You saw it from the start. Iowa State offense coordinator and quarterbacks coach Courtney Messingham managed three quarterbacks that each had big games to get the Cyclones to their third bowl in four years. Messingham’s signal-callers and the offense they led on the field ranked among the best ever on several of the all-time Iowa State team lists.
Iowa State quarterbacks threw 27 touchdown passes in 2012, a school record. In all, Steele Jantz, Jared Barnett and Sam Richardson threw for 2,613 yards, which ranks sixth all-time. Each Cyclone had big games. Jantz led Iowa State to a huge win over Baylor, completing 36 passes in 52 attempts for 381 yards and a school record five touchdowns as the Cyclones beat the Bears 35-21. Barnett helped Iowa State end the nation’s longest winning streak, throwing for 183 yards and three touchdowns to Josh Lenz in the 37-23 road victory over TCU. Redshirt freshman Sam Richardson came off the bench at Kansas and completed 23-of-27 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns as Iowa State became bowl eligible in a 51-23 win at Kansas.
In all, under Messingham’s deft management of his quarterbacking trio Iowa State’s offense put up numbers that rank it among the all-time top 10 in school history in 10 categories last season.
The 2013 season marks Messingham’s fifth season at Iowa State. He, spent his first two seasons in Ames as Iowa State's tight ends coach, and then tutored the Cyclone receivers in 2011. The former Northern Iowa quarterback developed wide receiver Aaron Horne, who was the 2011 Big 12 Conference Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
Iowa State veteran wide receiver Darius Reynolds had 43 catches, seven for touchdowns under Messingham during the 2011 season. Darius Darks finished his career with 127 receptions, ranking tied for seventh on the all-time Cyclone career list. Josh Lenz finished the campaign with 39 catches last season.
It was the contributions of Iowa State's first-year receivers that garnered attention throughout the last season. Horne had 38 receptions for 431 yards. Jarvis West had 25 receptions for 141 yards and Albert Gary 23 catches for 287 yards and two scores.
Messingham was Iowa State's tight ends coach his first two seasons in Ames. Most notably, second-team All-Big 12 tight end Collin Franklin posted the second most receptions for a tight end nationally in 2010, finishing the season with 54 catches for 530 yards and three touchdowns. Franklin is currently on the roster of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccanneers.
The play of his tight ends and special teams were major factors in Iowa State's 2009 Insight Bowl victory season. Tight end Derrick Catlett was the Cyclones' third-leading receiver that season, making 29 receptions for 301 yards and two touchdowns while serving as an able blocker. Franklin added 18 receptions for 192 yards.
Messingham's impact on the Iowa State special teams has been profound. His punt-coverage unit ranked fourth nationally in 2009, allowing an average of only 2.19 yards per return. Messingham's kickoff return team featured David Sims and ranked fifth in the Big 12 Conference at 23.36 yards per return in 2009. True freshman Josh Lenz averaged 28.2 yards on eight returns that fall.
The Cyclones' kickoff return unit ranked third in the Big 12 at 23.9 yards per return in 2011. Freshman Jarvis West ranked second in the league at 25.95 yards per return. That figure ranks second in school career history among Cyclones that have returned at least 20 career kickoffs. It ranks fifth in single-season school history.
A veteran coach of 23 years who played quarterback and defensive back at Northern Iowa, Messingham joined the Iowa State coaching staff after leaving Missouri State in 2009. Messingham, a former head coach at Upper Iowa and offensive coordinator at Missouri State, worked as special teams coordinator and receivers coach under former Cyclone associate head coach Terry Allen in 2008.
Before his second tour of duty at Missouri State, Messingham coached three seasons at Southern Mississippi. That stint included two years as receivers coach (2005-06) and a season as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator (2007).
Messingham's tenure at USM saw the Golden Eagles go to three straight bowl games. He coached on Southern Mississippi's 2006 Conference USA East Division championship team. At USM, Messingham coached running back Damion Fletcher, the 2007 winner of the Conerly Trophy. The Conerly Trophy is given annually to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi.
Messingham was head coach at Upper Iowa in Fayette, Iowa, in 2003 and 2004. He was on the Missouri State staff from 1999 to 2002 with one season as receivers coach and three seasons as offensive coordinator.
Messingham has a proven offensive mind. He guided Missouri State quarterback Austin Moherman to a pair of impressive seasons as the Bears' quarterback. In those two seasons (2000 and 2001), Moherman completed 308-of-560 passes for 3,964 yards. The Missouri State offensive averaged 432 yards per game in 2001 to lead the Missouri Valley Conference. Moherman completed 20 straight passes to start a game, an NCAA record, against Indiana State in 2002.
Messingham was at Truman State from 1995-1999, the last two seasons as offensive coordinator. At Truman State, Messingham coached running back Jarrett Anderson, who claimed the 1996 Harlon Hill award as the nation's best NCAA Division II player.
Messingham was the offensive coordinator at Iowa Lakes Community College from 1993 to 1995 and offensive coordinator at St. Ambrose (Iowa) University during the 1991 and 1992 seasons.
Messingham lettered four times at Northern Iowa. He and his wife, Carol, have a daughter, Taylor. Messingham is a 1990 graduate of UNI.