College Football

Iowa State's Matt Campbell maintains he's in Ames to stay

Coach focuses on recruiting as rumor mill continues to swirl

Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell talks to Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Kyle Kempt (17) as he goes around to each of his players before the first half of the Big 12 Conference football game between the Iowa State Cyclones and the TCU Horned Frogs at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames Oct. 28. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell talks to Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Kyle Kempt (17) as he goes around to each of his players before the first half of the Big 12 Conference football game between the Iowa State Cyclones and the TCU Horned Frogs at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames Oct. 28. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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AMES — It’s that time of year where coaches’ names get thrown about left and right, whether the fit makes sense or not.

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell has already been associated with openings like Tennessee. And then disassociated after ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported on Saturday’s “College GameDay” that Campbell’s $9.4 million buyout was too steep of a price for Tennessee.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of big openings, and given what Campbell has done in his two years at Iowa State, teams will inquire.

Schools like TCU and Minnesota have already locked down their coaches with extensions to quell the talks of their respective coach leaving.

That’s important because the time between the end of the regular season and the bowl game is a time when recruiting picks up. Campbell said his first priority will be getting on the recruiting trail.

Teams are only allowed 15 practices for bowl preparation. Campbell said they’ll practice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the week before the bowl, which they’ll treat as a normal game-preparation week.

That leaves the weekdays of two or three weeks to be heavy recruiting days.

What will Campbell tell recruits about whether he’s going to be at Iowa State long-term?

“You can tell the recruits whatever you want but I think until you show it, and until it’s proven, then it is what it is,” Campbell said. “That’s the reality of the times we live in. Kids are too smart, they’re 18-22-year-old kids.

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“It ends up being your loyalty to stay and being who you say you are. I think that’s the key to success in terms of longevity and building a program.”

Without a bona fide extension that ensures Campbell is staying, it’s just lip service.

Even still, if Campbell doesn’t get an extension and a raise in the next few weeks, he assured recruits and Cyclone Nation that he’s in Ames to stay.

“We’re here for the long haul, we’re going to build this thing the right way and we’re going to do it with those guys,” Campbell said.

Campbell has laid the foundation for Iowa State’s future. He’s started to build the culture that he wants — a player-led team that holds itself accountable and doesn’t flinch when the going gets tough.

Senior quarterback Kyle Kempt hopes that the team can use the close losses and the minor detail lapses the team had this year as a tool for next year with a new senior class and new fresh faces.

“As a senior class, we’ve really changed this culture and it goes to show for those young guys that those little details are the difference between us being 7-5 and 10-2,” Kempt said.

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