Iowa State University head football coach Matt Campbell was honored this past weekend by FCA with the 2018 Grant Teaff Coach of the Year Award at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention in San Antonio.
“The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is honored to recognize Coach Matt Campbell, not only for Iowa State’s strong season and the Cyclones’ trip to the Alamo Bowl, but for the way he has made an indelible imprint for Christ on his players over the years,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “We congratulate Coach Campbell and his players and staff for their accomplishments on the field, as well as for the way Matt has touched the lives of innumerable young athletes as he glorifies God through the game of football.”
Besides a breakfast on Monday that honored Campbell as this year’s Grant Teaff award recipient, FCA hosted other events at the football coaches’ convention in San Antonio. These included an FCA worship service Sunday morning featuring University of Texas Director of Player Development Kevin Washington and a Coaches Huddle Sunday evening, where new and seasoned coaches could discuss victories, challenges and shared coach experiences from a faith perspective.
Matt Campbell, who has an amazing championship pedigree as both a player and coach, was named head football coach at Iowa State University on Nov. 29, 2015. From there, he initiated a rebuilding plan and laid the foundation of future success in his first season as the head man at Iowa State in 2016. At the outset, he implored his team to “Trust The Process,” and this philosophy has paid major dividends.
Campbell’s 2017 Cyclone squad caught the nation’s attention with their drastic improvement, placing Iowa State football into the national rankings and the college football spotlight. The team topped Memphis 21-20 to win the 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl and fell to Washington State by a narrow margin (28-26) in the 2018 Alamo Bowl.
When Campbell joined the Iowa State coaching family, Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard had high praise for the Cyclones’ new coach.
“Matt’s coaching and playing achievements are extraordinary, but we were even more impressed by his character, leadership and commitment to his family,” Pollard said. “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.
“We wanted someone with high character,” he added. “There’s not a person who we talked to that could say one bad thing about Matt Campbell.”
Campbell’s belief system is grounded in building relationships. He has been referred to as a players’ coach often. Building relationships is at the foundation of his recruiting prowess. Rivals.com named him a “top recruiter” in 2011 and his last three classes were ranked first or second in the MAC.
His first two Iowa State recruiting classes rank among the best in school history, including the 2017 group, which was rated No. 40 nationally by Rivals, the highest by the recruiting service since 2004. The Cyclones saw an 8-5 overall record in 2018 (6-3 in the Big 12 Conference).
A few of his honors over the past several years have included: 2017 AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year (Iowa State), 2017 Semifinalist for the George Munger Award (Iowa State), 2017 Big 12 Coach of the Year (Iowa State) and 2015 MAC Coach of the Year (Toledo). Campbell signed a six-year contract extension at Iowa State in 2017.
Prior to his time at Iowa, Campbell spent four-plus seasons at the University of Toledo, as well as coaching positions at Bowling Green and his alma mater, Mount Union, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 2002. Campbell and his wife, Erica, have four young children: Kaetlyn, Isabella, Rudy and Rocco.
Named after Grant Teaff, former Baylor University coach, AFCA executive director and Trustee Emeritus of the FCA Board of Trustees, the Coach of the Year Award presented by FCA recognizes a football coach who exemplifies Christian principles and who is involved in FCA. The award is also based on the success and performance of the coach’s team that season. Previous winners include Scott Frost (2017), John Stiegelmeier (2016), Larry Fedora (2015), Dabo Swinney (2014), Tommy Bowden, Tommy Tuberville and Jerry Kill.