Iowa State has fired head coach Paul Rhoads, according to sources. The Cyclones players were informed during a team meeting at noon, per the sources.
The move comes a day after Rhoads’s Cyclones blew a 21-point halftime lead to Kansas State, including allowing two touchdowns in the final 42 seconds, to fall 38–35. The defeat dropped Iowa State to 3–8 on the season and 2–6 in Big 12 play.
Rhoads was 32–54 in nearly seven seasons in Ames. After a 7–6 debut campaign in 2009, capped by an Insight Bowl victory over Minnesota, Rhoads never had another winning season. The program took a downturn over the past three seasons, winning just eight combined games. Iowa State failed to win a conference game last season.
The Cyclones got off to a decent start in 2015, winning two of their first four games. They also got a surprising 24–0 victory over Texas on Oct. 31. However, those occasionally bursts of success were surrounded by setbacks, and Iowa State failed to hang on to late leads in each of its past two games. The Cyclones led then-undefeated Oklahoma State 31–21 entering the fourth quarter before allowing the Cowboys to come back with two late touchdowns to win.
Saturday's loss to Kansas State, however, was the most deflating. After getting a stop of fourth down with under two minutes to play and leading 35–28, Iowa State elected to run a play rather than take a knee. Running back Mike Warren fumbled the ball, giving it back to the Wildcats with 1:31 remaining. Four plays later, Kansas State scored to tie the game with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Iowa State quarterback Joel Lanning fumbled the ball after being sacked, setting up the Wildcats for a game-winning 42-yard field goal.
The 48-year-old Rhoads came to Iowa State after a year as Auburn's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. He spent eight years as Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator before an earlier stint with the Cyclones as defensive backs coach from 1996-99 and inside linebackers coach in ’95.