AMES, Iowa — Former Toledo coach Matt Campbell is officially the head coach of the Iowa State football team.
A press conference to introduce Campbell was held Monday in Ames. The team’s new coach discussed a number of topics, including his overall thoughts on the somewhat sudden move from Toledo to the Cyclones program.
“I’m truly humbled, honored and privileged to be a part of this great university and great football program,” Campbell said. “It’s an honor for me to be the new head football coach here. It’s honestly been a whirlwind 72 hours. It’s been crazy. But as fate has led us here, I am beyond thankful and grateful to be the new leader of this football program.”
Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard moved quickly to hire Campbell. During his opening remarks Monday, Pollard said Campbell was his first choice in his coaching search. Campbell posted a 35-15 overall record in four seasons coaching the Rockets, including a 9-2 mark this season.
“We wanted a winner. I said this during the basketball search, find me somebody who wins and will win again,” Pollard said.
Campbell is replacing Paul Rhoads, who went 32-55 overall in seven seasons as Iowa State’s head coach. The team has gone 8-28 overall and 4-23 in Big 12 play the last three seasons, and was looking for a fresh start with a new leader. The 36-year-old coach said it won’t be easy to turn this program around.
“I think it’s going to be a process,” Campbell said. “You’ll probably hear me talk a lot about process and probably get annoyed with it at times. But to reach our full potential, that’s what I’m going to ask each and every one of these young men that I get a chance to meet today to do. To get to that point is hard, it takes discipline, commitment, and a foundation from my end to bring that day in and day out. You can’t just talk it you have to show it.”
As for the players, they spoke highly of what they’ve seen from their new coach. Campbell, who agreed to a six-year contract with a $2 million salary for his first year, stressed that it’s all about them moving forward.
“He’s a confident guy and he knows what he’s doing,” quarterback Joel Lanning said. “I think that’s what we need right now is confidence in this program. He has his philosophies and we are going to learn those as quickly as possible.”
“It’s very exciting to hear him talk about how he is a players coach and the process it’s going to take,” linebacker Levi Peters said. “The discipline and hard work that he’s about, that hits home with me. I’ve been here for five years now and it hasn’t been an easy ride, it has been a process.”