Among the several retired jerseys and accomplishments draped from the roof of Hilton Coliseum is a certain seemingly insignificant banner that brings little attention to itself. While the flashy jerseys of Thompson, Grayer, Hornacek and Hoiberg draw immediate attention to the eye, this banner has a small symbol and a simple saying. The multitude of cardinal and gold signs that document the successes in basketball and wrestling is enough to make your jaw drop; even the picture of the fist-pumping Johnny Orr gives Hilton Magic a little extra flavor. But this banner is different. It doesn't need to be flashy. It is like the Marvin Harrison of banners, substance over style. Along side an unimpressive silver microphone is this simple statement, "Pete Taylor…..Voice of the Cyclones."
And then it hits you like a ton of
bricks, it has already been three years since Pete untimely passed away and his
voice silenced at the young age of 57. In March of 2003 the terrible news of
Pete's passing sent shockwaves through the Cyclone Nation. I still get a little
choked up when I think about it. On the same day of his death,
I asked BJ Schaben about having to broadcast the game in those circumstances and he called it, "The toughest day of my life." At the start of the game, not even Schaben or then TV voice of the Cyclones, John Walters, could hold back the emotions. The Hilton faithful were struggling themselves. It was tough to find the strength to cheer that night. For millions of Cyclone fans, it was as if they just lost one of their best buddies.
Pete Taylor was the
For many Iowans, Pete was one of
the only reasons to pay attention to Cyclone athletics. I still remember listening to some of
the beat-downs given to the ISU football team at the hands of
He also made the victories taste even sweeter; listening to him was like being at the game with a close friend. Some of my favorite memories growing up were of sitting next to the radio with my dad and listening to Pete. Very few people have the ability to make you feel like you know them just through their voice on the radio.
He was warm, but at the same time
said what came to his mind. During one intense basketball game at
He made ISU athletics fun. And in the end, despite the passion to win and the negativity that often follows, having fun is the reason we all became fans.
His call of the Seneca Wallace run will resonate for decades to come. "Here's Wallace pumping, looking, running to his right, looking and he's going to be almost caught; now he's running at the 25 and runs down the sideline back to the 10! Now he's giving ground, goes around the 10 to the left side to the 5, TOUCHDOWN!!! Oh, my goodness what a run by Wallace!"
So sits his banner, unassuming but powerful. Just by observing his name etched in cloth makes the great memories come alive. While at Hilton, listen closely and you can still hear his voice echo through the rafters, "Tinsley over to Fizer, Fizer in traffic, takes it in and stuffs it over Mihm! Oh, what a move by Marcus Fizer! "…. "Sullivan a mile out, GOOD! Oh, my word what a shot!"