ISU football fires Pope, Messingham
AMES – A late-season flourish wasn’t enough to save Iowa State offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham’s job.
Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads announced Sunday that Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope had been fired less than 24 hours after Iowa State closed out a 3-9 season with a 52-44 triple-overtime win at West Virginia.
Messingham had been with Rhoads for five seasons, the last two as offensive coordinator. But the Cyclones averaged just 24.8 points a game this season and rank 89th nationally with 143.8 yards rushing per game.
“I want to thank both Courtney and Kenith for their service to Iowa State,” Rhoads said. “They have great character and work ethic, and have been excellent ambassadors for the university and community. They worked hard to help elevate our program and have been an important part of the success we have had in this program the last five years.”
The Cyclones say that Rhoads won’t have additional comment on the moves for at least two weeks.
Messingham was promoted to receivers coach to offensive coordinator before the 2012 season after Tom Herman left to join coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
The Cyclones could never sustain much consistency on offense under Messingham – though an ever-changing quarterback situation had a lot to do with that.
Three different quarterbacks started for Iowa State last season as it finished 6-7 and lost in the Liberty Bowl. Incumbent Sam Richardson hurt his ankle in a season-opening loss to Northern Iowa in September and was never the same.
Neither were the Cyclones.
Iowa State’s inexperienced offensive line was decimated by injuries, and at one point the Cyclones lost seven games in a row before bouncing back with wins over Kansas and the Mountaineers to close the season.
Though Pope had a deep talent pool to work with at running back, his players were left to work behind that same patchwork line. No Iowa State running back averaged more than 4 yards a carry this season.