Happy Birthday Matt Campbell. On his 36th birthday, Iowa State has officially announced Campbell as the next head coach of the football program.
“Matt’s coaching and playing achievements are extraordinary, but we were even more impressed by his character, leadership and commitment to his family,” Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said in statement. “I could not be more excited to welcome Matt, Erica and their children to the Cyclone Family. We are truly blessed to have one of the industry’s rising stars leading our football program.”
Rising star is right. In 2009, with just two years of division I assistant coaching experiencing, he was hired by Toledo as the run game coordinator. By 2010 he was promoted to offensive coordinator, and in 2011 he took over as the Rockets head coach just before Toledo took on Air Force in the Military Bowl. As a sign of the great things to come with Campbell at the helm, the Rockets won the bowl game 42-41.
Campbell led Toledo to nine wins this season which, in a bit of irony, includes a double overtime win over Iowa State in week three. It likely would have been Campbell’s first 10-win season as well, had the season opener against Stony Brook not been cancelled due to weather. As it is though, it’s the third time in four years he’s led Toledo to nine wins as head coach.
When Campbell took over the reins in Ohio he was the youngest head coach in FBS football, but growing up as a coach’s son, he knows how to win. With an impressive .700 win percentage, he’s the third winningest head coach in Toledo’s history, and he joins good company. The only two coaches ahead of him on that list are Bill Orwig (18-6) and Nick Saban (9-2).
In a conference highlighted by gunslingers, Campbell will come in looking to establish the run. Similar to Baylor, Campbell establishes the run with the use of the spread offense, and he’s pretty good at it. Toledo has consistently ranked near top in rushing under Campbell, and are currently 27th in rushing despite rebuilding the offensive line before the season.
Only time will tell for sure, but it looks AD Jamie Pollard hit a home run. Iowa State fans should be very excited, and the rest of the Big 12 might want to start glancing over their shoulder. With revamped facilities and a new head coach, it’s clear Iowa State plans on being the next Big 12 team to rise from mediocrity to a contender.
“I couldn’t be more excited to receive the opportunity to coach at Iowa State,” Campbell said in a statement. “Two years ago after we played the Cyclones in Ames, I called my wife (Erica) and said you simply would not believe this place. Their fans, the game-day environment and facilities are all incredible.”