Paul Rhoads is putting smiles on the faces of Iowa State football fans again.
To the outside world, a coaching record of 12-10 in your second season is no big deal. But to Cyclone fans, it is a cause for celebration.
Rhoads took over a program that had won five games in two years. The previous coach, Gene Chizik (now at Auburn), basically dumped the program and Iowa State.
Rhoads, who grew up down the road from Iowa State, was looking for work after Auburn fired him as defensive coordinator.
Rhoads biggest job was salesman. He had to sell recruits and fans that Iowa State could win again. Sales are one thing and doing it is another.
Rhoads knew it would be difficult. Iowa State is a difficult job. It’s hard to get top-notch recruits. Iowa State doesn’t normally compete for Big 12 titles. The Cyclones are usually near the bottom.
But Rhoads had been an assistant at Iowa State and actually told people he wanted to coach there.
Last season, Rhoads led the Cyclones to a 7-6 record including a signature win at Nebraska and a bowl victory over Minnesota. Fans were giddy.
This season, Iowa State has faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation. And things looked pretty bleak at one point after back-to-back poundings against Utah and Oklahoma. Then the Cyclones traveled to Austin, Texas and defeated the Longhorns for the first time ever.
So with a 5-4 record, Iowa State needs one more victory to become bowl eligible. The Cyclones would love to take care of that chore this week with another upset win against Nebraska.
With the tough schedule, it is amazing that Rhoads has his team in position for more bowling. It’s not difficult to understand why Iowa State fans really like this guy.