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College Basketball: Iowa State’s Otzelberger retains Byars and Robinson

This news story was published on March 26, 2021.
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AMES – Iowa State head men’s basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger has announced that he will retain assistant coach Daniyal Robinson and director of basketball operations Micah Byars.

The pair has combined to work 18 years at Iowa State, which includes a significant period during the most successful era in program history.

Robinson has had two stints at Iowa State, spending the last six seasons at the school and eight overall. Robinson has been a part of three NCAA Tournament team staffs, which included a Sweet 16 appearance in 2016, and won a pair of Big 12 Tournament titles. He is a 21-year coaching veteran at the Division I level, with three of his seasons at Iowa State spent coaching alongside Otzelberger.

T.J. Otzelberger

“Daniyal is an absolute home run hire for our program,” Otzelberger said. “He is one of the best on-court and developmental coaches that I have been around, while also proving himself time and time again as an excellent recruiter. Daniyal is always prepared and organized, and he is a man of great character. I’m very excited that he will continue to impact student-athletes here at Iowa State.”

During his two stops in Ames, Robinson has coached 12 of the 31 Cyclones all-time that have reached the NBA. Among the players he has helped develop are Craig Brackins, Justin Hamilton, Diante Garrett, Georges Niang, Talen Horton-Tucker, Tyrese Haliburton and Monte Morris.

Respected as one of the top assistant coaches in the country, Robinson was named to Stadium’s list of the top-five assistant coaches in 2020.

Along with five signees ranked in ESPN’s Top 100, Robinson is credited with recruiting the Chicago native Horton-Tucker to Iowa State. Horton-Tucker was the No. 46 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and became ISU’s first NBA World Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

Robinson’s efforts don’t stop on the basketball court. In 2020, Robinson founded (and currently chairs) the Black Assistant Coaches Alliance (BACA). He also serves on the athletics department’s Cultural Humility Committee, a group of employees that participates in educational trainings with a goal of achieving cultural humility within the department.

“My family and I are excited to continue our Cyclone journey on T.J.’s staff,” Robinson said. “T.J. is not only like family to me, but he is someone that has been a great person to work with in the past. He has a relentless work ethic and had his fingerprints all over the resurgence of the program over the last 10 years. I am really looking forward to great things to come in the future.”

Byars recently completed his 10th season at Iowa State and eighth as the director of basketball operations. Byars and Otzelberger’s professional relationship goes back to their time spent at Chipola College in 2004-05, and the pair has worked together three seasons at Iowa State.

“Micah’s character, work ethic and passion for Iowa State Athletics are unparalleled,” Otzelberger said. “Nobody that I have met has a greater desire to see student-athletes succeed and develop than Micah. I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that he will continue in his role as director of basketball operations for our program.”

Iowa State has enjoyed unprecedented success during Byars’ tenure. The Gainesville, Florida native has been on staff for seven NCAA Tournament appearances and four Big 12 Tournament titles.

Seven times a Cyclone student-athlete has earned All-America honors since Byars’ initial season at ISU (2011-12). He has mentored a pair of Academic All-Americans and Big 12 Scholar-Athletes of the Year in Melvin Ejim and Michael Jacobson. Twenty-seven Cyclones have earned Academic All-Big 12 accolades during his tenure.

Like Robinson, Byars is also a member of the Big 12 Black Assistant Coaches Alliance.

“The State of Iowa is home to my family and I couldn’t be more grateful to be able to remain at Iowa State on T.J.’s staff,” Byars said. “The relationships I have built in the community, at the University and with the people in the athletics department, mean a lot to me. Iowa State is a special place and I look forward to continuing to work with our student athletes in the future.”

Byars and Robinson have been on the bench for some of the most memorable victories in Cyclone history, including a 2017 win at No. 3 Kansas that snapped the Jayhawks’ 51-game win streak at Allen Fieldhouse and a 2016 win over top-ranked Oklahoma, the second in school history against a No. 1 team.

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