Matt Campbell Explains Why He Keeps Refusing To Leave Iowa State

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Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell continues to amaze the blue checkmark media members who figured the 41-year-old Ohio native would’ve jumped at the first offer to come along that would spring him from living in Ames. The checkmarks just can’t understand why a guy who is seven games over .500 after six seasons with the Cyclones wouldn’t take an offer like the reported five-year, $68.5 million deal floated by the Detroit Lions.

“For me, I think very simply put, I didn’t get in this profession to be somebody,” Campbell said during his Big 12 Media Day obligations. “I got in this profession to do something.

“For me, I’ve always said, and I tell this to I think our, society, you’re either trying to be somebody else or you’re trying to do something. I think from my end, what I love about football is to teach. What I love about football is to coach. And what I love about creating a culture where young people feel confident and safe to show up every day and work to become the best version of themselves, where coaches get to show up every day and work to become the best version of themselves, that’s what I love.”

Remember, Matt Campbell was born in Massillon, Ohio, played high school football in Canton, won national championships as a player at Mount Union, and is already being paid handsomely at a university that will name every building on campus after the guy if he can pull off the unimaginable and win a Big 12 title and play in the expanded college football playoff.

We’re talking about a university that hasn’t won conference titles since 1911 and 1912. We’re talking about a university that has five bowl wins all-time. Campbell has two of those wins. We’re talking about a university that is paying its football coach $4 million a year, double what he made when he arrived in Ames from a nice run as Toledo’s head coach.

Campbell’s contract heading into the 2021 season:

• $4 million base

• Earns $250,000 per win after sevens wins; ISU won 9 games in 2020

• His buyout, if he were to leave, has been reduced to $4 million

• $50,000 bonus for winning Big 12 Coach of the Year

Add it all up and Matt Campbell has financial and career incentives to keep the train rolling at Iowa State where the stadium has been expanded to 61,000 seats at a time when some major conference teams are reducing seats — Florida State has plans to reduce capacity to 70,000.

“I think we have worked really hard to create a culture that allows that growth to happen within our walls, and really, that’s what I love about the sport and that’s really what I love about what I get to do day-in and day-out,” Campbell added.

In other words, it’s going to take an ultimate dream job to separate Matt Campbell from Ames, Iowa. Good luck to team owners and college presidents out there. The guy seems set.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. Exceeding a 7 win goal with less talent is way more fun than being expected to go 11-1 plus in a Texas type spot. Anyone who started a dynasty mode with a cupcake in the old PS3 NCAA days knows how much fun that is.

    Coaching a spoiled fan base who expects you to be a savior has never sounded a dream job to me. Chris Peterson looked so much happier in Boise.

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