Iowa State Cyclones

Tom Manning returning to Iowa State football coaching staff

Matt Campbell makes several changes to his staff

Tom Manning, instructing players in 2016, is returning to Iowa State as offensive coordinator. (Scott Morgan/freelance)
Tom Manning, instructing players in 2016, is returning to Iowa State as offensive coordinator. (Scott Morgan/freelance)

AMES — Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell is bringing back a familiar face to fill a position that was blank last fall.

Campbell announced Friday several changes to his coaching staff, including the return of Tom Manning as offensive coordinator.

Manning spent last season coaching tight ends with the Indianapolis Colts.

Manning helped the Colts advance to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs and a 10-6 record, tutoring Eric Ebron into a Pro Bowl selection.

“We are thrilled to have Tom return as a valuable member of our staff,” Campbell said in a news release. “He is familiar with our program and played a big role in helping establish our culture here.

“He is an excellent coach and brilliant offensive mind, has been a highly successful play caller and he already has respect within our walls.”

In his previous two seasons with the Cyclones (2016-17), they averaged 27.7 points in 2016 (ninth-best in school history) and 29.2 points in 2017 (third in ISU annals).

ISU averaged 421.6 yards of total offense in 2016, the fourth-best mark in the ISU record book. The Cyclones established the top-two passing offenses in the program history (272.9 in 2017 and 258.8 in 2016) with Manning calling plays.

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Campbell also added Matt Caponi, who most recently directed the defensive backs at West Virginia (2016-18), to work with the secondary. A college teammate of Campbell at Mount Union, Caponi has been a full-time assistant with the Mountaineers and Arizona.

In addition, Nate Scheelhaase, Iowa State’s running backs coach in 2018, will shift to wide receivers, replacing Bryan Gasser, whose contract was not renewed. Quarterbacks coach Joel Gordon has been promoted to passing game coordinator and special teams coach Joe Houston will move to an off-the-field position.

“I am very excited with the changes we made with our football staff,” Campbell said in the release. “We brought in coaches who are familiar with our program, our league and our culture. I also made some adjustments internally which will better serve our student-athletes.”

Caponi, who has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, is reuniting with Campbell. The two Mount Union graduates were teammates as players and colleagues as coaches at that Division III power. Caponi comes to Ames after serving as defensive backs coach at West Virginia the last three seasons when the Mountaineers were one of the top defensive teams in the Big 12. He coached the safeties at Arizona (2013-15) before going to WVU.

“Matt is a rising star in this profession,” Campbell said. “I’ve watched him grow as a player and coach, and he will be a great asset to our defense. He understands the game, is a hard worker and will have an excellent rapport with our student-athletes.”

Scheelhaase and Gordon had impressive debut seasons in Ames. Scheelhaase coached a productive group of tailbacks, including All-American David Montgomery. Gordon navigated through the loss of a starting QB in the first game and tutored true freshman Brock Purdy through a terrific rookie season.

“I could not have been more impressed with Nate and Joel in their first seasons as full-time assistants at Iowa State,” Campbell said. “They are excellent coaches, superb teachers and understand our process. Each has an outstanding future and our offensive room and our players benefit from their dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm.”

The Cyclones open spring practice on March 12, but will not host a spring game.

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