Iowa State Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2005
Carl Adams Wrestling
David Archer Football
Scott Crowell Track and Field
Shelley Finnestad Golf/Basketball
Ron Gray Wrestling
Fred Hoiberg Basketball
Karl Nelson Football
Ron Renko Track and Field/Cross Country
Bill Strannigan Basketball
Tom Vaughn Football
Carl Adams, Wrestling
Carl Adams was a key cog in the most productive time period of the storied Iowa State wrestling program. In his four years at ISU (1969-72), Adams won two individual national championships, was a three-time All-American and was a member of three NCAA Championship squads (1969, 1970, 1972) and one runner-up NCAA team (1971). A native of Bay Shore, N.Y., Adams arrived at Iowa State after a stellar prep career at Brentwood High School, where he never lost a dual meet and was the New York State champion his senior year at 157 pounds. Legendary ISU wrestling coach Harold Nichols penciled in the freshman as his 152-pounder in 1969, where he compiled a 9-2-1 dual mark and finished fifth at the NCAA Championship. The Cyclones took home the team title that year for the first time since 1965.
Adams won his only Big Eight Conference championship in 1970 (150 pounds), but was unable to place in the top eight at nationals as the Cyclones won back-to-back NCAA team titles. Adams regrouped and held a stranglehold over his weight class (158 pounds) in his final two seasons. In 1971, Adams was 9-2-1 in duals and won his first NCAA title by dominating Oregon State's Mike Jones 18-5 in the championship match. Adams did not lose a dual match in his senior season (16-0-1) and capped off his second consecutive individual national title with a 7-4 decision against Stan Dziedzic from Slippery Rock. He was one of three Cyclone individual national titlists in 1972 (Ben Peterson, Chris Taylor), as the Cyclones were kings of the mat world for the third time in Adams' four seasons with the Cyclones.
After ending his ISU career with a 45-4-4 dual mark and three Midlands championships (1971, 1972, 1974), Adams continued to excel on the mat at the international level while assisting Nichols and the Cyclone staff from 1973-79. Adams won the AAU 163-pound national championship in 1973 and 1975 and placed fifth in the 1975 World Team Championship held in Minsk, Russia. He won a silver medal at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
Adams, who earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State, left ISU in 1979 to take his first head coaching job at the University of Rhode Island. After two seasons with the Rams, Adams took over head coaching duties at Boston University, where he just finished his 24th year with the Terriers. Under his tutelage, the Terriers have won 10 conference titles and produced four All-Americans.
Adams has authored many books on wrestling and was the inventor of the Wrestling Takedown Machine, Adam, a device used by thousands of high schools and colleges across the country. Adams was inducted into the Midlands Hall of Fame in 1992 and was a 2005 inductee to the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame at the International Wrestling Institute in Newton, Iowa.
David Archer, Football
The Iowa State football program rode the arm of David Archer in his two seasons as the Cyclone signal-caller in 1982 and 1983. The junior college transfer posted two of the most prolific passing seasons in ISU history, etching his name into the Cyclone record book as one of the greatest quarterbacks in school history.
The Cyclone coaching staff signed the Soda Springs, Idaho, native out of Snow Community College (Utah), where he earned JUCO All-America honors and ranked fourth nationally in passing in 1981. Archer stepped right in and had a solid junior season, throwing for 1,465 yards to lead ISU to a 4-6-1 mark in head coach Donnie Duncan's final season with ISU.
Jim Criner took over coaching duties for Archer's senior season and left no doubt that the Cyclones would be a passing team in 1983. Archer teamed up with receiver Tracy Henderson to form one of the best offensive threats in school history. Archer broke virtually every single-season school passing record in 1983, as the Cyclones tied for fourth in the Big Eight Conference (3-4). Archer set school marks in pass completions (234), attempts (403), yards (2,639), total offense (2,698), touchdowns (18) and lowest interception percentage (.029). He led the Big Eight and ranked eighth nationally in total offense while his favorite target Henderson caught a then-school record 1,051 yards, ranking third nationally to help him earn All-America honors. In one of Archer's best games, he threw for a then-school-record 346 yards against the vaunted 1983 No. 1-ranked Nebraska "scoring explosion" team, helping the Cyclones put up the most points (29) against the Cornhuskers in the regular season. He also threw for 300 yards in ISU's thrilling 38-35 victory over Kansas, helping him earn Big Eight Player of the Week honors.
When Archer's career ended, he ranked No. 1 in the ISU career record book in both passing yards (4,104) and completions (359) in just two seasons. His 2,639 passing yards and 2,698 yards of total offense his senior season are still the second-best single-season marks in Iowa State history.
Archer was hoping his outstanding senior season would warrant a look from the pro scouts. He was drafted in the ninth round of the USFL draft by the Denver Gold, but was not called upon by an NFL team. Archer opted to not sign with USFL and chose to sign a free-agent contract with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. His decision paid off, making the Falcons' roster in 1984. The following season, Archer played in all 16 games and led Atlanta with 1,992 passing yards. In 1986, Archer earned the starting QB job and promptly led the Falcons to a 5-1-1 record after seven games. For the Falcons' surprising start, Archer was named NFC Player of the Month for September and kept the Falcons rolling until an injury ended his season with five games remaining. He finished the year with 2,007 passing yards and 10 touchdown strikes in 11 games, throwing for a career-high 350 yards against the New York Giants. The mobile Archer proved to be one of the better running QBs in the league, ranking at the top of the NFL in QB rushing yards in both 1985 (347 yards) and 1986 (298). Archer played five more seasons in the NFL, finishing his final years with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles.
Archer continued his professional career after the NFL, joining the World League of American Football in 1992. He played one season with the Sacramento Surge, earning league MVP honors and MVP of the World Bowl after leading the Surge to the World League title. Archer shifted leagues once again, heading to the Canadian Football League. In his first season with the Sacramento Gold Miners, Archer threw for 6,023 yards, a total that ranks fourth on the CFL single-season passing charts. He is one of just three players in professional football history to throw for 6,000 or more yards in a season. Archer ended his CFL career in 1998, throwing for 20,671 yards and 120 touchdowns for four teams in five seasons. He currently works with the Atlanta Falcons as the color man for their radio broadcasting team.
Scott Crowell, Track & Field
Scott Crowell ranked as one of the nation's elite in the discus while competing for the Cyclone track & field team from 1979-83. The ISU record-holder in the discus was an instrumental part in assisting Cyclone Hall of Fame head coach Bill Bergan build his track dynasty in the early 1980s.
The Mason City, Iowa, native started his dominance of the discus as a prep at Mason City High School, where he won two Drake Relays titles, two state discus crowns and set a national high school record with a toss of 207-8. In his first two seasons with the Cyclones, Crowell showed tremendous progress while adapting to the heavier discus in the college ranks. He placed fourth in the Big Eight Conference as a freshman and sophomore, eclipsing the school record with an effort of 191-11. A broken toe kept him from competing in the 1980 NCAA Tournament.
As a junior in 1981, Crowell would make his name known nationally with arguably one of the greatest seasons in Iowa State track and field history. Crowell was almost unbeatable in 1981, winning seven of 10 invitationals. A win at the Texas Relays preceded his Big Eight title, where he shattered the school record and became the first Iowa collegian to throw over 200 feet with a toss of 206-6. Crowell's record-breaking throw aided ISU to its first conference outdoor team championship since 1945 and the first of Bergan's eight Big Eight outdoor crowns. Crowell solidified his spot in the Cyclone annals when he became the first ISU trackman to win an individual outdoor NCAA title since 1943 by capturing the 1981 NCAA discus crown with a hurl of 206-3. Thanks to Crowell's effort, the Cyclones finished eighth at the 1981 NCAA Championships.
Crowell was considered the favorite to repeat as the NCAA discus champion as a senior in 1982. He busted out early by winning his second consecutive Texas Relays title, demolishing the school and Texas Relays mark with a throw of 211-9. His toss of 211-9 is still the ISU school record and it broke the Texas Relays standard that was set by Ken Stadel of Rice (209-2) in 1973. Unfortunately for Crowell, the ISU star developed soreness and tendinitis in his elbow shortly after the Texas Relays. He sat out the rest of 1982 and was granted another year of eligibility in 1983. However, his elbow problems continued and he was never able to compete at the same level.
Crowell stuck around Ames after graduation and assisted the Cyclone track & field staff while pursuing his master's degree. He received his doctorate and is currently the associate vice president of student affairs at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall, Minn. He is a member of the Iowa Athletic Track Coaches Hall of Fame.
Shelley Finnestad, Golf/Basketball
Shelley Finnestad helped put Iowa State women's golf on the map after one of the greatest individual seasons in school history. The Boone, Iowa, native was a regular competitor in the ISU golf lineup for three seasons (1991-93), but she blossomed into one of the greatest players in school history in her senior season.
Finnestad forged her way into the Cyclone lineup in her sophomore year (1990-91) and was the team leader by her junior campaign (1991-92). Finnestad earned academic All-America honors as a junior, recording two top-10 finishes while playing in every tournament for the Cyclones.
As a senior in 1992-93, Finnestad took her game to the next level. She worked hard in the summer improving her skills, especially her short game. Her hard work was rewarded. Finnestad posted four top-10 finishes, won two tournaments and recorded ISU's single-season stroke average record (77.2) in her final season.
Finnestad saved her best work for last, winning medalist honors at the 1993 Big Eight Conference Championship, helping the Cyclones win their first league title in school history. Finnestad fired rounds of 75-80-77 at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb., to become the only Cyclone to win an individual women's golf conference title. Her performance helped propel ISU to its first NCAA postseason appearance, as the Cyclones qualified for NCAA Regional competition. Iowa State finished 11th at the NCAA Regional, with Finnestad leading the way as ISU's highest finisher, tying for 34th with a 234 total. Finnestad capped off her incredible season by earning her third consecutive NGCA Academic All-America award. Her 77.2 single-season stroke average record stood for over 10 years.
After her golfing eligibility expired, Finnestad competed on the ISU women's basketball team for one season (1993-94). Following graduation, Finnestad pursued a professional golfing career. For several years, she competed professionally on the LPGA's developmental Futures tour. In 1998, Finnestad became the first ISU graduate to compete in the United States Women's Open, playing at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. She carded rounds of 76-77 (153), missing the cut by three strokes.
Ron Gray, Wrestling
When listing the best wrestlers to wear the Cardinal and Gold robe, Ron Gray's name will rise to the top. Gray was one of Iowa State legendary head coach Harold Nichols' first stars on the mat, winning two individual NCAA titles, earning All-America honors three times and capturing three Big Eight crowns in his three seasons (1957-59) in Ames.
A native of Eagle Grove, Iowa, Gray was one of the most sought after high school recruits in the nation when he finished his prep career at Eagle Grove High School. Gray won three state titles (1952, 1953, 1955), owning the distinction as the first freshman Iowa state champion in 1952. Nichols, who started his outstanding wrestling coaching career at ISU in 1954 and was still in his early years with the Cyclones, lured Gray to Ames as one of his top recruits.
Gray sat out his first season because of the NCAA freshman ineligibility rule and found his way into the Cyclone lineup as a sophomore in 1957. Gray won every match that year, including a Big Eight title, until the NCAA Championship title bout at 147 pounds against Iowa's Simon Roberts. Gray lost to Roberts in an overtime period to finish second at 147 pounds, which would be one of just two personal setbacks in his Cyclone career. Ironically, Roberts, who prepped at Davenport High School, defeated Gray in the 1954 state finals when he was a junior, preventing Gray from becoming the first four-time Iowa state champion and first three-time NCAA champion.
After his second-place finish in 1957, there was no stopping Gray on the mat. He dominated his weight class (147 pounds) for the next two seasons. Gray lost just once in 1958 to Oklahoma State's Shelby Wilson, the 1960 Olympic champion, en route to his second Big Eight title and first NCAA crown. Gray defeated Cornell's Dick Vincent (9-3) in the 147-pound NCAA title match, leading ISU to its first league title since 1947 and a runner-up finish at the NCAA championship, its best showing since 1933. Gray cruised through the 1959 dual season, winning every match except for a tie against OSU's Wilson. He won his third Big Eight title with a pin in the championship match against Colorado's Barney Bales, as the Cyclones finished second to Oklahoma State. Gray ended his career in perfect fashion, winning his second-straight 147-pound NCAA title with a 9-3 victory against Wyoming's Jerry Frude, as the Cyclones were runner-up champs for the second year in a row. Gray's overpowering performance in the NCAA Championship earned him the meet's Outstanding Wrestler Award, the first of four Cyclones (Dan Gable, Tim Krieger, Cael Sanderson) in school history to achieve the coveted honor.
Gray, who finished his Cyclone career with a 53-2-1 mark, was voted ISU's Athlete of the Year in 1959. He taught and coached wrestling in high school for a number years before leading the Franklin and Marshall College wrestling program from 1968-1971. He left F&M and served as the head coach at Kent State for 25 seasons (1972-96). He guided the Golden Flashes to nine Mid-American Conference team titles and was named MAC Coach of the Year five times. His Kent wrestlers won 46 individual MAC titles and earned All-America accolades six times. He is a member of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, the NCAA Helms Hall of Fame, the Kent State Hall of Fame and is a 2005 inductee to the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame at the International Wrestling Institute in Newton, Iowa.
Fred Hoiberg, Basketball
Fred Hoiberg could be the most popular basketball player in Iowa State history. Playing collegiately in his hometown of Ames, Iowa, "The Mayor" captured the imagination of the entire state of Iowa during his ISU career from 1991-95. Besides his popularity, however, another argument could be made that Hoiberg was the most versatile athlete to don the Cardinal and Gold. The 6-4 guard/forward ended his illustrious Cyclone career ranking among the top 10 in seven different statistical categories (scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws). What is more impressive about Hoiberg's career at ISU, is that he achieved all of his feats while maintaining a 3.0 GPA, earning first-team academic All-America honors his senior season.
Hoiberg was a hot commodity in 1991 after leading his Ames High School basketball team to the Class 3A state championship and earning back-to-back first-team all-state selections. A full-time starter since his sophomore season, Hoiberg was generally considered one of the top high school guard prospects in the country, narrowing his college choices down to Arizona, Stanford and Iowa State. Luckily for the Cyclones and head coach Johnny Orr, Hoiberg decided to stay at home and play for ISU.
As a freshman in 1991-92, Hoiberg wasted little time making his presence known, earning The Associated Press' Big Eight Conference Freshman of the Year award, the first Cyclone to do so. Hoiberg and the Cyclones won 16 of their first 19 games, leading ISU to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1988-89 season. Hoiberg ended the year averaging 12.1 ppg, leading ISU in field goal percentage (57.3), free throw percentage (81.0) and steals (65). He also established a school record by connecting on 34-straight free throws, a mark that still stands.
After his first-year heroics, the legend of Fred Hoiberg was beginning to grow. Because of his overwhelming popularity in the city of Ames, Hoiberg was dubbed "The Mayor" by his teammates. As a sophomore (1992-93), his role changed slightly, becoming more of a rebounder and defender than a scorer for a team that was ranked in the preseason top 20. He ended the season averaging 11.6 ppg, but was the team's top rebounder with a 6.3 rpg average. The team made its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, bowing to UCLA in the first round.
The following season was Hoiberg's best statistically, despite the Cyclones' 14-13 finish. ISU suffered a major setback when starting center Loren Meyer was injured, forcing Hoiberg to pick up much of the load for the young Cyclones. As the year unfolded, Hoiberg put together arguably the greatest all-around season in Cyclone history, ranking in the Big Eight's top 10 in seven different categories (free-throw pct., 2nd-86.4; 3-point pct., 3rd-45.0; field goal pct., 5th-53.5; scoring, 6th-20.2; steals, 8th-1.7; assists, 10th-3.6; rebounding, 10th-6.7). Amazing as it seems, Hoiberg was left off the Big Eight first-team list, mustering only a second-team selection despite his laurels.
Entering his senior season, "The Mayor" was ready to prove his capabilities to the nation and new head coach Tim Floyd. With Meyer healthy again and a strong supporting cast returning, ISU quickly rose in the national polls. During the season, Hoiberg capped off his legend with some of the most memorable single-game performances in Cyclone history. Against No. 3 Kansas in front of a raucous, sold-out Hilton Coliseum, Hoiberg poured in 32 points, including a stretch of 17-straight points in the second half to help upset KU 69-65. Less than a month later, he tallied 41 points vs. Colorado, only the sixth player in Cyclone history to break the 40-point barrier in a ballgame.
Statistically, Hoiberg was just as impressive, ranking third in the conference in scoring (19.9 ppg), first in free-throw percentage (86.1) and third in 3-point percentage (41.2). ISU also had a formidable team, making it to the finals of the Big Eight Tournament and the second round of the NCAA Tournament while amassing a then-school-record 23 wins. Hoiberg was rewarded for his exploits, earning first-team all-Big Eight and All-America honors. He was later named co-Big Eight Male Athlete of the Year and ISU Athlete of the Year. He is one of five Cyclones to be named conference male athlete of the year (Chris Taylor, Tim Krieger, Mike Busch, Cael Sanderson).
After finishing his ISU career as the school's No. 3 all-time leading scorer (1,993) and top 3-point shooter (183), Hoiberg looked to the NBA as his employer. He impressed the pro scouts at the NABC All-Star game, where he was named MVP after scoring 20 points and drilling six treys. The Indiana Pacers liked Hoiberg's credentials, drafting him in the second round of the 1995 NBA draft. Hoiberg was a member of the Indiana team that made it to the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals before being eliminated by eventual NBA champion Chicago in a hard-fought seven-game series. Hoiberg was later traded to Chicago and then to Minnesota, where he developed into one of the most feared marksman in the NBA. In his first year with the Timberwolves, Hoiberg's clutch 3-point bombs helped Minnesota reach the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Hoiberg, who is in his 10th year in the NBA, currently leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 50 percent.
His Iowa State jersey (32) joined an elite class of six ISU jerseys to be put into official retirement in 1997.
Karl Nelson, Football
Karl Nelson was the blueprint for offensive line play while competing for Iowa State from 1979-82. One of its greatest offensive line talents in school history, Nelson was a two-time first-team all-Big Eight pick and an All-American in 1982. He also excelled in the classroom, earning academic all-Big Eight honors three times and District 5 academic All-America recognition twice.
The Dekalb, Ill., native was a skinny 215-pounder when he arrived on the ISU campus in the fall of 1978. At 6-6 with outstanding athletic ability, college recruiters came knocking on Nelson's door in his last season as a prep. Both of his parents were Iowa State graduates, which helped him make an early commitment to the Cyclones. Nelson sat out his first year in order to gain weight and improve his strength. When the 1979 season rolled around, the redshirt freshman immediately earned a starting spot at right tackle, a position he did not relinquish for the next four years. Bluechip Magazine and Football News both selected Nelson as a freshman All-American in 1979.
Nelson was a second-team all-Big Eight pick as a sophomore (1980), helping the Cyclones win their first five games and earn a No. 19 spot in The Associated Press rankings. He paved the way for ISU All-American running back Dwayne Crutchfield, who ranked 10th nationally in rushing that season with 1,312 yards. Nelson was a first-team all-Big Eight pick the following year (1981) despite playing through nearly the entire season with chronic back pain. The Cyclones were 5-1-1 and ranked 11th nationally, tying No. 5 Oklahoma and defeating No. 8 Missouri, before losing their final four games of the season. Nelson and left guard Bruce Reimers anchored the line that ranked second in the Big Eight in passing offense and third in the conference in rushing. Crutchfield was the league's top rusher for the second year in a row thanks to Nelson's superb blocking.
Nelson highlighted his four-year career by garnering his second consecutive first-team all-Big Eight award and earning All-America honors, as the Cyclones ranked 30th nationally in rushing offense in 1982. Because there are no official statistics for offensive lineman, it is difficult to fully rate their effectiveness. The ISU coaching staff implemented a two-part grading system to determine the performances of offensive linemen, and Nelson was graded a "winning performance" in 36 of his 44 career games as a Cyclone. His collegiate gridiron achievements are even more amazing considering that he accomplished these goals while maintaining a 3.0 GPA in electrical engineering, one of the most demanding majors in ISU's nationally acclaimed engineering school. In 1989, Nelson was the only Cyclone to earn a first-team spot on the AP Big Eight All-Decade Team for the 1980s.
Following the end of his senior season, Nelson was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game and he was honored with several awards at the team banquet. He won ISU's Reuben J. Miller Award and the Arthur Floyd Scott Award for best offensive lineman. His skills did not get unnoticed by the pro scouts, as the New York Giants picked him in the third round of the 1983 NFL draft. He quickly developed into one of the Giants' top offensive line prospects after missing his rookie season with a toe injury in 1983. Nelson forged his way into the starting lineup in 1984, starting all 55 games between 1984-86. The 1986 season was one of the greatest in Nelson's career. The star lineman led the Giants with 111 key blocks and paced the Giants to its first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Nelson started at right tackle in Super Bowl XXI, helping the Giants pound the Denver Broncos 39-20. Nelson's pass protection allowed Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms to complete 22-of-25 passes in the game.
Nelson and the Giants were on top of the world heading into the 1987 campaign. Things changed, however, in the summer of 1987. Nelson checked into a New York hospital for what was supposed to be arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. A routine chest X-ray revealed a mass on his upper chest. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. Nelson sat out the 1987 season battling the disease with surgeries and radiation, vowing to return to the game. He spent the summer of 1988 rehabilitating his injured shoulder and improving his strength. Nelson made a miraculous comeback, earning a starting spot for the Giants' 1988 season opener on Monday Night Football. By now, the whole nation was captivated by Nelson's courageous return and his defeat of Hodgkin's disease. He was getting closer to his old form until he tore ligaments in his ankle that hindered him for the rest of the season.
Nelson's NFL career ended in December of 1988 when doctors found a lump in his neck, revealing that the disease had returned and spread to his neck. Nelson won the battle against the disease again, becoming an inspiration to cancer survivors everywhere. The NFL honored him with the George Halas Award in 1988 as the overwhelming selection as the NFL comeback player of the year. In 1993, Nelson published a book "Life on the Line," chronicling his football career and courageous battle with cancer.
Ron Renko, Track & Field And Cross Country Coach
Ron Renko succeeded ISU Hall of Fame coach Chris Murray in 1979 and continued to keep the Iowa State women's cross country and track and field programs among the best nationally from 1979-85. Renko coached 20 All-Americans, 14 individual Big Eight Conference champions and led the Cyclones to two Big Eight cross country titles and one AIAW national championship during his tenure. The personable coach was known nationally for his innovative training techniques, many of which tied physical and mental development together. Renko had a knack for taking unknown freshmen runners and turning them into national competitors.
A native of Anoka, Minn., Renko arrived in Ames in 1979 after coaching at Golden Valley (Minn.) Lutheran College from 1974-79. In just his second season as women's track and field and cross country coach (1981), the Cyclones captured the Big Eight title and national championship (AIAW) in cross country. ISU's Dorthe Rasmussen won the individual titles at both the Big Eight and AIAW meets, becoming just the second Cyclone in school history to win an individual cross country national title. Renko's Cyclones won another Big Eight cross country crown in 1983, as Margaret Davis and Suzanne Youngberg finished the season as All-Americans, placing 14th and 29th, respectively, at the NCAA meet to help the Cyclones finish sixth.
One of Renko's top all-time performers was Nawal El Moutawakel. El Moutawakel was brought in by Renko and his staff in 1982 from Casablanca, Morocco. The hurdler had one of the greatest seasons ever for an ISU athlete in 1984, winning the NCAA 400-meter hurdles title and earning All-America honors in the 400-meter dash by placing fourth. She followed her outstanding NCAA performance by winning the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Renko was on hand to watch his star break the Olympic record in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.61.
Heading into the 1985 cross country season, there were low expectations for the Cyclones. ISU failed to make the national meet for the first time in its 10-year history in 1984 and the Cyclones still had a relatively young team for 1985. Renko shocked the cross country world by rallying the Cyclones to one of their most successful seasons. ISU finished first or second in all nine meets during the season, led by freshman Jill Slettedahl and junior Bonnie Sons. The duo finished seventh and eighth, respectively, to help the Cyclones place second at the Big Eight Championship and the pair placed fifth and seventh to pace ISU to the NCAA District V Championship.
Prior to the 1985 NCAA Cross Country meet in Madison, Wis., Renko was extremely proud of his team and was hoping for at least a sixth-place finish for his young Cyclones. ISU exceeded all expectations, with the Cyclones finishing runner-up at the NCAA meet. Sons and Slettedahl were named All-Americans by finishing 25th and 29th, but ISU received outstanding performances from all its runners. Sue Baxter, a freshman from Brentwood, England, finished 32nd, Julie Rose, a junior from Ashford, England, placed 42nd, Sheryl Maahs, a junior from Spirit Lake, Iowa, placed 45th and Tami Colby, a freshman from Boone, Iowa, finished 48th.
Iowa State and Renko were ecstatic with their finish as the team members boarded three Iowa State University owned planes to take them back to Ames. Icy conditions in the Central Iowa area on the evening of Monday, Nov. 25, forced the planes to land in Des Moines rather than Ames. One of the planes, which carried Renko, assistant coach Pat Moynihan, Baxter, Rose, Maahs, student trainer Stephanie Streit and pilot Burton Watkins as passengers, developed problems as it was preparing to land in Des Moines. The plane crashed during the ice storm in a neighborhood two miles from downtown Des Moines, killing all members on board.
The tragic loss of lives stunned the Iowa State community. ISU president Robert Parks ordered that campus flags, including the flag of Great Britain, be flown at half-mast the following Tuesday and scholarship funds were established to honor the victims. On Dec. 4, 1985, more than 5,500 people attended a memorial service at Hilton Coliseum to honor Renko and the crash victims. Ten years later, ISU dedicated a plaque for permanent display at the Iowa State Cross Country Course to fully honor Renko and the crash victims for their dedication to Iowa State University.
Bill Strannigan, Basketball
Bill Strannigan's short tenure as the Iowa State men's basketball coach will be remembered as one of the most prosperous periods in ISU hoops history. Strannigan compiled a five-year mark of 70-45 (60.9) from 1955-59, one of the highest winning percentages in school history, led the Cyclones to their first-ever national ranking and captured ISU's first conference tournament title in school history (1955).
Strannigan, who was born in Dalry, Scotland, in 1918 and raised in Rock Springs, Wyo., started his college coaching career at Colorado State in 1951 after earning All-America honors in basketball at the University of Wyoming. After leading the Rams to the Skyline Conference Championship in 1954, he was hired by Iowa State athletics director and ISU hall-of-famer Louis Menze to replace Clayton Sutherland, who was 6-15 overall and 2-10 in the Big Seven in his final season.
Strannigan, a personable and effervescent personality who was considered a "public relations genius," immediately showed his basketball brilliance, leading ISU to its first winning season in seven years with an 11-10 record. The Cyclones were led by senior Chuck Duncan and a sophomore guard named Gary Thompson, who would become the leader of Strannigan's hard-nosed teams for the next two seasons. Strannigan made a statement in just his second season with the Cyclones, helping ISU become one of the biggest surprises of the 1955-56 campaign. Led by first-team all-Big Seven guard Thompson, the Cyclones broke the school-record for wins in a season (18-5) and finished tied for second (8-4) in the Big Seven, one game behind Kansas State. A victory at No. 8 Vanderbilt and three wins in Kansas City to win the Big Seven Holiday Tournament, ISU's first conference tournament crown, helped propel the Cyclones into the national spotlight. Iowa State appeared in the national rankings for the first time in school history and was ranked No. 19 in the nation in the final International News Service poll.
With virtually all of his top players returning, expectations were riding high in Strannigan's third season (1956-57). Thompson was heralded as one of the best players in all of college basketball and junior forward John Crawford was returning after an outstanding sophomore season in which he averaged 13.5 points and 9.7 rebounds. Crawford was the first African-American basketball player in Iowa State history and joined the Cyclone squad because of Strannigan. ISU jumped out to a 7-0 record and a No. 14 national ranking before losing its first game of the season on a last-second shot (58-57) to top-ranked Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas in the first round of the Big Seven Holiday Tournament. With the loss to KU behind the them, the Cyclones vowed revenge against the Jayhawks when they arrived in Ames on Jan. 14. In arguably the greatest victory in ISU basketball history, the Cyclones defeated No. 1 Kansas 39-37 on a last-second shot from Don Medsker, as Thompson outscored Chamberlain 20-19 and the Cyclones registered their only win against a team ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll. After the landmark victory, a crowd of 300 students converged on campustown and carried cries of "no school tomorrow" to the front lawn of The Knoll, home of ISU President James H. Hilton. The crowd later stormed Lincoln Way, starting a bonfire and cutting off traffic for the rest of the evening.
The win helped ISU achieve its highest ranking in school history (No. 3) and put the ISU basketball program in the national spotlight. ISU ended the season at 16-7 and finished third in the Big Seven (6-6), as Thompson earned first-team All-America honors and Big Seven Player of the Year accolades after averaging 20.7 points per game. Strannigan was picked to coach the West team in the East-West Shrine All-Star game at the conclusion of the 1957 season, where his star pupil Thompson helped his West squad come away with a 64-60 victory.
Strannigan's fourth year (1957-58) with ISU was yet another outstanding season for the Cyclones, as attendance records and sellout crowds were the norm in the Armory. Crawford paced ISU with a 14.1 ppg average, as the Cyclones finished 16-7 overall and 8-4 in the Big Seven, tying for second place for the second time in three seasons. ISU was once again ranked in the top 20 during the season, marking the third-straight year under Strannigan's watch where the Cyclones achieved top-20 status. Crawford was named first-team all-Big Seven for his performance in 1958.
Strannigan had been courted by a number of top schools for his coaching services throughout his five years in Ames, turning all of them down and honoring his commitment to the Cyclone program. However, after the 1959 season ended, the opportunity to coach his alma mater (Wyoming) proved too powerful, and Strannigan packed his bags and moved to Laramie. He coached at Wyoming until retiring after the 1973 season, compiling a 179-187 mark and leading his team to the 1967 NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances (1968 and 1969). He was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1967 and was inducted to the Wyoming Hall of Fame in 1994. Strannigan's three-year run at ISU from 1956-58 still ranks as one of the greatest periods in the history of Cyclone basketball, amassing a 50-19 overall mark, a 22-14 Big Seven record and finishing second, third and second in the tough Big Seven Conference.
Tom Vaughn, Football
Tom Vaughn was among the many backs who starred on the gridiron for Iowa State and head coach Clay Stapleton in the early 1960s. A native of Troy, Ohio, Vaughn was one of the Big Eight Conference's last great two-way players, earning all-conference honors on both offense and defense.
ISU's Iron Man broke out as a junior in 1963 after watching two-time All-American Dave Hoppmann lead the offense the season before. Vaughn averaged 4.2 yards per carry, rushed for 795 yards and scored nine touchdowns while leading ISU to a 4-5 mark. He also picked off two passes on defense while playing almost every minute of every game, which included handling most of the kickoff and punt return duties. Against VMI, Vaughn led the Cyclones to victory with an all-around performance after rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown, returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and intercepting one pass. Vaughn finished second in the Big Eight in rushing to Kansas' Gale Sayers and ranked 11th nationally in yards gained on the ground with 795. Both Vaughn and Sayers were named first-team all-Big Eight running backs as well as All-Americans in 1963. In their head-to-head battle, Vaughn outrushed Sayers 138-81, as the Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks at Kansas 17-14. He also averaged 15.69 yards per punt return in 1963, a mark that still rates second in school history. With Vaughn's All-America recognition from Football News, he became the fifth consecutive Cyclone back to earn All-America honors (Dwight Nichols, 1959; Tom Watkins, 1960; Dave Hoppmann, 1961, 1962).
Vaughn posted solid offensive numbers for a young and inexperienced team as a senior in 1964, rushing for 497 yards and scoring four touchdowns. Vaughn made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball, earning first-team all-Big Eight honors at safety. Vaughn picked off two passes to lead ISU and was the Big Eight's top punt returner for the second consecutive year, averaging 12.0 yards per return. Vaughn earned academic all-Big Eight honors in 1964 and became just the second Cyclone gridder to earn academic All-America recognition. He ended his career as ISU's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (19), kickoff return yardage (25.36) and punt return yardage (13.83). His kickoff and punt return career marks still rank second in school history. His outstanding exploits in the 1964 season earned him invitations to the 1964 Hula Bowl and East-West Shrine game. He was named Iowa State's Athlete of the Year in 1965.
After graduation, Vaughn continued his football career at the next level, getting drafted in the fifth round of the 1965 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. Vaughn enjoyed a successful seven-year career with the Lions, earning the starting position at strong safety in 1967. Along with Lem Barney, Dick LeBeau and Mike Weger, Vaughn would help form one of the NFL's best pass defenses during the late 1960s. He still ranks in the Lions top-10 in both kickoff and punt returns and he intercepted nine passes in his career. In a poll published in 2003, he was voted as one of the top-100 players in Detroit Lions history.
Vaughn hung up his football cleats in 1972 and took a job in private business before getting back into football in 1974, where he was hired as an assistant coach with the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League. Vaughn returned to his alma mater in 1975, assisting Earle Bruce on the Iowa State staff until the 1977 season. As running backs coach, Vaughn helped mentor Cyclone All-American Dexter Green and was a part of back-to-back eight-win seasons in 1976 and 1977. In Vaughn's final year as an assistant, the Cyclones played in the 1977 Peach Bowl.