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Gene Taylor's time as the Iowa deputy athletic director helped him become the Kansas State athletic director.

How his Iowa tenure helped Gene Taylor become Kansas State AD, lessons from Tate Wildeman’s recruitment

The best way to start your day is right here at as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Tuesday, April 18.

How Iowa helped Gene Taylor land the Kansas State AD gig

Kansas State introduced Iowa deputy athletic director Gene Taylor as the Wildcats’ new athletic director at a news conference Monday. Kellis Robinett of the Wichita Eagle, recapped the entire event, and touched upon the importance of Taylor’s time with the Hawkeyes for getting this job.

Taylor, as athletic director, took North Dakota State from Division II to Division I and oversaw a football program which turned into an FCS national power. Despite sterling credentials, Taylor struggled to get a call-back for a major athletic director opening.

“I had aspirations to be a Power 5 athletic director,” Taylor said. “But as opportunities came up, I really wasn’t getting the opportunity to sit at the table for interviews, even with the success we had at North Dakota State.”

He needed to move to Iowa, where he spent 3 years, to open the door to a future job such as Kansas State.

The move proved worth it. Taylor starts at his new job on May 1 and his time with Iowa helped him land become the athletic director of a Big 12 university.

“His success at North Dakota State and the success he has had at Iowa, working as the deputy, stood out for me,” Kansas State president Richard Myers said. “But more than the résumé, it’s his humility, his ability and the seriousness with which he takes relationships. Those are the things that stood out. I feel he is a good fit for me and a good fit for the department.”

Taylor’s biggest task won’t be one of his first. How he replaces 77-year-old football coach Bill Snyder, whenever he retires, is likely to define his tenure.

Kansas State struggled the first time it replaced Snyder. Ron Prince went 17-20 as the head coach from 2006-08, failing to make a bowl game in 2 of his 3 seasons. Snyder returned for the 2009 season and, entering his 26th season, has won 202 games in his two tenures in Manhattan.

Kansas State can’t afford to miss again when it comes to Snyder’s successor.

How recruiting works

There is a lesson for the Hawkeyes in Iowa legacy recruit Tate Wildeman’s commitment to Nebraska last weekend: Relationships trump everything in recruiting.

On the surface, the Hawkeyes seemed like a natural landing spot for Wildeman. He is the son of former Iowa DL Parker Wildeman, a player from the 1990s. Iowa offered the Parker (Colo.) Legend High defensive end in early April.

But if you do a little digging, as this story from Omaha World-Herald’s Sam McKewon does, and it details why the Huskers needed to be installed as a betting-line favorite.

New Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, a former Hawkeye, is a family friend. Pre-established relationships never hurt — they also cut down on the amount of time a recruit and coach need to get to know each other. And it didn’t hurt the Cornhuskers courted Wildeman as if it was a debutante ball. Wildeman told the Omaha World-Herald that Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella was “showing him love” with notes and messages the last several months.

It’s no wonder he committed to Nebraska. The story here isn’t a legacy choosing to go elsewhere. It’s that relationships matter. Wildeman’s recruitment highlights why it’s the key to landing a commitment.

Lots of links

  • Where will Iowa players land in the NFL draft?
  • How Iowa offensive line signee Coy Kirkpatrick broke his dad’s high school discus record.
  • How often does Iowa recruit Pennsylvania?
  • Land of 10’s Scott Dochterman joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Marc Morehouse to discuss the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry on the latest On Iowa podcast.