Meet The New Coaching Staff

A lot has been written about new Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads. Now you will get to meet the assistants that will help Rhoads try to turn the Cyclone football program around.

Here is a little bit about each coach and his background.

Bill Bleil (Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line)-Bleil is a Remsen, Iowa, native that coached with Rhoads in his stops at Pacific and Pittsburgh. Bleil also was the head coach at Western Carolina for five years. Bleil is coming off a four-year stint at Akron, where he was the assistant head coach for the last three seasons.

Tom Herman (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)-Herman was the architect of one of the nation's best offenses the last two seasons at Rice. Herman's offenses re-wrote the record book at Rice, leading them to 10 wins and a bowl victory last season. The Owls were in the top ten in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense last season. Rice quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarrett Dillard set an NCAA-record for touchdown connections under Herman and tight end James Casey was the second-leading receiver in the country last season as well.

Wally Burnham (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)-Burnham brings 40 years of experience in college football to the Iowa State staff. For the last eleven seasons, Burnham has been the defensive coordinator at South Florida. His defenses have been ranked in the top 30 in the country six of the last seven seasons. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator at South Carolina and has coached multiple players that have gone onto success in the NFL.

Kenith Pope (Running Backs)-Pope was the running backs coach at UNLV last season. Pope also played at Oklahoma and in the NFL before getting into coaching. Pope has previous Big 12 experience at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M as well as a stint at the University of Alabama.

Shane Burnham (Defensive Tackles)-The son of defensive coordinator Wally Burnham gets to coach with his father for the first time since getting into coaching after his playing career at South Carolina. Shane is coming off a four-year stint at Elon as the linebackers/defensive end coach and special teams coordinator.

Chris Ash (Secondary/Recruiting Coordinator)-Ash was a par t of the Iowa State coaching staff that went to five bowl games between 2000 and 2005 and is returning as the secondary coach. Ash has been the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator for the past two years at San Diego State and will serve in the same capacity with the Cyclones.

Curtis Bray (Defensive Ends)-Bray was another coach that spent time with Rhoads at the University of Pittsburgh. Bray was the linebackers coach for the Panthers when Rhoads was the defensive coordinator. Bray has 16 years of experience in coaching, and has been the linebackers coach the last two seasons at Temple.

Luke Wells (Wide Receivers)-Wells got a wealth of experience playing quarterback under current Big 12 coaches Bob Stoops, Mike Leach and Mark Mangino at the University of Oklahoma. Wells returns back to the conference for the first time since being a student assistant with the Sooners from 1999-2001. Wells most recent experience was spending the past six seasons at Louisiana-Monroe, coaching wide receivers as well as being the recruiting coordinator.

Courtney Messingham (Tight Ends)-Messingham is a Waterloo native that has a multitude of experience in coaching in Iowa as well as other Midwest schools. Messingham, to go along with time at Southern Miss and Truman State in Missouri, has spent time at Iowa Lakes Community College as well as time as head coach at Upper Iowa. Messingham's most recent job in coaching was as receivers coach and special teams coordinator under former ISU coach Terry Allen at Missouri State in 2008.

Yancy McKnight (Strength and Conditioning)-McKnight is coming from the same Rice staff as Herman, spending three years as the assistant athletic director for performance enhancement for the Owls for the last three seasons. McKnight will be the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Iowa State and has also coached under Les Miles of LSU and Todd Graham of Tulsa.

Brian Schwartze (Director of Operations)-Schwartze has had a championship career in professional football over the past ten years in Arena Football. Schwartze coached in both the AFL and af2, working in both the front office as well as the on-field product. Schwartze was most recently the vice president of player personnel and football operations to go along with duties as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the AFL's Chicago Rush.


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