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100 Things Iowa State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
By Alex Halsted, Dylan Montz
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2015 Alex Halsted and Dylan Montz
All rights reserved.
The night before the biggest game of his life, Jack Trice sat alone in his hotel room at the Curtis Hotel in Minneapolis. The next day he would start his first varsity game, but for the moment he sat isolated and consumed by his thoughts. The hotel stationery and pen lay in front of him.
John G. Trice was born to Green and Anna Trice in 1902, in Hiram, Ohio, a small town some 40 miles southeast of Cleveland. Green was a farmhand and Anna washed clothes; his four grandparents had been slaves. John went by Jack. He was a jokester and a member of the Boy Scouts. When Jack was seven years old, his father died. After he finished eighth grade at 14 years old, his mother, feeling Jack was too sheltered, sent him to Cleveland to live with his aunt and uncle and attend East Technical High School.
Upon his arrival in Cleveland, Jack excelled. East Tech was considered a powerhouse in football, losing just once in both his sophomore and junior seasons before going undefeated during his senior year. Jack was a big lineman and was named All-State. "No better tackle ever played high school ball in Cleveland," teammate Johnny Behm told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1979. "He had speed, strength and smartness." The East Tech yearbook called him "undoubtedly the best tackle that ever played on a Brown and Gold football team."
After Jack graduated from East Tech in 1922, he began working for a construction road crew. That summer he met Cora Mae Starland, and the two were secretly married. Around the same time, East Tech coach Sam Willaman had been offered the head coaching position at Iowa State. Willaman invited six former players — including Jack — to come play in Ames. Jack obliged, leaving Cora Mae in Ohio, and became the first black athlete at Iowa State College.
Jack arrived on campus in the fall of 1922, and of the nearly 4,500 students at Iowa State, he was one of 20 or so African Americans. At that time, athletes didn't get scholarships, so Jack worked two jobs — as a custodian for a downtown business and at State Gym — to pay for tuition, meals, and lodging. Campus housing was segregated, so Jack found a room downtown, a few miles from campus. He enrolled as an animal husbandry major and did well in his classes. Although freshmen couldn't play, Jack made a name for himself in practice. He was six feet tall and weighed 200 pounds, and coaches saw a bright future for him. When Jack's freshman year was complete, he went home to Ohio and lived with his mother. In the fall of 1923, Jack returned to Ames with Cora Mae, who enrolled in home economics.
The 1923 season began on September 29, when Iowa State hosted Simpson College, a small in-state school that would provide a tune-up game. The Cyclones won 14-6, and while Jack didn't start, he blocked a kick, forced a fumble, and recovered another. Next up was Minnesota on October 6, and Willaman named Jack a starter.
The Cyclones traveled by train to Minneapolis the day before the game and stayed in the Curtis Hotel. The next day Iowa State arrived at Northrop Field on a sunny autumn afternoon. Back home in Ames, Cora Mae went to State Gym to follow the game on a GridGraph.
On the second play of the game, Jack injured his left shoulder, which would later be determined to be a broken collarbone. He refused to exit. Jack was bandaged and continued on. In the third quarter, as Iowa State passed to Norton Behm, Jack performed a rolling block, throwing himself in front of the defender. After the play, he lay on his back; he didn't get up.
As Minnesota fans chanted, "We're sorry, Ames, we're sorry," Trice was helped from the field. At the nearby University Hospital, it was determined Jack could take the overnight train back to Ames with his teammates. Jack lay on a straw bed on the ride home and, upon arrival, was taken immediately to the college hospital. Late Sunday afternoon, Jack began experiencing irregular breathing, and a Des Moines specialist, Dr. Oliver Fay, was summoned to Ames. The next day, Cora Mae was told to go to the campus hospital. When she arrived in Jack's room, she greeted him. "Hello, darling," she said. Jack looked at her but never spoke. At 3:00 pm the Campanile bells chimed. Jack was dead.
"If there is anything in the life of John Trice and his career that will be an inspiration to the colored students who come to Ames, he has not lived and died in vain," Jack's mother wrote in a letter to college president Raymond Pearson.
Classes were suspended the next day, and several thousand people gathered on Central Campus for Trice's memorial. Teammates carried a gray casket with a Cardinal and Gold blanket laid over the top. Pearson pulled out a letter. The night before the biggest game of his life, segregated from his teammates, Jack had begun to write with that hotel pen and paper laying in front of him. Following his death, the letter, written on Curtis Hotel stationery, had been found in Jack's coat pocket. It read:
Oct. 5, 1923
To whom it may concern:
My thoughts just before the first real college game of my life. The honor of my race, family, & self are at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will! My whole body & soul are to be thrown recklessly about on the field tomorrow. Every time the ball is snapped I will be trying to do more than my part. On all defensive plays I must break thru the opponents' line and stop the play in their territory. Beware of mass interference, fight low with your eyes open and toward the play. Roll block the interference. Watch out for crossbucks and reverse end runs. Be on your toes every minute if you expect to make good.
When Jack sat in his quiet room consumed by his thoughts and began to write, he could never have known the big things he would do. The legacy of Jack Trice does not rest with a game or moment, or even a letter, it is one of courage and commitment that endures forever.
Player Profile: John Crawford
When John Crawford arrived at Iowa State in 1954, he became the first African American basketball player in school history, some 32 years after Jack Trice first arrived at Iowa State College and broke the color barrier in the university's football program.
Crawford, a 6'5" forward, became a three-year starter for the Cyclones from 1955 to 1958 after arriving from New York City. During Crawford's sophomore season, he averaged 12.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as Iowa State won its first conference tournament title in school history with a 1955 Big 7 Holiday Tournament crown. Crawford averaged a double-double the next season, one in which the Cyclones upset No. 1 Kansas in Ames. He was named first-team All–Big 12 as a senior.
When his career came to an end, Crawford was Iowa State's all-time leading rebounder (with 658) and second all-time in scoring (914 points).CHAPTER 2
He had a funny way of talking. His colorful, raspy voice fit the bill of an entertainer more than it did a basketball coach. His charisma and larger-than-life personality set him apart, and whooee, did people love him. He was, after all, the father of Hilton Magic.
Every night as fans packed into Hilton Coliseum, Johnny Orr stood in the tunnel by the locker room. Pregame warm-ups were about over, and he was getting ready to take the court. "Coach, this is Oklahoma, now, this is a big game," his assistants would say. "You've got to really get the crowd going."
"That's hard to do as a coach," longtime assistant Jim Hallihan said. "You'd have a big game, you're real serious and you've got butterflies, and you've got to go out there and act like [he did]. Only he could do that."
What Johnny did was captivating. As he ran out of the tunnel and stepped onto the Hilton floor, the pep band began blaring its rendition of the Tonight Show theme. Johnny ran along the bench as players finished warm-ups, wildly thrusting his fist into the air, high-fiving anybody he could. No matter the game, Johnny always brought life into the building. It was that entrance to the Tonight Show theme that became his trademark.
"Heeeere's Johnny!" the crowd would yell.
John Orr grew up in Taylorville, Illinois, and played college basketball at Beloit College — where he was a two-time All-American — before graduating in 1949. After college, Johnny coached high school basketball, including at Dubuque Senior High School, before landing a job as an assistant at Wisconsin. A head coaching stop at UMass then led him to an assistant position at Michigan, before he took over as head coach of the Wolverines in 1968. Orr won 209 games at Michigan and led his team to the 1976 NCAA Championship Game against Indiana.
In 1980 ISU athletics director Lou McCullough was searching for a new basketball coach. Iowa State had just wrapped up its eighth straight losing season, with four different coaches in that span, and he wanted somebody to reenergize the program. McCullough called Orr at Michigan, hoping he could speak with Orr's assistant, Bill Frieder, about the Cyclones job. During the course of the conversation, Orr learned that the ISU coach would be making more money than even he was making in Ann Arbor, and so he lobbied for the job himself. Just like that, Johnny Orr was bound for Ames.
As he was introduced as the new man in Ames, with a banner behind the podium that read Iowa State Is Orr Right, Johnny didn't quite know just what he was getting himself into. After many difficult practices at the start of his first season, Johnny went home and told his wife, Romie, exactly what was on his mind. That's how he always was.
"Romie," Johnny said. "It's going to be a long year, because we're no fucking good."
It took the program a few seasons to get off the ground, and it was Orr's infectious personality and ability to connect with recruits that helped turn the corner. A Michigan pipeline to players such as Barry Stevens and Jeff Grayer opened the doors for success, and that came to fruition through Orr's ability to relate to anybody. Part of Orr's personality came across in his colorful language, with some profanity sprinkled in.
"We went to somebody's house up in Detroit or wherever we were, and we said, 'Now, Coach, this family, the father's a pastor. So you've got to really watch your language,'" Hallihan remembered. "Somewhere along the line, he'd let out a little cuss word like a 'damn,' and if [the people he was talking to] laughed, the door was open."
Johnny's ability to hold the attention of a large group of people was part of his allure. He once went into a recruit's home, and when the boy's father asked if a scholarship offer was on the table, Orr told stories for 15 minutes and left without answering the question. Nobody seemed to remember the man's question being asked.
For as many people as Johnny loved, there was just one group he didn't care for: officials. In a game at No. 12 Iowa in 1983, Iowa State lost by 17, and Orr had remained relatively quiet throughout the whole game. "I mean, how do you get on the refs when you're losing by 30?" Hallihan said. The next day, everybody saw a photograph of Johnny giving the middle finger to a referee in the Des Moines Register. His unapologetic persona and up-tempo brand of basketball were the perfect fit at the perfect time for Iowa State.
"You had so many coaches who really pulled the reins on players, they didn't allow them to truly express themselves out on the floor," Grayer said. "Johnny Orr was just the opposite."
Johnny Orr won 76.7 percent of his games in Hilton Coliseum from 1980 to 1994 and is the winningest coach in Iowa State history with 218 victories. He guided Iowa State to six NCAA tournaments and a Sweet 16 in 1986 after a memorable upset of his old school, Michigan.
On November 17, 2013, Johnny Orr made his final appearance in front of the crowd at Hilton Coliseum to witness Iowa State take on No. 7 Michigan. Orr walked out of the very same tunnel he had all those years before, this time with his pupil Fred Hoiberg leading the team. He was the same old Johnny, just like he was when he first burst onto the scene.
"He showed so much life that day," Hoiberg said. "The guy just lit it up when he walked out there. I just tried to sit back and enjoy it."
Orr passed away on December 31, 2013, but what he built at Iowa State will never die. The sports bar in Hilton Coliseum named Johnny's, Orr's towering bronze statue on the concourse, and the banner overlooking the arena floor are all reminders that the father of Hilton Magic is here to stay.
"You can't tell me one person that meant more to Cyclones sports than Johnny Orr," Hoiberg said.
"Son, You're Not Doing Your Job"
Even though he was always animated and spoke his mind, nothing caused Johnny Orr to do so more than his relationship with officials.
Iowa State played at Oklahoma in 1982 and held a small lead, attempting to run out the clock. OU players attempted to draw fouls, hoping to get more possessions to extend the game. "They're dropping like flies," broadcaster Pete Taylor said. Bogus fouls were called, and the Sooners eked out a one-point win.
Later that season when the two teams met in Ames, the same three officials were assigned to the game, much to the dismay of Orr. Bernie Saggau, the director of Big 8 officials, was at the game as the Sooners won again after a questionable technical foul was handed to Orr.
"I told the Big 8 I didn't want those three officials again," Orr said postgame. "We don't have them all year, and then Oklahoma comes back and we've got the same three guys. Bernie, if you're out there listening: Son, you're not doing your job."
Bernie, who lived in Boone, Iowa, was listening. The next season, a gag order was issued to coaches in regard to commenting on officiating.CHAPTER 3
Before Fred Hoiberg ever became the All-American hometown hero, the competitive fourth-grader stood at the Pinewood Derby ramp in disbelief. He looked around and saw the souped-up cars his friends had made with their fathers, who were engineering professors. They had spoilers on the back and perfect aerodynamics. Then he looked at his, which he had made with his father, a sociology professor. It had been made from a block of wood with wheels glued to the sides. Hoiberg's car sat stuck on the ramp; it hadn't even reached the finish line. Fred took it outside and chucked it across the parking lot.
"I was a very competitive kid," Hoiberg admitted. "Almost over the top."
When Fred was two years old, in 1974, his father accepted a job at Iowa State University as a sociology professor, and the family moved to a bright yellow home on Donald Street. His father would walk the few blocks to campus each day, and Fred would walk or ride his bike to Crawford Elementary School just a few blocks away. After school Fred would often stop at the Harold Nichols Wrestling shop to play Pac-Man. He strategically walked his dog, Bailey, around Sorority Circle. "It was a fun place to grow up," Fred said.
Iowa State had never really had a ball boy when it created the position for Fred in 1985. The next season, he made his first mark. In a game against Windsor, star Jeff Hornacek came down the court quickly and landed on Fred underneath the hoop. Hornacek sprained his ankle and missed the rest of the game. "Injuring the best player in school history isn't exactly how I want to be remembered," Hoiberg said later. There were better moments to be had.
Excerpted from 100 Things Iowa State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Alex Halsted, Dylan Montz. Copyright © 2015 Alex Halsted and Dylan Montz. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Fred Hoiberg ix
Foreword Sage Rosenfels xi
1 Jack Trice 1
2 Heeeere's Johnny! 6
3 The Mayor 10
4 2011 Oklahoma State: The Perfect Storm 15
5 Cael Sanderson 19
6 Troy Davis 24
7 The 2000 Cyclones 28
8 The Dirty Thirty 32
9 Dreaming of an Upset 36
10 The Run 40
11 The Lafester Game 42
12 Dan Gable 46
13 The Roland Rocket 50
14 Dwight Nichols 54
15 Jeff Grayer 57
16 Bill Fennelly 62
17 Marcus Fizer 67
18 "Struck by a Cyclone" 72
19 Experience Hilton Magic 74
20 Pete Taylor: Voice of the Cyclones 77
21 Clyde Williams 80
22 Angie Welle 82
23 George Amundson 86
24 A Historic Night in the Desert 90
25 Waldo Wegner 94
26 1944 Final Four 97
27 Cy-Hawk Part I: Rivalry Renewed 100
28 Cy-Hawk Part II: The Comeback 103
29 1986 Michigan: "JV vs. Varsity" 106
30 Harold Nichols 109
31 1992 Oklahoma State: An Assist from Hilton 113
32 Barry Stevens 115
33 Sing "ISU Fights" 120
34 1987 Wrestling: Back on Top 123
35 No. 3 Nebraska 23, Iowa State 23 126
36 Jeff Homacek 129
37 "I've Seen It All Today!" 134
38 Sage Rosenfels 137
39 Down Goes UConn! 140
40 Ben Peterson 143
41 Meet Cy 146
42 One Heck of a Streak 149
43 Jack Trice Stadium 151
44 The Late '70s: Flipping the Switch 154
45 Louis Menze 156
46 The Armory 159
47 Zaid Abdul-Aziz 162
48 Clyde Williams Field 164
49 Coach Mac 168
50 Seneca Wallace 170
51 Return for Homecoming 174
52 Hilton Coliseum 176
53 Nawal El Moutawakel 179
54 Johnny Majors 181
55 Triumph and Tragedy 184
56 1990 Oklahoma: In Their Own Backyard 187
57 Blarge! 189
58 Glen Brand 192
59 Jamaal Tinsley 195
60 Mike "Mongo" Stensrud 198
61 Tom Randall 201
62 Larry Eustachy 204
63 Let's Dance 207
64 Jim Doran 210
65 Back-to-Back Big 12 Titles 212
66 Earle Bruce 215
67 Bill Bergan 218
68 Ed Bock 220
69 Catch a Bowl Game 222
70 One and Done 224
71 The XC Championships 226
72 ISUCF'V'MB 228
73 Megan Taylor 230
74 The Forgotten Championships 233
75 The Monster Man 236
76 Hilton South 239
77 Golden Memories 241
78 Tim Floyd 244
79 Marv's Miracle 247
80 Javme Olson 250
81 Dexter "Money" Green 252
82 Three Straight For Iowa State 255
83 The Story of Cyclones Baseball 258
84 Harris from Perris 260
85 Keith Krepfle 262
86 The Tornado Game 265
87 The Gibbons Brothers 267
88 Mike Busch 270
89 Storm the Field 272
90 Stacy Frese 275
91 Marcus Robertson 278
92 Enjoy Tailgating 280
93 Lisa Koll 281
94 Road Trip 284
95 Jake Varner 286
96 Volleyball: The Right Fit 288
97 Follow the Tailgate Tour 290
98 Melvin Ejim 292
99 Continue Your Cyclones Journey Online 296
100 A New Era: The Rising Cyclones 297