Coach Rhoads tells Liberal Arts and Sciences leadership class the story behind ‘I’m so proud’

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When Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads told his jubilant team after upsetting Nebraska in 2009 that he was "so proud to be your football coach," he was not just caught up in the moment.

Rhoads recently told students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Leadership Class that the phrase was part of his leadership duties to build a relationship with the team that was going through its second coaching change in two years. The coach said the phrase came from an interview he had with athletics director Jamie Pollard months earlier. Rhoads told Pollard it would be the first thing he would tell the team.

And that’s what Rhoads did indeed say to his new team in a January 2009 meeting, the coach explained. "I wanted to begin to establish a relationship" with the team, he said. "I told them I was proud to be in the state of Iowa, at Iowa State University and proud to be the football coach of the Iowa State University Cyclones."

After ISU beat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln for the first time since 1977, Rhoads’ impassioned post-game speech was caught on camera, and the YouTube videos have been viewed more than 400,000 times.

The Dean’s Leadership Class was organized by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. LAS Dean Beate Schmittmann and ISU Ph.D. student Tammy Reichelt co-teach the course, which started with 20 students selected by application.

See more about the Dean’s Leadership Class

See Coach Rhoads’ locker room speech