UPDATE: SI reporting Matt Campbell is the clear leader

UPDATE: Sports Illustrated is now reporting that deal has been reached in principle to name Toledo’s Matt Campbell as Iowa State’s next head coach. Below is what Cyclone Fanatic published shortly before 1 p.m. 

Last night, I wrote an extensive column about the possibility of Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck being the next “man” at Iowa State.

That’s an intriguing option but this morning, a source indicated that Toledo’s Matt Campbell is now the hot name to follow. Fleck is not out of the equation, but does seem to be trending downward.

Let’s learn a little bit more about Matt Campbell…

He’s an Ohio native who has led the Toledo program for the last four years after taking over for Tim Beckman in at the 2011 Military Bowl (which Toledo won). Campbell has accumulated a 35-15 record as a head coach during his time at Toledo. 

Of course, the Rockets defeated Iowa State 30-23 on Sept. 19 in overtime. Toledo wrapped up its regular season yesterday with a loss to Western Michigan, finishing the year with a 9-2 record. 

Hiring Matt Campbell would be a lot like the Steve Prohm move this summer. 

They are both young, clean-cut guys with impeccable reputations who have taken the keys and won at traditionally strong mid-major type programs consistently. 

I have mixed emotions about these types of candidates. 

I like them because a guy like Campbell has been a head coach for a number of years, knows what it takes to be a CEO and has been at a place with relatively high expectations. He won’t be using Iowa State to learn how to be a head coach on the job. That’s a good thing. 

These candidates scare me because one could argue that Toledo is the best job in the MAC, where pretty much everybody before him has won. Iowa State is arguably one of the worst jobs in the Big 12. That’s a big change and challenge.

In Campbell’s case, his only real FBS coaching experience (as an assistant or head coach) is in the MAC (Bowling Green and Toledo) so Iowa State would be quite the jump being that he’s never been around a big-time program. 

If Campbell ends up being the man, one would think that he would opt to retain running backs coach Louis Ayeni, who came to Iowa State from Toledo.

Ayeni has the reputation as one of the top members of the current Rhoads staff and that continuity would be nice for Iowa State’s young offense, specifically freshman running back Mike Warren. 

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