From the beginning, Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard realized what he has in Matt Campbell.
In 2017, when Campbell showed proof of life by beating No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 TCU. Those wins pushed Iowa State into the AP Top 15 for the first time in 15 years and sent Campbell's stock skyrocketing, at which point we revealed his buyout was a sky high $9.4 million.
Campbell has increasingly raised the bar in the years since. That 2017 season ended with an 8-5 record and a Liberty Bowl win. The 2018 campaign saw Iowa State win a program-record six Big 12 games. 2019 saw a step backward in wins, but the season finished with the Cyclones sharing a field with Notre freakin' Dame in a bowl game.
And then there was the 2020 campaign, a breakthrough in a run of breakthroughs. Regular season wins over Oklahoma and Texas, a first-ever appearance in the Big 12 Championship, a Fiesta Bowl win over Pac-12 champion Oregon, a year-end No. 9 ranking. A program that was, just a few short years ago, a peer with Kansas was now scaring the living day lights out of Oklahoma and sharing fields with national programs like Notre Dame and Oregon.
As Campbell has increased his production, Iowa State has increased its investment into him, and this latest deal is Iowa State's greatest investment yet.
Campbell's salary is now up to $4 million, double what he first earned in 2016, but it doesn't stop there.
The new contract removes Campbell's $100,000 annual raises in favor of an incentive structure that is at once attainable and highly rewarding. Starting at Iowa State's seventh win, Campbell will earn $250,000 per win for each Cyclone victory. Last year's 9-3 campaign would've been worth $4.75 million to Campbell before his $50,000 bonus for winning the Big 12 coach of the year award.
Realizing the leverage over his coach wasn't what it was in 2016-17, Pollard has also reduced Campbell's buyout. The coach would now owe Iowa State just $4 million should he leave for another job. That $4 million figure remains the same through the contract's Dec. 31, 2028 expiration.
The Iowa State-Campbell marriage has been fantastic for both sides, a picture-perfect example of how all coaching hires are supposed to work. In five transformative seasons, Iowa State gave the 41-year-old Campbell the platform to make himself a 5-star prospect for major college and NFL jobs, while Campbell has completely changed the equation on what Cyclone football can be. This new contract allows both sides to wring as much value out of the arrangement for as long as Campbell wants it to last.