Iowa State coach Matt Campbell talks about his team’s big, last-play win against Texas
Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Get back to me when Penn State or Notre Dame or Ohio State have football head coaching vacancies.
Until then …
Those are schools above are the ones that Iowa State fans should red-flag. If James Franklin ever leaves his home state Penn State, well, then let your stomachs grumble with anxiety that Matt Campbell could really be leaving Iowa State.
In my mind, those are the three college jobs that would catch the sought-after Cyclone coach’s interest, but more on that later.
The fact that Campbell re-upped Tuesday morning was a public relations bonanza. He’s on the road recruiting. Now, he’s on the road recruiting with the calling card of just having signed an amended contract that’s through the 2025 season.
“Hi, I’m Coach Campbell, and I’ve just signed a contract extension.”
That’s certainly got a better ring to it than having to deny all the Campbell-to-Florida State unsubstantiated stuff that’s been out there the past 48 hours.
Athletics director Jamie Pollard and his football coach quickly turned that Campbell’s gone negative into a positive in the final weeks of the early signing period.
We don’t have details of this deal yet, other than a year was added to his contract extension from January, but that was a smart move Iowa State and Campbell to redirect the narrative here.
“I greatly appreciate Dr. (Wendy) Wintersteen’s and Jamie’s proactive approach to extending my contract,” Campbell said in a Tuesday morning statement released by the university. “My staff and I will be on the road this week actively recruiting the next class of Cyclones, and it is important for recruits and their families to understand my commitment to Iowa State.”
And this from Pollard:
“Both Matt and I wanted to send a message to our fans and recruits and their families, that he is excited about the future of our football program. We are fortunate to have Matt leading our student-athletes and look forward to the continued success of our football program.”
So, in the department of least shocking news of the day, Campbell was extended almost 11 months to the day after signing his most recent contract. With unsubstantiated rumors that had the Cyclones coach on the verge of telling players he’s heading to Florida State …
Along comes the news that he’s signed a new contract.
Good for Iowa State. Good for Campbell.
Stuff like this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s probably been in the works since Saturday’s 27-17 loss at Kansas State, maybe longer.
The fact it came so close to recruiting and Monday’s unsupported rumors and without contractual details — well, good again for Pollard and Campbell being pro-active. The early National Letter of Intent signing period is two weeks away.
It’s closing time now on many of the final members of the 2020 signing class.
They details will come sometime after the bowl game — probably around the first week of January.
I don’t know how long Campbell will lead an Iowa State program that he’s transformed into one of the better ones in the Big 12 in short period of time. I don’t know if his end game is to be Bill Snyder-like, which every Cyclones fan can only, or whether he’s waiting for one of those Midwest powerhouses I mentioned.
All I know is that he’s not abandoning ship for even very good (but has some issues) programs like Florida State or, previously, Tennessee.
During a one-on-one with Campbell before this 7-5 season started, it was apparent that he was in no rush to leave Ames.
“We have so much to do here,” Campbell said during a lengthy August one-on-one in his office. “We’re close, but we have so many areas to grow.”
The biggest growth has been the program’s foundation, which is so good right now, that 2020 could be that breakout season.
Nine defensive starters return. And perhaps that unit has better health.
They return their quarterback, Brock Purdy, and he may be the best next season in the Big 12.
They found their running back after a month of looking this season. And Breece Hall has the looks of a franchise back too.
The receivers are deep and talented. And the tight end, Charlie Kolar, is probably the best in the country and an eventual high NFL Draft pick.
No wonder why Florida State may have wanted Campbell.
No wonder why six NFL teams gauged his interest after last season.
So why shouldn’t you worry every time you hear Campbell’s name mentioned with an opening?
Let him explain:
“You have success, and everybody wants to move you along and you through,” Campbell told me during our summer conversation. “That’s never even been remotely why I got into this. My goal was never to become a Division I football coach; I didn’t aspire to be that. At one point, I was like, “Man, I want to be the head coach at a place like my alma mater — Mount Union.”
Campbell makes $3.5 million. His previous contract carries a $6 million buyout — steep, but not deal-busting steep if someone wants him bad enough.
Campbell loves where he works. He has a wonderful relationship with his bosses. Fans idolize him. Expectations there don’t take the thrill out of it. Facilities are being upgraded to the tune of $90 million.
“I’m not naïve enough to think that we can dictate where somebody wants to work,” Pollard told me last summer. “That’s a very personal choice, but I also know as long as we keep provide what they need to be successful — he seems to be wired in a way that I think he lives in the present about as good as anybody I’ve ever been around that’s been coach.”
Iowa State fans know that, too, and here’s one more thing they’ve grown accustomed to:
New contract or not, Campbell-to-Wherever chatter will continue.
They’ve also learned how to tune most of it out.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at email@example.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.
Source: Des Moines Register