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2012: A Year of Triumph

Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

It may be cliche, but at this time of year, we often reflect back on the year gone by and discuss what mattered, what will be remembered and what we can look forward to as we flip the calendar over to a new year. Be that as it may, 2012 was a year for Iowa State athletics that certainly deserves its own feature. It was a year that in multiple sports, Cyclone athletes overcame long odds and succeeded. Those successes may have been modest on the national scale, but in each success there was progress, and progress is always a precursor to momentum. A look back at some of the better stories of 2012...


  • Iowa State sold a record number of season tickets, topping 40,000 for the first time in program history.
  • Fans turned out in droves, setting a single-season average attendance record of 55,274 loyal Cyclones per game. That includes a stadium record, 56,800 fans on October 13th against then #5 Kansas State.
  • The annual Paul Rhoads upset special happened in Ft. Worth against then #15 TCU. This marked the third straight year Iowa State knocked off a ranked foe on the road in the state of Texas (#22 Texas 2010 & #19 Texas Tech 2011).
  • A less notable but noteworthy victory at the time was Iowa State's first victory in Iowa City since 2002.
  • Jake McDonough, Jake Knott and A.J. Klein were all named to the all-conference first-team defense. Durrell Givens and Kirby Van Der Kamp were named to the second team.
  • The Cyclones qualified for their third bowl in four years, something only previously accomplished by Dan McCarney who led ISU to five bowl games between 2000-2005.
  • The final figures haven't been announced, but according to Jamie Pollard, Iowa State has sold out of its ticket allotment for the Liberty Bowl and has sold more tickets for the game than any other bowl game in Iowa State history. Many are expecting 20,000+ Cyclone fans in Memphis for the game.
  • Iowa State also completed construction of the $20 million football facility connected to the Bergstrom Football Complex.
Men's Basketball
  • Iowa State qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005. The Cyclones knocked off defending national champion UConn before falling to eventual champion Kentucky.
  • Royce White was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and was also named to the all conference first team as well. Scott Christopherson was a third team selection. Fred Hoiberg shared coach of the year honors with Kansas' Bill Self.
  • Iowa State finished second in the conference in average attendance and 24th nationally
  • The Cyclones knocked off two top ten foes in 2012, taking down #5 Kansas and #9 Baylor.
  • The 8-1 conference home record was the best mark since the '00-'01 season. In fact, between last season and this current season, Iowa State has won 14 straight in Hilton Coliseum.
Olympic Sports
  • Jake Varner joined the pantheon of Cyclone greats, winning a gold medal in the Olympic Games in London.
  • Christy Johnson-Lynch led the Iowa State volleyball team to their 5th consecutive 20-win season and 5th Sweet 16 appearance in six seasons.
  • Betsy Saina won an NCAA cross country championship in November.
  • Bill Fennelly led the Iowa State women's basketball team back to the NCAA tournament. It was the program's 13th appearance under Fennelly.
Those are just a few of the highlights from the 2012 athletic year. From Fred Hoiberg restoring Hilton Magic to Jake Knott's gutsy performance against Baylor with a bum shoulder, it truly was a great year to be a Cyclone and a year with lasting memories. Ultimately, this was a foundational year. A year that Paul Rhoads can point to showing that his Cyclones have staying power. A year when the building blocks were set. A year of methodical and steady growth in the entire athletics department. A year that Cyclones fan everywhere can be proud of.