Let me get this out there right away: This post is going to rub some people the wrong way. That is fine. As I stated when I started this blog, I plan to call it like I see it. This is how I see it.
Earlier this week we learned that Jeff Grayer, Cyclone legend and career scoring leader, would leave the Iowa State basketball staff and return to Michigan. His reason for doing so was his desire to coach and recruit- an opportunity that he wouldn’t immediately have under Coach Hoiberg. This led to much gnashing of teeth among fans and cries that Grayer had somehow been “screwed over” by Iowa State.
Time out. While it’s certainly an unfortunate situation, nobody currently associated with Iowa State screwed over Jeff Grayer. If any fingers should be pointed, they should be pointed west, as in just west of the Missouri River. Shortly after the rumors began to swirl that Grayer may be returning to Ames as an assistant coach, I posted on a Cyclone messageboard that it was nothing more than a desperate PR move by a head coach with nowhere else to turn. Grayer was being pulled into a mess that he didn’t deserve to be associated with.
Nobody will ever convince me that our former head men’s basketball coach truly believed that Grayer was the key to turning around what had become a mess of a program. In fact, McDermott would ultimately prove this through his actions just a few days later when he bailed out and headed to Creighton. If you truly believe that you’re heading in the right direction at a Big 12 school, you don’t retreat back to the Missouri Valley.
The hire never made sense under McDermott, and when Hoiberg was tabbed as the new head coach, it didn’t make sense for the Mayor to offer Grayer one of the three assistant coaching jobs. When the head man is lacking coaching experience, his assistants dang well better have it. And that is exactly why Hoiberg offered Grayer an administrative position. It’s nobody’s fault that this role wasn’t enough to keep Grayer in Ames.
It would have been nice to see Grayer put some time in as an administrator and see where it went from there. It would not have shocked anyone to see him finally get his shot at stepping onto the Hilton floor as an assistant at some point in the future. Learn the ropes, give Hoiberg some time to get his feet underneath him, then throw your hat in the ring when the first desirable vacancy comes along.
It wasn’t to be. For now, Grayer will return to Michigan to be with his family and pursue his dream through different avenues. Yes, it was an unfortunate series of events. Just don’t cry foul and point any fingers at those in the Sukup Complex or Jacobson Building.