Matt Campbell One-on-One Part IV: On “alignment” with new strength coach Dave Andrews

Aug 31, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell watches his team play the Northern Iowa Panthers at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones won 29-26 in three overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA  

AMES — Call it more of a tweak than an overhaul.

 But by any name, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell expects his decision to lure former University of Pittsburgh strength and conditioning coach, Dave Andrews, to Ames to mark an important shift for the program.

 “I think for me, knowing who Dave was — way more than what Dave does in terms of strength and conditioning,” Campbell said in his annual one-on-one interview with Cyclone Fanatic a few weeks ago. “What we were doing in strength and conditioning wasn’t broken. I think you’ve seen our guys develop and grow. I think the biggest thing I was looking for is, you know, you look at our program. We’ve been here now for four years and when we started our program our needs were one thing. As we get four years into this, I think you have to take the overall look and early on we did a really good job aligning to what we needed to do to be successful.”

 Andrews replaced Rudy Wade, who had accompanied Campbell to Ames from Toledo.

 As Campbell noted, the change was precipitated not necessarily by dissatisfaction with the current state of strength and conditioning. He simply took stock of the program after last season’s 7-6 campaign and felt a change in that department would be beneficial for his student-athletes — and for success at Iowa State in general.

 “(It’s about) really evaluating where are we? What’s it going to take to take another step forward?” Campbell said. “And then making sure our program is aligned to be able to do that. I think what Dave does is he brings an alignment to our culture where football and strength and conditioning aren’t two separate entities. They’re aligned as one. I think that’s something that was really, really important for (us) in terms of I know the value of that strength and conditioning room and I almost feel that value’s as high as you’ve got an offensive coordinator and his staff, you’ve got a defensive coordinator and his staff and you essentially have a strength and conditioning coordinator and his staff and all three of those have to be in alignment for overall success to be able to occur and that part I’m really excited about.”

 So is Andrews, who has been on the job with the Cyclones for a little more than a month. He built strong relationships at Pitt and expects to do the same at ISU — while those existing bonds endure.

 “I would definitely look at it as a challenge,” Andrews told the media last month when describing why he made the switch. “Some of the kids have asked me, ‘Why did you come to Iowa State? Why did you leave the University of Pittsburgh?’ And that’s a real question. I think partly it was time for me to make a professional change and I love and appreciate everyone at the University of Pittsburgh — very, very close with the staff there. I love the student-athletes and that’s real. I think when you invest and you pore into something the way that we do in this field, those relationships will be forever. However, I think with where my kids are, my own children, where they are at their ages, my comfortability with everyone in the program here, it just seemed like the right move at the right time for me.”

 The same holds true for one of his recent staff additions. Former Cyclone walk-on receiver/return man Trever Ryen joined Andrews’ staff last year at Pitt. Now he’s back in Ames along with Andrews’ other top assistants — and not solely because he played for ISU.

 “Trever Ryen is here because I trust Trever Ryan,” Andrews said. “Trever Ryen is here because of his ability to stay positive in all circumstances at any given point in time and I know I can really reach out to Trever if I need anything positive, but Trever’s an outstanding professional and has a very bright future in our field.”

 Andrews sees the same in his football players. He said he can’t speak much to what obstacles hindered growth in the win-loss ledger last season, but he has encountered a deep desire for growth from the Cyclones during winter workouts in advance of the 2020 season.

 “What I currently see are guys that are willing to be coached and are very eager to learn,” Andrews said. “And, again, I think as you develop relationships with those guys and I think the depth of your relationship is the most important when it comes to the season; when they are being asked to implement a game plan, go through their practice piece. … That three-fold approach — body, mind and spirit — really has to go ahead and hit its peak every Saturday, so whatever we have to do to get them to that point, in my opinion, moving into next season, is what my responsibility is from a standpoint of their training piece. I’m training them mentally and physically, so again, we will revert to our training once everything starts flying in the fall.”


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.