Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads’ body language has been in sync with his words from the first day on the job.
And the way Rhoads was smiling and bouncing around Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz., as the first-year coach’s team prepares to play Minnesota in the Insight Bowl, he really is “proud to be your coach.”
The phrase has caught on amongst Cyclone fans and Rhoads supporters.
The coach most famously said it in the locker room following ISU’s stunning 9-7 victory at Nebraska, an emotional speech that was viewed widely on the Internet.
“If you go back to May when we started our Tailgate Tours I ended every one of those talks that way,” Rhoads said. “I don’t think it’s something I coined or always will be how I sign off.”
Rhoads said it to his players during their first team meeting back on Jan. 12, just as he promised Athletic Director Jamie Pollard he would when interviewing to be Gene Chizik’s successor.
He’ll probably say it again Wednesday night at ISU’s spirit rally.
Will he get to say it again Thursday night in the locker room after beating the Golden Gophers?
ISU’s players bought into Rhoads’ more personable, caring approach. Once they put confidence with ability, reaching the postseason was a realistic possibility this season.
“We knew that we were a lot better than we showd on game days,” said senior defensive tackle Nate Frere. “As soon as Coach Rhoads got here and set those goals for us and we started buying into the system, everything just took off.”
And made Rhoads proud to be their coach.