About Cyclone athletics
Iowa State fields 18 varsity squads in the Big 12 Conference, the nation's premier athletics league. A strong fan base helps the Cyclones continuously break attendance records and earn top honors in national online polls ranking the best "student spirit" (Hilton Coliseum) and "most dominant mascot on Earth" (Cy).
Cyclones among the nation's best
Iowa State's athletics department had another banner season of competition in 2011-12. Iowa State finished 46th nationally among 278 NCAA Division I teams in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
Iowa State was one of only 11 schools in Division 1A athletics whose football team played in a bowl game, and the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams participated in their NCAA Championships last season. The women's cross country team captured the 2011 Big 12 Conference title and finished seventh at the NCAA championship. The women's golf team earned its third consecutive NCAA regional bid and All-American and ISU male athlete of the year Nate McCoy led the men's golf squad to its first postseason appearance since 1999. McCoy also qualified to compete individually at the NCAA meet.
Showing up in droves
Success on the field and on the court has earned record crowds for the Cyclones. The football team enjoyed a school-record six home games with more than 50,000 last fall and ranked No. 38 nationally -- also a school best. The Cyclone women's basketball team led the Big 12 Conference in average attendance for the fourth consecutive year and finished third nationally. The men's basketball team ranked No. 24 nationally, helped by five sell-out games. Volleyball attendance continued its boom, recording the second-highest season attendance total in program history.
The Cyclones' four-year federal government graduation rate of 65 percent (for all sports) was best in the conference. The rates are based upon the 2001-04 cohort population. Five Iowa State sports -- men's golf, women's golf, gymnastics, swimming and volleyball -- had the top graduation rates in the conference. Tennis and wrestling had the second-best marks in the league.
Volleyball continues NCAA success
The 2011 season was another banner year for Iowa State volleyball as head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch led the Cyclones to their six-straight NCAA tournament culminating in the team's second Elite Eight appearance in four years and a final national ranking of eighth. Four All-Americans led the squad to the second 25-win season in program history.
Football success under Rhoads
Iowa State fans will never forget the 2011 football season. The season ended with the school’s second bowl appearance in three years. It included a thrilling 44-41 triple overtime win over instate rival Iowa that was memorable. But under head coach Paul Rhoads, the Cyclones trumped those achievements by earning the biggest victory in school history, a 37-31 Friday night (Nov. 18) double overtime victory over No. 2 Oklahoma State on national television. Cyclone fans are still savoring Iowa State’s appearance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, played in New York’s Yankee Stadium. Iowa State was an underdog in 11 of its 12 BCS games last season, but defied the critics to earn a bowl berth against one of the toughest schedules in the country.