By Rob Gray
AMES — Back in in the day in Toledo, Ohio, the Fennellys' TV might as well have featured just one channel — and it didn’t broadcast live programming.
“We didn’t watch a lot of TV,” said longtime Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly, who formerly coached the Toledo Rockets. “We watched film.”
That must-see TV many years ago brought all the Fennellys together — Bill, his wife Deb, and sons, Billy and Steven.
They ordered pizza. They stuffed recruiting information into envelopes.
And today at 2 p.m., Steven returns to Hilton, but this time will eventually stroll to the opposing bench.
Steven Fennelly is a first-year assistant coach with Cal State-Fullerton (1-6).
Bill Fennelly has led the No. 20 Cyclones (7-0) for 18-plus seasons and used to have both sons on his bench.
“I think it will be harder on me,” said ISU’s head coach, who has led his team to seven straight NCAA Tournaments. “Mom can sit in the stands and root for both teams and feel good about it. I think it will be hard for Steven because he’ll probably come over here and sit on this bench and forget he’s got to go to the other bench.”
One thing Steven, the Cyclones’ former video coordinator, won’t forget is how his dad runs things — as well as each player’s tendencies.
“He knows our kids,” Bill Fennelly said. “He knows what the do, he knows what they won’t do.”
Lately, the collective “do” list includes lots of scoring.
ISU averages 82.6 points per game — and beat Northern Iowa 83-55 Wednesday despite star forward Hallie Christofferson playing only 22 minutes because of rare foul trouble.
“My teammates were always there,” said Christofferson, who still scored 22 points. “They were like, ‘We’ve got to get you back in.’ They were always supportive. They didn’t miss a beat.”
Nor will the Fennellys, no matter the seating arrangements.“I used to tell people I think our kids used to learn to count on a scoreboard …” Bill said. “That’s kind of all they've known.”