ISU makes it official: Heacock is new defensive coordinator

 AMES — It’s finally official: Jon HeacockMatt Campbell‘s defensive coordinator at Toledo the past two seasons — will fill the same role for Campbell at Iowa State.

 Heacock has never coached in the Big 12, but did work with defenses in the Big Ten (notably, Indiana and Purdue). He also coached under Jim Tressel before eventually succeeding him as head coach at FCS Youngstown State. 

“If you see what he did in building Kent State’s defense and what he did at Toledo, you know the quality of a defensive coordinator we are getting," Campbell said in a statement. "He’s also got experience as a head football coach and he is a guy that will bring a great pedigree here on what we are trying to accomplish.

 Find ISU’s news release on the Heacock hire here and below. 

 The following is a news release courtesy of ISU Athletics Communications: 

AMES -— Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell tabbed an experienced and familiar face for his defensive coordinator in Jon Heacock, Campbell announced today. 

Heacock, who will also coach the Cyclone safeties, has 32 years of coaching experience, serving as a head coach at Youngstown State (2001-09) and defensive coordinator stints at Youngstown State (1992-96, 2000), Indiana (1997-99), Kent State (2011-12) and Toledo (2014-15).

“It’s simple to sum up what Jon will bring to our defense — experience and passion,” Campbell said. “If you see what he did in building Kent State’s defense and what he did at Toledo, you know the quality of a defensive coordinator we are getting. He’s also got experience as a head football coach and he is a guy that will bring a great pedigree here on what we are trying to accomplish. He’s a tremendous leader and we are honored to have Jon help us build this program.” 

Heacock held the title of Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator at Toledo from 2014-15, shaping the Toledo defense into one of the best units in the Mid-American Conference. In his two years at UT, the Rockets appeared in a pair of bowl games, won 19 games and shared two MAC West Conference crowns. 

“My family and I have been blessed these last two years working at Toledo,” Heacock said. “It’s because of the opportunity I had working with Matt, Jason (Candle) and the players at Toledo that I am here today at Iowa State. The coaches and people at both places are outstanding.”

In 2015, the Rockets were ranked in the AP Top-25 for most of the season and were at the top of the MAC defensive statistical categories, ranking No. 1 in scoring defense (20.8) and second in rushing defense (114.2). Five Rocket defenders earned All-MAC accolades, including a pair of first-teamers in Orion Jones (defensive tackle) and Cheatham Norrils (cornerback).

The Rockets ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in rushing defense (116.2 yards per game) in 2014 after ranking fifth the season prior (170.4). Toledo’s defense held opponents to 20 points or fewer in five games, helping the Rockets earn a 9-4 record, 7-1 in MAC play.

Four Rockets earned All-MAC honors in 2014, including linebacker Junior Sylvestre, who made first-team All-MAC for the second straight season.

Heacock returned to Toledo after spending one season as the defensive backs coach at Purdue (2013). 

Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Kent State from 2011-12. Under Heacock, the Golden Flashes’ defense had 38 takeaways in 2012, second among all FBS schools, and an FBS-best +1.62 turnover margin. The Flashes finished with an 11-3 record in 2012, including a perfect 8-0 mark in the Mid-American Conference. They were in the upper half of the MAC in nearly every defensive statistical category, including second in rushing defense and fourth in scoring defense.

In 2011, Heacock’s defense was seventh in the FBS in fumbles recovered and turnover margin, 10th in turnovers gained, 18th in tackles for loss and 21st in total defense. 

Prior to joining KSU, Heacock spent nine seasons as the head coach at Youngstown State, which included a 2006 run to the national semifinals in the Football Championship Subdivision. He was named the Gateway Conference Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and ended his tenure with a 60-44 overall record. He was also named the American Football Coaches Association’s Division I-AA Region Four Coach of the Year in both seasons and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

In addition to serving as the head coach at YSU, Heacock also served as the Penguins’ defensive coordinator under Jim Tressel for six years (1992-96, 2000) and defensive backs coach for an additional year (1991), which included Division I-AA national championships in 1991, 1993 and 1994.  

In between his stints on the YSU staff, Heacock served as the defensive coordinator at Indiana from 1997-99.

A native of Beloit, Ohio, Heacock graduated from West Branch High School in 1979. He played college football at Muskingum College, graduating in 1983 with a degree in health and physical education.

In 1984, he served on the football coaching staff at Steubenville High School, where he helped the team to an Ohio Division II State Championship. Heacock then served as the defensive coordinator, defensive line coach, and secondary coach at West Liberty University from 1985 to 1987. 

The next two seasons, he was a graduate assistant on Bo Schembechler’s staff at the University of Michigan, where he worked with both the defensive backs and special teams during a stretch in which Michigan won two Big Ten Conference titles and the 1989 Rose Bowl. 

Heacock and his wife, Trescia, have a son, Jace, and daughter, Adelyn.    

Coaching Experience
2016 Iowa State – Defensive Coordinator, Safeties
2014-15 Toledo – Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator, Safeties
2013 Purdue – Secondary
2011-12 Kent State – Defensive Coordinator, Cornerbacks
2001-09 Youngstown State – Head Coach
2000 Youngstown State – Defensive Coordinator
1997-99 Indiana – Defensive Coordinator
1992-96 Youngstown State – Defensive Coordinator
1991-96 Youngstown State – Defensive Backs
1990 Army – Assistant Coach
1988-89 Michigan – Graduate Assistant
1985-87 West Liberty – Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Line, Secondary 
1984 Steubenville High School – Assistant Coach
1983 Toledo – Graduate Assistant


Rob Gray


Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.

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