First reported by The Toledo Blade's Nick Piotrowicz, Matt Campbell has accepted the head coaching position for the Iowa State Cyclones. The Toledo Rockets wanted to keep Campbell as their coach and offered him to be the highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference, but the offer made by Iowa State was too good to turn down.
I've been holding off until I was 100% certain...but I can confirm that Matt Campbell is leaving Toledo for Iowa State. Introduced Monday.— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) November 29, 2015
Campbell was hired as the Toledo head coach in 2011 after Tim Beckman left to be the head coach at Illinois, making him the youngest head coach in FBS at the time (now the second-youngest with PJ Fleck at Western Michigan). He had already been in the program since 2009 working with the offensive line. Turning 36 years old today, the Mount Union alum has a 35-15 record as a head coach with a pair of MAC West co-championships, albeit no championship game appearances, and is 2-1 in bowl games.
Before the Rockets picked up their most recent 63-44 bowl win over Arkansas State, Campbell signed an extension that would keep him through 2020. His current salary is worth $495,000 and making him the highest-paid coach in the MAC would be north of Fleck's $800,000. The buyout on his contract is $200,000.
The Rockets climbed up to the College Football Rankings twice this year. The first time they were ranked, they lost to Northern Illinois 32-27 at home. After a pair of wins, including a sixth-straight rivalry win over Bowling Green, UT still had a chance to make their first MAC Championship game appearance since 2004 as they found themselves back into the rankings before yet another loss at home to Western Michigan 35-30.
After the WMU loss, Campbell was asked to comment about the rumors of him possibly being interviewed for the Missouri job.
"I haven't talked to anybody. I have zero interest in anything other than this football team and being its head football coach, and that's always been my stand on that. This is really important to me and doing it the right way, and getting this thing to where it needs to be is really important to me"
Jamie Pollard, athletic director for Iowa State, flew to Detroit on November 27. It's pretty obvious that rumors about him interviewing Campbell are true, but there was another rumor saying that Dino Babers was also in consideration for the position.
Over the summer, Pollard told The Des Moines Register about the big-picture dreams that he had for ISU after his tenth year as their AD:
"There are a lot of firsts for Iowa State that still need to be accomplished," Pollard said during a wide-ranging recent interview with The Des Moines Register. "Ten years ago, what excited me about the job was a canvas that hadn't been painted on in certain areas. That still excites me.
"If we were to go to a (modern era) Final Four in basketball, if we were to win a Big 12 championship in football, if we were to go to bowl games that we've never been to — those are all firsts that haven't been painted on the canvas at Iowa State.
"Those would be pretty neat. Those would really ignite our fan base even more than they've already been ignited."
In six seasons under Paul Rhoads, the Cyclones went 32-55 (including a pair of losses to Toledo) and was 1-2 in bowl games. All three bowl game appearances came when the Cyclones had 6-6 records. Rhoads signed a 10-year extension in 2012 worth $1.6 million annually, with a $100,000 increase each year.