Lucky Fans Have Lunch With Football Coaches
AMES, Iowa - Can it get any better for an Iowa State football fan? No, is the answer. Just ask the winners of the "Lunch with the Football Coaches," celebrated on the special day of Feb. 29 in the atrium of the Jacobson Athletics Building. The private lunch was the culmination, but just a small slice of Fan Appreciation Day, which was held in conjunction with Iowa State's Nov. 5 football game vs. Kansas last season.
According to Iowa State Associate Athletics Director for Marketing Mark Pink, 1,110 prizes were given away as the Cyclone family honored its fans for their support in a season which saw Iowa State set a record attendance average of 53,647 fans per game. For the first time in school history, more than 50,000 fans attended every Iowa State home game, including the Cyclones' 37-31 win over No. 2 Oklahoma State on Nov. 18. The win thrust Iowa State into the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 30, the Cyclones' second bowl appearance in three seasons.
Ten season-ticket holders were randomly invited to attend the lunch. The event allowed Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads to take a moment from the recruiting calendar to sit down and talk informally about football and other topics. Among the participants were Diane and Dick Burns of Archer, Iowa.
"We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it completely lived up to our anticipation," the couple said by email. "It was a great experience that any fan would enjoy and we are very thankful to have been chosen. We took time off work to come down for the day, and it was completely worth it. Our favorite part was getting to meet the coaches and enjoy their personalities. The sincerity of all involved really showed a great effort was made so we could meet and talk to everyone on a personal level."
Fans had their pictures taken with the coaching staff. They also enjoyed the opportunity to get additional photos taken with their personal cameras and bring memorabilia to have signed.
Jade and Jan Olson of Johnston say they are fortunate to have had won the prize.
"We had a very enjoyable experience at the football coaches luncheon," the couple said in an email. "It was great looking at the (Jacobson Building) trophy displays and out onto the football field. We visited with each of the coaches and found them all to be very down to earth and just really nice people. Each had a unique and interesting story on how and when they came to ISU. Several of the coaches had a connection to the state of Iowa, whether they grew up here or had a prior coaching position in Iowa. We really appreciate the fact that they took time to visit with us. It truly made us feel a part of the program. This is an exciting time to be a Cyclone fan!"
"The coaching staff really enjoyed the lunch," Rhoads said. "We are all on the go most of the time and it was refreshing to sit down and visit with the winners."