Campbell beat us with Toledo, and now has Iowa State in a much better place than they have any right to be. However, he’s long been rumored to be a “probably going to the Big 10 and nowhere else guy.” Do you think the geographic origins of a coach matter?
Adam: Not at all. Sure, I’d rather fail with an Arkansas guy than with a non-Arkansas guy, but I’d prefer most of all to get the best coach period. Campbell shows a lot of signs that he’s that coach.
Luke: Here’s an old but relevant reference: Frank Broyles had no geographic ties to Arkansas before he came here. What you get when you hire a good coach is someone who will compensate for that. For Broyles, he did that by relying on assistants with deep ties, such as high school coaching legend Wilson Matthews. If Campbell wants to head south, we can figure the rest out.
Tucker: As this coaching search has gone on, I’ve grown less interested in “Arkansas connections” as a deciding factor. I just want a guy who wins football games. I think Matt Campbell can be that guy. I use Dan Mullen as an example of success despite few regional ties. Dan Mullen is an abrasive Yankee from the northeast, and is the best coach in Mississippi State history. Sometimes guys are just good coaches.
What would you like about this hire?
Adam: He’s innovative and teaches good fundamentals. He’s done well at Iowa State despite a relative dearth of talent.
Luke: Winning eight games consistently at Iowa State is like winning ten elsewhere. You don’t just fall into those seasons in Ames. His players appear to be coached up, too. Former Razorback La’Michael Pettway has developed into a contributor; I don’t think that would’ve happened if he’d stayed in Fayetteville.
Tucker: Toledo was bad, but he made them good, and they beat us. Iowa State was bad, but he made them good, and they would beat us. I think he’s got enough of a track record to be thought of positively, and I’ll bet it’s easier to recruit to Fayetteville, Arkansas than it is to recruit to Ames, Iowa. His experience in a premier conference like the Big 12 is also encouraging to me, because the further you move up the ladder, the harder it is to fake it. If Campbell was faking it, I don’t think he’d have the success he’s having at ISU.
What would give you reservations about this hire?
Adam: I’ve heard he’s not very aggressive as a recruiter. That could get him eaten up when trying to compete with SEC schools.
Luke: I have less concerns about recruiting, because he has certainly improved the talent at Iowa State, even if those recruiting rankings don’t look impressive. His probable interest level is really the only thing that makes me not want to get my hopes up.
Tucker: Similar to Adam, I’ve heard that he’s more passive in recruiting. That scares me to death. Also not sure he’d want to come here...
Would you personally be happy with this hire?
Adam: I’d be very happy. He’s at or near the top of my list.
Luke: I’ve followed his career since his Toledo team beat Bielema’s best Razorback team, without the aid of a suspended future Pro Bowler at running back. He has won at two different schools with his arm tied behind his back, and I’d be thrilled to see him try it here.
Tucker: I’m a big fan, and think he’d be great here, so yes, I’d be happy. I think he’s got the right resume, and has won at the right places to make us relevant again. My only fear would be those recruiting questions, but maybe it’s easy to take a passive approach to recruiting at Iowa State. I don’t want to rule out his ability to evolve with a program like Arkansas.