Recapping what we learned from the Virtual Cyclone Tailgate Tour

Athletic Director Jamie Pollard speaks to Iowa State fans who packed the Pointe Orlando Plaza during the Camping World Bowl fan pep rally.

Sam Stuve

On Wednesday, the Iowa State Cyclones held a Virtual Cyclone Tailgate Tour for the first time ever.

The event featured coaches and personnel from Iowa State.

Iowa State volleyball Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, wrestling Head Coach Kevin Dresser, head women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly, head men’s basketball coach Steve Prohm, football Head Coach Matt Campbell and Athletic Director Jamie Pollard all spoke in the two-hour event.

Also joining Pollard and the coaches were former men’s basketball player and current Denver Nugget point guard Monte Morris, former women’s basketball player and Minnesota Lynx guard Bridget Carleton and current Iowa State junior quarterback Brock Purdy.

With no live sports having been played since March, the certainty of fall sports being played on time has come into question.

However, Pollard seemed optimistic about sports starting on time, specifically football.

“I fully anticipate that we will be playing a football game on September 5 at Jack Trice Stadium, although hurdles remain,” Pollard said. “If football isn’t up and running, [financially] we may be in a world of hurt.”

Pollard also mentioned that it is possible football games may have to be played with only 30,000 fans in attendance (Jack Trice Stadium has a seating capacity of 61,500), but that nothing is set in stone.

To begin the night, Johnson-Lynch discussed the potential of the program going forward into the 2020 season.

“We gained a lot of experience last season, we’re only losing Josie Herbst to graduation [from last season’s team], and we were able to make it back to the [NCAA] tournament,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We’ll be a bit ahead than other teams who are losing a lot of pieces…We don’t have a lot of holes and we have depth.”

Last season, Iowa State finished 17-12 and made it back to the 2019 NCAA tournament (losing to Creighton 3-0 in the first round) after missing the NCAA tournament in 2018.

The second coach to speak on Wednesday was Dresser.

Last season, Dresser’s squad finished in the top 25 in the NCAA and second out of 12 in the 2020 Big 12 Tournament.

The Cyclones return seven wrestlers who made the 2020 NCAA tournament before the tournament was canceled because of COVID-19.

“I can tell you this: the future is bright for us. I like the way we were wrestling at the end of the year,” Dresser said.

According to Dresser, they’re “pretty sure” 141-pound wrestler redshirt sophomore Austin Gomez will receive a medical redshirt after missing last season due to a concussion.

In the 2018-2019 season, Gomez earned a 24-7 record as a redshirt freshman, finished second in the Big 12 in his weight class and made the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Another Cyclone team that ended on a high note but couldn’t play in the 2020 NCAA Tournament was Fennelly’s 2019-20 women’s basketball that finished 18-11 after upsetting second-ranked Baylor in the final game of the season.

Returning to the team next season is sophomore Ashley Joens, who unanimously earned a spot on the All-Big 12 first team, earned Big 12 player of week six times a season ago and may be on track to become the best player in program history.

“Ashley Joens is never satisfied; she wants to get better,” Fennelly said. “Great players lead people with them and she now has to do that.”

Joining Joens is junior Kristin Scott, who earned a spot on the All-Big 12 second team team in the 2018-2019 and an honorable mention in the 2019-2020 season despite dealing with a back injury all season long.

Fennelly spoke about her talent and where she may go after this upcoming season.

“Kristin Scott is a pro, I believe she can make money playing basketball,” Fennelly said.

This season, Iowa State signed its highest-rated high school recruiting class ever, finishing as the tenth-best recruiting class according to espnW HoopGurlz rankings.

Aubrey Joens, sister of Ashley Joens, Emily Ryan, Kylie Feuerbach and Lexi Donarski are the four recruits the Cyclones signed and Fennelly believes all of them have the chance to play early in their careers.

Rounding out the coaches’ interviews were Prohm and Campbell.

Both coaches talked about their new additions to each of their coaching staff.

Joining Prohm’s coaching staff as strength and conditioning coach is David Land, who worked with Prohm when Prohm was the head coach at Murray State.

Prohm also talked about the health of some of his players. He revealed incoming freshman guard Jaden Walker is rehabbing his knee and could be behind because of it and senior forward Solomon Young had his knee scoped recently.

Campbell has two additions to his football staff, director of strength and conditioning Dave Andrews and running backs coach Mick McCall.

Andrews had been the strength and conditioning coach at Pittsburgh University from 2015-2019.

”Hiring a strength and conditioning coach is equally as important as hiring an offensive or defensive coordinator and we have one of the best in college football,” Campbell said about the hiring of Andrews.

McCall served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Northwestern for the last 12 seasons and helped lead them to the 2018 Big Ten Championship. McCall and Campbell also worked together on the same coaching staff at Bowling Green State University from 2003-2004 and in 2007.

“He’s a wealth of knowledge for everybody and he’s already been a great addition,” Campbell said.