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Matt Campbell takes the reins at Iowa State

Matt Campbell takes the reins at Iowa State

AMES (AP) — Iowa State has made Matt Campbell the youngest football coach at a Power Five conference school.

On Monday, Campbell began the arduous task of turning around a program whose challenges have vexed coaches much more experienced than he is.

Campbell, 36, took over for the popular Paul Rhoads, whose tenure came to an end with a 30-6 loss at West Virginia over the weekend. The Cyclones went 8-28 in Rhoads' final three seasons, falling to the bottom of the Big 12 after reaching three bowl games in four years.

'I believe in myself.

I believe in our process.

I believe in the coaching staff that I'm going bring in here,' Campbell said in his introductory press conference.

'Quite honestly, I believe in the players we have here now.' Athletic director Jamie Pollard's move to poach Campbell ahead of what should be an extremely competitive coaching market was met with praise both nationally and locally. Pollard says he worked furiously to interview Campbell before the Mid-American Conference title game, even though Campbell declined because he wanted to focus on his team.

Campbell and the Cyclones have agreed to a six-year deal with a starting salary of $2 million.

'The national landscape for head coaches right now is unprecedented. This week and next week will be intense and very stressful for many directors of athletics. It's going to be really fun to sit back and watch and enjoy that because we found our man,' Pollard said One positive for Campbell is that despite winning just three games, Iowa State showed at times that it could compete with anyone.

Campbell was brought to Ames largely because the Cyclones couldn't finish any of those games.

''You're not going to believe this place. Incredible. Culture, the fans, the facilities, the people. This is a really special place,'' Campbell recalled telling his wife. ''It's got great people. I could see us at a place like this someday.''

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