Football Support Staff

 

DEREK HOODJER | Director of Player Personnel

Derek Hoodjer has worked for the Iowa State football program since 2012 and in his second season as director of player personnel.

Hoodjer spent two seasons (2016-17) as assistant director of scouting, helping the Cyclones lure the best recruiting classes in school history. The 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes rank as the two best recruiting groups in school history according to the 247Sports composite rankings. 

The 2019 Iowa State recruiting class is the best in school history, ranking No. 39 nationally by 247Sports, compiling a program-best .8550 composite rating.

The 2017 Iowa State recruiting class was rated No. 44 by Rivals, the highest ranking by the recruiting service since 2004. 

Hoodjer assisted with recruiting visits and helps manage official and unofficial visits. He also organizes the recruitment process for the assistant coaches.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program. 

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017. 

Hoodjer began his tenure with the Cyclones in 2012, working with the ISU defense (2012-14) as a student assistant.

He became graduate assistant in 2015, managing and maintaining the defensive recruiting board and was the defensive recruiting supervisor for Cyclone football, as well as the student coaches/intern program coordinator. 

A native of Lincoln, Neb., Hoodjer graduated from Iowa State in December of 2014.

Hoodjer and his wife, Hannah, reside in Ankeny.

 

TAYLOR MOUSER | Assistant Director of Player Personnel

Taylor Mouser is in his fourth season on the Cyclone football staff. Mouser was a graduate assistant working with the Cyclone offense in 2016 before moving into a role as an Assistant Director of Scouting.

The 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes rank as the two best recruiting groups in school history according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The 2019 Iowa State recruiting class is the best in school history, ranking No. 39 nationally by 247Sports, compiling a program-best .8550 composite rating.

The 2017 Iowa State recruiting class was rated No. 44 by Rivals, the highest ranking by the recruiting service since 2004.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017.

Mouser spent the 2015 season as a graduate assistant at Toledo where he worked primarily with the wide receivers. The Rockets went 10-2 and were champions of the Boca Raton Bowl.

A native of Chandler, Arizona, Mouser earned his bachelor’s degree at Adams State in 2013 where was a team captain and all-conference performer at defensive end.

 

MARK THURSTON | Assistant Director of Scouting

Mark Thurston is in his fourth season as the assistant director of scouting for the Iowa State football program.

Thurston assists with recruiting visits and helps manage official and unofficial visits. He also organizes the recruitment process for the assistant coaches. 

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program. 

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017.

Thurston was on staff at Norfolk State from 2006-14 before a brief stop at Toledo in 2015 where he was a defensive quality control coach.

At Norfolk State, Thurston worked primarily with the defensive line, helping the Spartans annually produce outstanding defenses. He coached eight all-conference performers and two FCS All-Americans in his 10 years at the school. In 2011, the Spartans ranked second in FCS in total defense, won the MEAC title, earned a FCS Playoff berth and were crowned as the Black College national champion.

In his final season at NSU, the Spartans had the second-ranked defense in FCS.

He was the defensive line coach at Miami Norland High School from 2003-04, mentoring three all-state defenders who earned Division I scholarships. He also coached NFL stars Antonio Brown and Richard Gordon at the school.

A native of Miami, Fla., Thurston has an outstanding track record of recruiting high level players from the talent-rich Miami area.

Thurston was an all-state prep defensive end before earning a scholarship at West Virginia, starting three seasons for the Mountaineers from 1997-99 at rush linebacker.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia in 2003.

Thurston has a wife, Virginia, and two children: Major and Jada.

 

JUSTIN CUMMINGS-MARROW | Assistant Director of Operations

Justin Cummings-Morrow is in his fourth season with Cyclone football and second as an assistant director of football operations.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Cummings-Morrow was a defensive end at Toledo from 2012-14, joining the team as a walk-on after a successful prep career at Colerain High School.

Cummings-Morrow, who earned his degree from Toledo in 2015, was a student assistant for the Rocket football team during the 2015 season.

 

GREG BRABENEC | Director of Operations

Greg Brabenec is in his fourth season as Director of Football Operations at Iowa State. He served in a similar role on Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell’s staff at Toledo from 2014-15.

Brabenec is responsible for coordinating most non-coaching aspects of the Cyclone football program, including budget, team travel, daily schedules and team meals. 

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017. 

Before serving as head operations coordinator at Toledo, he spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the Rockets, working primarily with the defense.

Brabenec served an undergraduate student assistant with the Bowling Green football program from 2007-10, earning his bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2011. In 2011, he coached outside linebackers at Lindsey Wilson College (KY).

Brabenec attended Olmsted Falls High School (OH) where he played football and baseball.

 

TAYLOR WILHELM | Director of New Media

Taylor Wilhelm is in his fourth season as director of new media for the Iowa State football program. Wilhelm is spearheading the program’s efforts in creating graphics and videos for social media and recruiting.

Wilhelm also helps produce graphics for branding and promotions of the program. 

A native of Greenwich, Ohio, Wilhelm was a video graduate assistant at Toledo in 2015. He was responsible for created graphics/flyers for social media and recruiting purposes, as well as managing social media for the football program.

Wilhelm was a member of the Malone (OH) University football team for four years, earning All-GLIAC Academic honors. He was the recipient of the John Thomas Unsung Hero Award at the school.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting/business administration at Malone University (Canton, Ohio) in 2015.

Taylor and his wife, Shannon, reside in Ames.

 

ERICA GENISE | Executive Assistant

Erica Genise is in her eighth season as an Executive Assistant with the Iowa State football program.

Genise has over 20 years of experience working in administration roles for football programs.

A 1993 graduate of Iowa, Genise began her career as a coaching assistant for the Minnesota Vikings from 1993-97.

She was hired by Stanford in 1997 as an assistant to the head football coach on Tyrone Willingham’s staff.

Genise followed Willingham to Notre Dame in 2002 where she was the director of football operations until 2004. She again assumed the role of director of football operations for Willingham’s staff at Washington from 2005-08.

A native of Mason City, Iowa, Genise and her husband, John, have a son, Benji.

 

AARON HILLMANN | Director of Player Development

Aaron Hillmann is in his third season as Director of Player Development for the Cyclone football program. 

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

ISU’s 2017 season got the program on the map. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.

Iowa State also broke its school record for wins over ranked opponents (3), victories on the road (5), wins vs. conference opponents (5) and appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years in 2017. 

Hillmann was the head strength and conditioning coach for the Illinois football program from 2012-15. He was hired in January 2012 as a member of Tim Beckman’s first coaching staff with the Illini.

Hillmann, who has over 20 years of experience in collegiate athletics, was named a master strength and conditioning coach in 2013 by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA), the profession’s highest honor.

Prior to his time at Illinois, Hillmann worked with the Michigan football program after spending nine seasons as the head strength and conditioning coach at Bowling Green University where he oversaw all 18 sports.

Hillmann also served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Notre Dame (1998-2001), Connecticut (1996-98), Cincinnati (1995-96) and Ball State (1992-95).

A native of St. Louis, Mo., Hillmann graduated from Missouri in 1991. He and his wife, Dina, have two sons, Jacob and Jonah, and a daughter, Skylar.

 

MICHAEL SALTUS | Assistant Director of Creative Media

Michael Saltus is in his third season as Assistant Director of Creative Media for the Iowa State football program.

Saltus is responsible for production of social media videos, weekly highlights and other informational videos.

A native of Centreville, Virginia, Saltus spent the 2016 season as a video assistant with the Tennessee Titans.

Saltus earned his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia in 2016, spending multiple seasons as a student video assistant for the Mountaineer football program and athletics department.

 

BILLY KIRELAWICH | Assistant Director of Scouting/Recruiting Operations

Billy Kirelawich is in his second season as Assistant Director of Scouting/Recruiting Operations.

The 2019 Iowa State recruiting class is the best in school history, ranking No. 39 nationally by 247Sports, compiling a program-best .8550 composite rating.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

A native of Morgantown, W.V., Kirelawich was a member of the Arizona football staff from 2012-17. He was an Assistant Operations Coordinator from 2012-14 before being promoted to Director of Football Operations in 2015.

As a member of the Wildcat staff, Kirelawich assisted with day-to-day operations, travel coordination, player personnel and recruiting logistics.

Prior to his career in collegiate football, Kirelawich worked in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2010.

Kirelawich received his bachelor’s degree in sports management from West Virginia in 2008 and a master’s degree from WVU in 2010.

Kirelawich and his wife, Madeline, have a daughter, Kate and a son, Will.

 

KYLE HIGHLAND | Recruiting Operations Assistant

Kyle Highland is in his fourth season with the Iowa State football program and his second as a recruiting operations assistant.

The 2019 Iowa State recruiting class is the best in school history, ranking No. 39 nationally by 247Sports, compiling a program-best .8550 composite rating.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

A native of Owasso, Okla., Highland worked as an operations intern in 2016 and as a program assistant for the equipment staff in 2017.

Highland is a 2016 graduate of Simpson College where he was a member of the football team.

His father, Kevin, is an Ames native and played basketball at UNI in the 1980s.

 

STEVE HAUSER | Quality Control Special Teams

Steve Hauser is in his second season as a quality control assistant for special teams.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Iowa State had a number of players excel on special teams in 2018, including kickoff returner Kene Nwangwu. Nwangwu was a Second-Team All-Big 12 kickoff returner after leading the Big 12 and ranking 12th nationally in kickoff return average (26.8), the second-best clip in school history.

Freshman Tarique Milton was also one of the best punt returners in the Big 12 in 2018, ranking third in the Big 12 averaging 12.67 yards per return.

Walk-on kicker Connor Assalley took over placekicking duties and excelled under Houston’s coaching. Assalley hit 16 field goals, tying for sixth on ISU’s season list, and began his career making his first eight field goal attempts, the fifth-best string in school history.

Hauser directed Mike Gundy’s special teams units at Oklahoma State from 2016-17 as a graduate assistant. The Cowboys thrived on special teams under Hauser’s direction, ranking ninth nationally in blocked punts (2) in 2017. Kicker Matt Ammendola was also seventh nationally in field goals made per game (1.77).

In 2016, OSU had six blocked kicks to rank fourth nationally and its punt return defense ended the season second-best in the nation (0.94). Vincent Taylor led the nation with four blocked kicks and punter Zach Sinor ranked 31st nationally in punting average (42.8).

The Cowboys posted a pair of 10-3 seasons, were ranked in the top-15 in the final AP polls and won two bowl games in his two years in Stillwater.

A native of Harrisville, R.I., Hauser worked in the Cleveland Browns personnel department for two seasons (2014-15) after his initial stint at Oklahoma State as a quality control assistant in 2013.

His first collegiate coaching job was at Mount Ida College (Mass.), coaching the tight ends and fullbacks in 2011.

Hauser was a wide receiver at Wesleyan University (Conn.). A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter, he caught 20 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns as a junior.

He earned his degree from Wesleyan in 2011.

 

TYLER SCUDDER – Quality Control Defense

Tyler Scudder is in his second season on the Iowa State football staff as a quality control assistant on defense.

Scudder's work on defense helped ISU lead the Big 12 in both scoring defense (22.9) and rushing defense (115.0) in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Scudder was an assistant coach at Duquesne for four seasons prior to his arrival in Ames, directing the linebackers and serving as co-defensive coordinator in his final three years at the school.

The Dukes ranked 10th nationally in FCS in 2016, holding opponents to 314.1 yards per game. One of Scudder’s star players was Christian Kuntz, who was a three-time FCS All-American and the NEC’s all-time sack leader with 30.5.

In 2015, Duquesne ranked first in the NEC in scoring defense (19.2 ppg) and rushing defense (135.8).

Scudder served as the director of player personnel at Western Michigan (2013) for a season, helping the Broncos assemble the No. 1 recruiting class in the history of the MAC according to Rivals in 2014.

Prior to his stint at WMU, Scudder spent three seasons (2010-12) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, working with the cornerbacks and linebackers. In 2012, IUP boasted a defense that ranked first nationally (Division II) in both scoring and total defense.

Scudder’s collegiate coaching career began in 2009 as the wide receivers coach at Plymouth State (N.H.).

He earned his degree in public relations from West Virginia in 2009.

Scudder and his wife, Ashley, have a son, Owen.

 

JOHN MOROOKIAN – Quality Control Offense

John Morookian is in his second season as a quality control assistant on offense for the Iowa State football program.

Iowa State recorded one of its best seasons in school history in 2018, as the Cyclones went 8-5, broke the school record for conference wins in a season (six), posted their best conference finish in 40 years (T3rd) and made the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The Cyclone offense tied the school record for most 40-point games vs. league opponents in a season during the 2018 campaign, scoring 48 vs. Oklahoma State, 40 vs. Texas Tech and 42 vs. Kansas State. ISU was also 10th nationally in red zone offense, scoring points on 91.1 percent of its possessions inside the 20-yard line.

Morookian was a graduate assistant at Indiana in 2017 after serving two seasons (2015-16) as the offensive line coach at Tiffin University, a Division II school in Ohio. Tiffin recorded an 8-3 record, averaged 434.5 yards of total offense and scored 31.4 points per game in his final season at the school.

In 2014, Morookian was on Matt Campbell’s Toledo staff as a graduate assistant, helping the Rockets go 9-4 and earn a berth in the GoDaddy Bowl.

His first collegiate coaching job was the tight ends coach at Findlay (Ohio) from 2012-13.

A native of Providence, R.I., Morookian was a four-year starter on the offensive line for Toledo from 2008-11 where he played in two bowl games. He started 49 consecutive games at right tackle.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Toledo in 2011.

Iowa State University - Football