I have often written in this space that football coach Paul Rhoads and Iowa State are a good match. Last week, those parties made their commitment to each other in a long-term way when Rhoads was given a 10-year, $20-million contract.
Rhoads has been a miracle worker of sorts at the Ames, Iowa school. He has led them to two bowl appearances in three years. His first team made a bowl, won the bowl and finished 7-6.
After a hiccup last season, Iowa State entered this year with a tough schedule and low fan expectations. A bowl game was a major stretch so it seemed. But Rhoads’ boys bought into his salesmanship and the Cyclones overachieved. Their signature win against then ranked No. 2 Oklahoma State shocked the college football world.
So this 6-6 team is better than its record. A win against Rutgers in the bowl game will give Iowa State two winning seasons in three years under Rhoads.
That may not excite the masses, but Iowa State isn’t exactly a football powerhouse. However, Rhoads is making people across the country notice the program. His postgame locker room speeches have excited players and fans alike. The speeches even were posted on YouTube.
Rhoads has become a hot coaching prospect and other schools may come calling eventually. But Rhoads grew up just down the road from the Iowa State football stadium. He understands Iowa State football. He is home.
Iowa State is happy. Rhoads is happy. The two parties are in love hopefully for at least 10 more years.