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Sitting Down with Stan Hixon

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The leading receiver of Iowa State’s 1978 squad stopped by to have a chat with us.

Trouble approaches — Iowa State’s Stan Hixon tries to elude Kansas State’s Brad Wagner to get off his only pass of the day. The pass was incomplete and the Wildcats argued that Hixon should have been called for intentional grounding. Hixon caught three passes in the Cyclones 22-15 victory over the ‘Cats.

[Interview Recorded December 26th]

Stan: I came back last year with that reunion of the ‘76 team, Earle Bruce, they had the team in for the first game on September 2nd or 3rd and they played UNI at home. It was Campbell’s first game and UNI won.

*Sigh* Oh, don’t remind me about that game please. It’s cool you were back though!

Stan: Sounds like Campbell has them on a good run now, huh?

It feels like the good McCarney years here.

Stan: I was kinda upset when they got rid of Dan McCarney because he kinda had it stabilized, you know?

1978 Hall of Fame Classic — Game Program

I’d like to congratulate you and Temple on your win in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (heck of a name). What got you into coaching?

Stan: Well, believe it or not, Tom Lichtenberg was my position coach under Earle Bruce. He was just a good role model. Tom kinda got me going. My mentors were my high school coaches you know, and they were both football and basketball (mostly football). Tom and I got to be really good friends, like a father figure, and he got me coaching.

I’m still trying to find my first job, it’s not really a job to me, it’s just a labor of love.

My first full time job was in 1980 and Tom Lichtenberg gave me my first full time job.

I remember seeing that you were associate head coach at LSU in 2003, how was it coaching alongside Nick Saban?

Stan: Well, it was great! Nick was, obviously, a good coach. Nick knows how to win the game. Lots of coaches don’t know how to win the game. They are only offensively or defensively expertised. Nick he has a plan, his offseason program is very meticulous.

You kinda get the players how they should be, you get the culture of the team, their mindset.

Nick is probably one of the best recruiters out there.

NFL: JAN 03 Jaguars at Texans
Hixon spent 2004-09 with the Redskins, 2010-11 with the Bills, and 2014-15 with the Texans.
Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

How was it coaching in the NFL?

Stan: I really enjoyed it. The players were a lot more mature, and they had a purpose because they wanted to learn and continue to learn. They wanted to stay in the NFL as long as they could, because the longer they stay the more money they can make. If they felt you could help them stay longer, they’d listen.

I was with some good programs.

I hit a homerun with the first NFL job with my favorite team, the Washington Redskins, and my favorite head coach was Joe Gibbs. I got a chance to be on his staff in his second go-around in 2004 when I started.

How did you end up at Iowa State?

Stan: Well, recruiting, I came out of high school in ‘75, a guy named Charlie Lyle recruited me. He happened to be on Bruce’s staff at Tampa (‘72), and when Bruce came to ISU, he came with.

He was from a place called Mulberry, Florida, which is like 10 miles from Lakeland, where I’m from. He would go back and recruit. He actually came to one of my high school games to recruit someone else and he saw me play as I was on the other team.

On my official visit, Iowa State was competing against Iowa or some other Big Eight team in wrestling. Hilton Coliseum was so loud for a wrestling match I was like wow. I couldn’t believe it. I was very impressed, even though I didn’t know anything at all about wrestling.

You only played Iowa twice (as the series was renewed in ‘77), did you feel the hate in the rivalry?

Stan: Not really until the second time because we lost in ‘77 like 12-7 I think. The rivalry had been dead about 30 years and they finally brought it back and we lost at their place. We played both ‘77 and ‘78 at their place. The second time we played them it was a blowout in our favor and it’s been going ever since.

That was my first ever rivalry game, Iowa — Iowa State.

It’s had special meaning over the years, some of my coaching buddies had coached at Iowa or played at Iowa and we go at it back and forth when those two teams play.

We should’ve won this year, but that’s in the past now.

Stan: What happened?

A late interception that was brought back to our five yard line really sealed the deal. We ended up losing 44-41 in a single overtime.

Stan: 44-41? *Laughter* Wow.

Stan Hixon — 1977 Peach Bowl
ISU Athletic Communications

You played in two bowl games as a Cyclone, the Peach and the Hall of Fame. Did you have a bowl that you played in that you liked more?

Stan: Well, I really enjoyed the Hall of Fame game. Because it was our second bowl game, it was in Birmingham, and the weather was better.

The Peach Bowl, in Atlanta, was still played outside and it was kinda chilly and rainy. ‘78 was my senior year, we lost both bowl games but both of them were good.

The bad part about was in ‘76 we should’ve went. We had one of the most high scoring offenses in the country, obviously they had limited bowls then, went 8-3 and didn’t go.

That ‘76 team was special man, lots of pro players on the team.

You know, Dex was my roommate for three years, and my wife and I was at his wedding. So, obviously, he’s passed away now, but we have fond memories of that past.

Do you have any good Dexter Green stories?

Stan: Well, you know, Dexter was a clown; he wasn’t very shy. To tell you how good he was we started calling him “Money” Green, because he was going to make some money scoring touchdowns and making some plays.

He would always keep us smiling.

With Dexter, he loved music. So, being his roommate, we’d wake up in the morning and he’d just blast music on our stereo. We had those big albums. Man, I’d be so mad at him because he’d wake me up with that loud music.

At times I would just be upset with him, and I’d pour salt in his bed just to piss him off you know? Like he’d go up and get into the shower and at night, when he’s getting into bed, he’d be feeling all that salt. I think that’s why I have bad hair today because of that loud music.

There were rumblings during your years here that the new stadium would be named after Jack Trice. Did you know about Jack Trice’s story while you were here?

Stan: I did. Lots of rumblings during that time. Jack Trice Stadium or Jack Trice Field. When I was there they never did get it done. Just the story of the first ever African-American guy playing that obviously got killed playing for Iowa State. How people treated him on and off the field.

When we came back last year, we saw the statue, the name. I have been reading about it over the years and when it changed over I was glad about that.

I think it’s kind of cool that ISU is the only FBS school to honor an African-American in stadium name, instead of having some rich donor’s name over it.

Stan: Right, right *laughter*. I think some rich donor at that time was trying to not let it be Jack Trice to instead get it in their name. Finally, justice was done though.