Stapleton was the head coach of the Cyclones for 10 seasons from 1958 to 1967. During his time in Ames, Iowa, his teams compiled an overall record of 42 wins, 53 losses and three ties. Stapleton stepped down from coaching at Iowa State in 1967 to become the school’s athletic director.
Iowa State posted a 4-6 record in 1958, Stapleton’s first season as head coach, but the Cyclones improved to seven wins over the next two seasons.
He left Iowa State to take the athletic director position at Florida State from 1971 to 1972 and spent five years in the same position at Vanderbilt from 1973-78.Oct 18, 2014; Austin, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Sam Richardson (12) passes the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Stapleton grew up in Fleming, Kentucky, and played football at Tennessee, the AP reported. He began his coaching career at Wofford College as an assistant and also coached at Wyoming and Oregon State before arriving in Ames.
The former Cyclone head coach may be best known for coaching what was called the Iowa State “Dirty Thirty,” the 1959 team that was given that moniker because it finished with a record of 7-3 despite having just 30 healthy players, according to the AP story reporting on Stapleton’s death.
An Iowa State athletic department spokesman told the AP that Stapleton had a big hand in the origination and building of both Jack Trice Stadium (used for football) and Hilton Coliseum (the Cyclones’ basketball arena) in the early 1970s.
Stapleton personally picked Johnny Majors to replace him as head coach of the Cyclones when the former moved into the athletic director’s job. Majors led Iowa State to back-to-back bowl games in 1971 and 1972.