Kicker says goodbye after tumultuous career

Tommy Birch

There’s a lot of things Bret Culbertson will miss about Jack Trice Stadium. One thing he won’t: the wind.

“A lot of kickers know this place is like a wind tunnel,” Culbertson said. “Usually it swirls, like you’re down at one end and the wind’s going one way and you go to the other end and it’s going the other way.”

Saturday will mark the last time Culbertson will have to deal with the wind. The senior place kicker from Des Moines will graduate as one of the most accurate kickers in school history. He’s connected on all 95 of his extra point attempts, an ISU record. A walk-on from Lincoln High School, he eventually earned a scholarship for the Cyclones.

“Coming from Lincoln, I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” he said.

What fans have come to expect is accuracy. In three-and-a-half years, Culbertson has made 37 of 53 field goal attempts. But most of his career has been marred by misses. Culbertson missed field goal attempts in 2004 and 2005 that kept Iowa State out of the Big 12 title game, something he hopes fans won’t remember him for.

“I hope they remember just who I am and how I handled low times in my life and stuck it out,” Culbertson said.

And times like the 52-yard field goal connected on in 2006 against Texas Tech or the five field goals he made against Iowa this season, including the game winner with one second remaining.

“I just wanted to prove to myself it’s not nerves necessarily, going out there because I don’t feel a thing,” he said.

It’s those times that have impressed coach Gene Chizik.

“I know who [the seniors] are right now because we’ve had to go through a lot of hard times and they’ve had to hear it from a lot of people,” Chizik said.

Culbertson, who will graduate in December, said he plans to stay on campus, taking a few classes and maybe doing an internship with the athletic department.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Culbertson said of his final home game. “Last time with all these guys – we’ve been here awhile. We’re going to have some fun.”