ISU FOOTBALL: Golfing for a cause
By BRANDON HURLEY
On a hot, buggy but picturesque day at the Hill outside of Grand Junction, Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell excitedly laid out his vision for the program amid a throng of supporters.
Number one on the list was getting a multimillion dollar sports performance facility off the ground.
Prior to that, the third-year coach fresh off a thrilling bowl win in December, quickly heaped praise on the roughly 80 Cyclone Gridiron Club members in attendance for Cecil Rueter’s 16th annual golf tournament.
“I can’t say enough great things about our Gridiron Club. We are beyond thankful,” Campbell said. “I’ve never had a group like this that has put in so much time and energy into making our program better.
Everything that we get (from the Cyclone Gridiron Club) goes back to our players. So, how do we make their experience better?”
The football program purchased iPads for each player last year, which initiated the transition into the new age of college football, Campbell said.
“How we learn, how we study, how we help the game of football grow has changed,” the coach said. “It used to be play books, but now it’s literally visual evidence day in and day out. Those (iPads) were a huge addition last year.”
Campbell praised the work of Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard for kick-starting the sports performance center project, to be built within a renovated Jack Trice Stadium north entrance. The project will cost in the neighborhood of $65-80 million but has yet to begin construction. Campbell stressed the importance of a the state-of-the-art facility, accessible for all athletes throughout the Iowa State campus.
“A lot of great things are going into this. It used to be the world of strength and conditioning and coaching the game of football,” Campbell said. “But now this area of nutrition is such a huge asset to being the best you could be. This is going to be a huge addition, pushing that needle forward for all of our athletic programs. We’re really excited.”
The Cyclone Gridiron Club announced Friday it will donate $250,000 to the sports performance center with another $100K deposited into the ISU football general reserve.
“That’s why we are out here to make sure our football program is the best that it can be,” Cyclone Gridiron Club president Jay Chapman said.
As summer camp builds momentum, Campbell stressed how vital the work is, in the so-called, “off-season” if there even is one.
“Literally, the next 12 weeks will dictate if we are ready to step on that field. September 2nd and continue to build and grow this football program,” Campbell said. “I can tell you, nobody will work harder than myself and our staff and the kids that we have in our program. I think we have a great challenge for the football team coming up. We’re really appreciative of everything you do for us.”
Campbell continued, saying how a passion isn’t enough, it’s whether you take that extra rep, that extra snap, that extra two-mile run in the dead of heat that takes programs to the next level.
“After the bowl game, I told (our players) there are no guarantees in life, you only get one shot. Your hopes and dreams aren’t guaranteed to you,” Campbell said. “You have to work to get where you want to go. This team had a great January, great February, March, April. and a great May. I’m really proud of what this team has done when nobody else is watching.”
Of course, no college football program reaches top notoriety without a thriving fan base, and Campbell feels ISU has one of the best in the country. Passion, loyalty and dedication are the defining traits of the Cyclone faithful, he said.
“We’re really excited to continue pushing the envelope forward. Without you guys, and I say this every time that we’ve spoken over the last couple of couple of weeks (during the Cyclone Tailgate tour), when we got here, the one constant Iowa State football had was the fan support,” the coach said. “Those people in the stands when there were some really tough times.
The reality of it is, we’ve built through you. Kids came here because they believe that a fan base would come watch and support them no matter what happens.
Now it’s our turn to give back to you. We’re going to relentlessly continue to do that for you and continue to build this program through you.”
Rams host first-ever Gridiron Golf Tournament
Second-year head coach Mitch Moore and the Greene County football team held their inaugural golf outing Saturday, June 2 at the Hill in Grand Junction. A signed football helmet and football were auctioned off during the tournament. The football team also conducted a midnight practice June 1 while the players helped with a community service project Saturday morning.
Moore was a former staff member under the ISU regime before taking the Greene County position in 2017.