AMES — Kyle Starcevich tried not to think about it.
While Iowa State’s spring game unfolded, Starcevich, who is the holder and a backup quarterback, knew his moment was about to come. He tried to keep the nerves of his upcoming proposal to his girlfriend, Tori Monroe, at bay.
“I tried not to (think about it) but all my teammates kept reminding me,” Starcevich said. “They were like, ‘Hey man, big moment. Are you ready? Are you nervous?’ I was a little nervous but I kept it pretty cool.”
Even the head coach got in on it.
When Iowa State coach Matt Campbell learned Starcevich intended on proposing to Monroe, who works in the football offices, he came up with a plan.
Following the game in the middle of the field inside Jack Trice Stadium, Campbell huddled the team for a normal breakdown talk and brought Monroe in front of the team. She thought she was going to be presented some kind of award, which would be given by Starcevich.
Instead, Starcevich got down on one knee— with his teammates, most notably quarterback Jacob Park— hooting and hollering behind him.
“Probably the biggest storyline (of the day) is Kyle and Tori, they’ve dated for five years,” Campbell said. “Tori has worked in out football office since I’ve been here and Kyle Starcevich, and unbelievable kid, obviously Tory a great girl and it’s great to see those two.
“(They are) high school sweethearts getting engaged, so we’ll see if Jack Trice brings them a little luck.”
Starcevich and Monroe met the summer before their senior year in high school and have dated ever since. They are both expecting to graduate in December and are likely looking at a fall of 2018 wedding date — although Starcevich said he’d leave the details to Monroe.
“The ring was actually in the safe (leading up to the game) with (assistant to the head coach) Erica Genise, who Tori works for, and she’s the only one who has the code for it,” Starcevich said. “It was five feet from Tori every day when she was working and she had no idea.”
Warren, Croney impress during spring
This spring was a pivotal moment for running backs Mike Warren and Sheldon Croney Jr. Both answered Campbell’s challenges the way he hoped.
Warren had four carries for 28 yards and two touchdowns Saturday while Croney, vying for a spot as the third running back, had 10 carries for 39 yards — both game highs.
“Sheldon’s been maybe one of the great surprises of camp,” Campbell said. “I think as much as I’ve challenged any player on our team, I probably challenged Sheldon Croney when he came back this football season. Who are you? What’s your role? How do you help us have success here? Sheldon’s answered the bell.”
Warren has been touted by Campbell and running backs coach Lou Ayeni as having a productive spring. Last year saw him lose his starting job to sophomore David Montgomery while struggling with injuries in the final weeks. He’s seemingly put all of that behind him in the offseason.
“I think it adds a lot of excitement and gives himself confidence now going into the summer and obviously next fall,” Campbell said. “We’re going to need Mike Warren in a major way to be playing at an elite level for us. He’s a guy that’s certainly got that kind of ability.”
Six former players named honorary coaches for game
Iowa State hosted six former players as honorary coaches for the spring game. David Archer, Reggie Hayward, George Amundson, Leonard Johnson, Todd Blythe and Lane Danielsen were recognized on the field at halftime.