Houston entering unique situation as Iowa State’s special teams coordinator

Joe Houston meets with the media for the first time since being hired as Iowa State’s special teams coordinator on Friday, March 9, 2018.

Joe Houston is walking into a unique situation as Iowa State’s special teams coordinator.

The Cyclones’ newly appointed 10th assistant coach will be starting with essentially a clean slate. After losing Garrett Owens and Colin Downing to graduation after last season, Iowa State will be forced to fill the kicker and punter roles they left behind.

Enter 2018 signees Brayden Narveson and Corey Dunn.

“It’s a unique opportunity for growth,” Houston said. “Not only for the players but for myself as well. Having two young guys, it’s new blood. There’s good juice about them and they’re good-hearted kids that love to compete. The last couple of years we were fortunate to have experienced guys in those specialists roles and having a kicker and punter that have played for three years as a starter and I get to inherit them their senior year and we get them in our program, it’s a unique opportunity, because they have the hardest thing to coach and that’s experience.”

“It’s unique that I get to be hands-on with (Narveson and Dunn) on the field and hopefully get them to reach their full potential so they can play at a high level on Saturdays.”

The 2018 season will be Houston’s first opportunity to be truly hands-on with the Cyclones’ specialists since he joined the program as an associate for quality control in 2016. The former placekicker at USC’s primary duty the past two seasons has been scouting opponents and their special teams schemes.

Now, Houston will be able to put his fingerprints all over Iowa State’s schemes and the development of the program’s special teams players.

“It’s something that I’ve worked really hard and studied a lot of it,” Houston said. “A lot of people say you have to have a kicking background and a punting background, well, now it’s more understanding the techniques and schematics instead of the last couple years where I was just reporting on our opponent. Now, it’s schematics, what techniques, what tactics can we use as a whole comprehensively with the other 10 guys?”

“Coach (Bryan) Gasser, Coach (D.K.) McDonald, Coach (Alex) Golesh, Coach (Tyson) Veidt, have been really integral in me growing in that part. Learning about the different skill sets that are required to coach those guys at a high level. Not just the specialists. That’s what’s really interesting on my end is really putting all the pieces together.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.