CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – “It’s a chance for us to go out there, interact with the fans on a personal level, and say thanks,” said Iowa State men’s basketball coach, Steve Prohm.
Prohm is talking about the Cyclone Tailgate Tour which is making its 13th annual trip around the state. It gives coaches, players, and the administration to give back to the ever so faithful fan base – signing posters, merchandise, and even toasters.
Connor O’Donnell from Nora Springs says he can’t take credit for the originality of the idea but was satisfied with the outcome.
“I saw a meme with Klay Thompson,” said O’Donnell. “As he was signing the toaster, he looked a little bit confused. So I thought it’d be kind of funny to take one here.”
With Coach Matt Campbell’s autograph on the side of his toaster, he says the product is still to be completed.
“(Still) put a couple of stickers on it and get a couple more signatures over the years.”
Coach Campbell said he was excited to see how many children were in attendance at the Surf Ballroom – striking a fond memory of what got him involved in the game.
“I remember being a young kid in the same situation looking up to high school and college players,” said Campbell, Iowa State football coach. “The opportunity for us to get out, interact, give back, and make a difference – that’s one of the core values in what we do with our football program.”
While the event strengthens the team to its fan base, the travel time also allows the comradery within the department to get stronger.
“We’re on a bus for 72 hours so I get to spend a lot of time with other coaches that we don’t get to during the year,” said women’s basketball coach, Bill Fennelly. “The benefit is not just us being with the fans but we all benefit from the chemistry and culture of our own department.”