Iowa State University, also known as ISU, has a proud athletic history that dates back to the late 1800s. The university's sports teams, known as the Cyclones, have experienced success in a variety of sports over the years.

Early Years

Iowa State's athletic program began in 1892 with the formation of a football team. The team's early years were marked by a lack of success, but the program gradually improved in the early 20th century under the leadership of coaches like Charles Mayser and James B. Weaver.

In the 1920s, Iowa State's football team experienced a period of sustained success under coach George Veenker. The team won two conference championships during this time and made its first-ever bowl appearance in 1971.

Johnny Majors Era

The modern era of Iowa State football began in 1968, when Johnny Majors was hired to lead the program. Majors had previously served as an assistant coach at Arkansas and was tasked with turning around an Iowa State football program that had only experienced two winning seasons in the previous 28 years.

Majors' impact was immediate. In his first season, the Cyclones won six games, which was more than they had won in the previous three seasons combined. The team continued to improve over the next few years, culminating in a conference championship in 1976.

While Majors only coached at Iowa State for three seasons, his impact on the program was significant. He helped to establish a winning culture at the university and laid the foundation for future success.

Basketball and Other Sports

While football has been the most successful sport at Iowa State in recent decades, the Cyclones have also experienced success in basketball and other sports.

The men's basketball team has made 19 NCAA tournament appearances and reached the Sweet Sixteen six times. The team's most successful period was in the 1990s and early 2000s, when it won three conference championships and made eight NCAA tournament appearances.

Iowa State's women's basketball team has also experienced success, winning two conference championships and making nine NCAA tournament appearances in the last decade.

The university's wrestling program is one of the most successful in the country. The team has won eight NCAA team championships and produced numerous individual champions.


Iowa State University has a long and proud athletic history that has seen the Cyclones experience success in a variety of sports. While football has been the most successful program in recent decades, the basketball and wrestling programs have also produced numerous successful players and teams. Iowa State's athletic success has helped to establish the university as one of the top schools in the Big 12 Conference and a respected program in college sports.

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