Also excited is Football Coach Paul Rhoads, who is entering his fifth season as head coach. He could not comment much, but says that his 2014 recruiting class is off to a good start. He is eager to work on their development, as well as the upper classmen on the team.
Rhoads has taken his team to three bowl games in four seasons, with one bowl victory. While he is not "changing" his strategies on the field, he is "tweaking" his game to stay competitive in the strong Big 12 Conference. The coach could not say which game will be his toughest this fall.
"They're all tough," Rhoads said of the teams in his conference. He added a new offensive coordinator for the season.
Rhoads was also selected to address the crowd at Monday's event. According to Rhoads, deciding who would speak came down to an arm wrestling match between him and Jackson.
"And I beat him again," Rhoads laughed. He shared the story of Preston Rainey, one of his former players who currently works for Pella Corporation and was in the audience. Rhoads said of Rainey that he had one speed, "full-tilt" and at one point, Rainey severely injured his own nose while doing tackling drills.
The coach touted the accomplishments of the players who graduated. Several were drafted by the NFL.
Walters, who emceed the event, touted accomplishments of the university's athletics programs overall. The university has had several teams finish in the top half of their respective conferences in the past year. Only four schools in the country have also reached back-to-back bowl games and men's and women's basketball tournaments. Iowa State is joined by Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville for achieving this.