GRAY: Notes on ISU announcement, Campbell’s book club and more

 (Adam Wright addresses the media Wednesday about his company, MidAmerican Energy, enhancing it’s partnership with Iowa State athletics as Cyclones AD Jamie Pollard looks on. Wright, 40, is a former NFL player and MidAmerican’s CEO. Rob Gray photo)

AMES — I learned three important things on Wednesday at the Bergstrom Football Complex.

 1. Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard announced that MidAmerican Energy had pledged $1.5-million annually over 10 years to acquire naming rights of MidAmerican Field at Jack Trice Stadium (yes, it’s rightfully still Jack Trice Stadium) for Cyclone football games — a move that enhances an existing partnership and also fuels development of the planned sports performance center. Read more on that here. 

 2. ISU football coach Matt Campbell has finally settled on an “official” offensive coordinator that’s not him: MidAmerican Energy president and CEO, Adam Wright, who’s also a former NFL player. 

 3. Campbell’s “book club” selection for his team this fall: Pound the Stone, by Joshua Metcalf.

 Quite a day, eh?

  OK, item number two is a “just kidding” proposition, but Campbell was nice enough to play along.

  “No doubt,” Campbell said about the oft-asked OC question. “That’s what we should have done. Write that. That’d be good.”

 Of course, Campbell largely settled the OC question this spring. He already plays a major role in calling plays. His staff offensive staff will be involved, as well — and the matter of if anyone will actually have the title “offensive coordinator” is essentially moot.

 But it’s no question Campbell bonded with Wright, who played college football at Nebraska-Omaha and saw his NFL career cut short because of injuries.

 Pollard joked that their football connection sparked immediately when ISU athletics officials met with MidAmerican executives to hammer out the details of the enhanced partnership.

 “We just talked football, high-level,” said Wright, who also stressed the importance of continuing to pay tribute to Jack Trice’s legacy at ISU. “Just the culture, leadership, expectations of players, stuff like that.”

 Kindred spirits? You bet. Campbell’s 38. Wright is 40. 

 “From my end, what was so impressive is to not only see what Adam had done as a football player but kind of what Jamie hit on — here’s a young guy that is having tremendous success in his profession,” Campbell said. “And I understand the strains and I think we even talked about some of that: being young and in a leadership role. I think that was really fun to be able to hit it off and be able to talk about. And Jamie’s right. What an opportunity for our guys to have somebody like Adam who is excelling at an elite level and using not only his football, and understanding what that did for him, but obviously his education.”

 Wright said what made him successful in football also buoyed him in the business world.

 “One, you’re never really out of anything,” Wright said. “Right? You’re only out of it when you give up. So the setbacks to me are just steps forward in most cases. Here’s the interesting thing for me when I think about it. What it took to get to that level of football is the same thing it took to get to that level in business. It’s just a process. One day at a time. It’s one foot in front of the other. It’s paying attention to detail, a sense of urgency, being on top of your game. It’s learning from your mistakes, but it’s constantly moving forward and progressing. So to take my football career to where I took it and being able to do the same thing in the business world, again, it’s the same process that’s involved with it.”

 Campbell listened intently as Wright spoke, then chimed in.

 “We’ve heard that before, right?” Campbell said.

 Indeed, coach. Indeed.

 As for the “team read” book selection, players will be receiving copies along with everything else as they report Thursday and prepare to start fall practice on Friday.

  Pound the Stone also fits perfectly into Campbell’s culture — as do other recent books he’s read.

 “Jon Gordon has got a new one (The Power of Positive Teams) about the characteristics of great teams,” Campbell said. “That was a great summer read for me. I read — there’s a great (Bill) Belichick/Scott Pioli book that I read this summer (War Room by Michael Holley).”

 Anything else?

 Oh, yeah. Remember when Campbell talked about how “The Ego is the Enemy” multiple times last season?

 “Myself and our staff and our leadership council used (The) Ego is the Enemy (by Ryan Holiday),” Campbell said. “So, yeah, we used it and I’m sure I’ll pull on that in fall camp. We’re into the ‘we not me’ theme right now, so that really falls into it.”


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.