NOTEBOOK: Ayeni announced as running backs coach, Iowa State with more vacant positions


New Iowa State football hires Louis Ayeni (right) addresses the media along with head coach Paul Rhoads on Jan. 9 in the Pete Taylor Media Room at Hilton Coliseum. Ayeni was the run game coordinator at Toledo before joining Iowa State. In 2013 Toledo averaged 240.6 rushing yards per game.

Maddy Arnold

A lot went into Louis Ayeni’s decision to coach Iowa State.

He considered the facilities, players and more. What finally swayed Ayeni to move to Ames was the hiring of Mark Mangino as offensive coordinator.

Mangino was announced as the ISU football team’s new offensive coordinator on Jan. 6. Not soon after, Ayeni, who spent the last three years as an associate head coach at Toledo, was named as Iowa State’s next running back coach.

“Going to the facilities and seeing the investment they’ve put into what football is here. You knew that it’s important,” Ayeni said. “There’s a sense of something special about to be built here. And then “the Mangenious” [Mangino] signed on and it was a no brainer.”

Mangino was head coach at Kansas from 2002-09 and had a history utilizing the run game during his tenure. Mangino had a 1,000-yard rusher two of his last four seasons at Kansas.

“You have to be able to run the ball, but we won’t be just limited to running the football. But I think it’s important,” Mangino said. “Our balance is not just run pass ratio. There is another factor and that’s ball distribution, but believe me, we have to be able to run the football and we will.”

Coaching search

ISU coach Paul Rhoads announced Thursday that offensive line coach Chris Klenakis left Iowa State for another position. Reports said that Klenakis’ new position will be at Louisville.

With the vacancy left by Klenakis, Iowa State now has open positions at quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach and offensive line coach. Mangino said that he will take over one of the positions but it is undecided which group he will coach.

Mangino was not ready to “discuss any particular profile” for candidates for open positions because of a lack of time since he’s been hired. Mangino said he hopes to discuss the search with ISU coach Paul Rhoads in the days ahead.

“Obviously as the head coach he makes the final say in all these decision but he’s been kind enough to ask me to make input and suggest candidates and things of that sort,” Mangino said.

Although Iowa State has lost four offensive coaches from last season, Rhoads called the vacancies a “fresh start” for the program rather than saying Iowa State is “starting from scratch.”

“We’ve recruited personnel to an offensive system designed to get the ball to a lot of people,” Rhoads said. “The fundamentals, the foundation of this program are firmly in place.”