Team preview: Iowa State

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(All information as of June 20, 2007)


Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard had to take his football program in a different direction last fall when Dan McCarney stepped down after a 12-year stint as head coach. McCarney went 56-85 over that span and took the fall for a 1-7 conference record last year, when the Cyclones finished last in the Big 12 North for the second time in four years.

On Nov. 27, Pollard introduced former Texas and Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik as his new head coach. Chizik was Mack Brown's top assistant for two years and led the defense for the 2005 national champions at Texas, and was chosen the country's best assistant coach during his three-year stint at Auburn. He earned his coaching stripes in stops at Stephen F. Austin and UCF before hitting the big-time with Auburn, and taking the reins at Iowa State is the logical next step for this up-and-coming 45-year-old.

"The career decisions I have made have always been the right ones," Chizik said. "It has been a lifetime professional dream to be the CEO of a college football program, and I couldn't be more pleased that Iowa State University is the institution providing me this opportunity. I've had great mentors to learn from in my career, and I am fully prepared and energized to begin my Cyclone tenure."

Chizik quickly went to work putting together a coaching staff that includes colleagues who've worked with him at almost every step along the way. His relationship with his new defensive coordinator, Wayne Bolt, goes all the way back to 1989 at Clemson, where Chizik was a graduate assistant and Bolt coached the Tiger tight ends.