a young coach and we were able to rejoin forces at Murray State. He was a huge part of our success, recruiting great players and doing a great job on and off the floor developing players the right way. He is about the right things and I’m excited to get him here.”
Small played an integral part in the Racers’ success the last four seasons, helping them to a 104-29 record and three postseason berths. The Winona, Mississippi, native, played key roles in recruiting and developing NBA players Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky) and Cameron Payne (Murray State). He also coached NBA player Isaiah Canaan for two years at MSU.
“First and foremost, the opportunity to work with one of my best friends in Coach Prohm means a lot to me,” Small said. “I look forward to being a part of the Iowa State and Ames communities. Getting to work at Iowa State and in the Big 12 is exciting. I’ve watched a lot of Iowa State and this is a wonderful opportunity for my family and me.”
Robinson, who was at Iowa State from 2008-10, spent the last two seasons at Loyola after a stint with Houston from 2010-13. While at Houston, Robinson helped develop TaShawn Thomas into one of the top players in Conference USA. Thomas ultimately moved onto Oklahoma where he was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2015. At Loyola, Robinson was part of a 24-win season in 2014-15 that culminated with a CBI title.
“I felt like I needed to bring in someone that had really good Midwest ties and junior college ties, and someone that could really relate to the guys that we are going to coach here at Iowa State every day,” Prohm said. “Daniyal’s name kept coming up from the people that are really close to me. He is a coach that can get on them on the floor but also does a really good job building relationships off the court. His familiarity with Iowa State was a big draw for me.”
In his first tenure in Ames, Robinson helped tutor three future NBA players in Diante Garrett, Justin Hamilton and Craig Brackins.
“I’m excited to work with Coach Prohm. He’s a great coach with an impeccable reputation, which is something you want to be associated with,” Robinson said. “I know the kind of environment that Hilton Coliseum has and I am honored for the opportunity to coach there again. The people of Ames and the administration, with Jamie Pollard and David Harris leading the way, are terrific and our family is looking forward to returning.”
Byars recently completed his fourth season at Iowa State, including the last two as Director of Basketball Operations. In his first two seasons at ISU, Byars served as Director of Player Development. He has also coached at Chipola College (2003-05), New Orleans (2001-03) and Santa Fe Community College (1999-2001).
“Micah is another familiar face for our players,” Prohm said. “He kind of has a hand in everything and for me coming into the job brand new, he’s been able to cover a lot of ground. I’ve known Micah since I was an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana and he was at New Orleans. He understands the Iowa State culture and has a great passion for these kids and that was important to me.”
In his role, Byars will continue to coordinate the daily operations and administrative functions for Iowa State, which includes game scheduling and assisting with the coordination of the recruitment process.
“I am excited about the opportunity to join Coach Prohm’s staff and to continue working at Iowa State,” Byars said. “The future of the program is bright under his direction and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Berry, who played for Prohm at Southeastern Louisiana, will serve as Special Assistant to the Head Coach and be responsible for helping Prohm with special projects, analysis for purposes of player development and coordinating video operations.
“I always want to try to hire former players if I can and Neill fits that bill,” Prohm said. “In the position I put Neill in, I wanted to have someone that had recruiting experience and scouting experience. He’s been a successful assistant and that is something I was looking for. He checks all the boxes that I wanted. He has character, passion and is a really good family man.”
Berry joins the Cyclone staff after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at High Point University. While at High Point, the Panthers won their division of the Big South twice (2012-13, 2013-14). In 2014-15, the league went away from divisions and High Point tied with Charleston Southern for the league title. He has also spent time coaching at South Carolina (2009-12) and Western Kentucky (2005-08).
“I am very grateful to Coach Prohm and the Iowa State administration for this unbelievable opportunity,” Berry said. “I can’t wait to get up there and get to know the players and the rest of the staff, and build on the school’s great tradition.”
Some hires are pending administrative approval and background checks.