Thursday, February 18, 2010

Remembering Hilton Magic

Last night, I attended my first game at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa since the early 90's. Back in those days, the Iowa State Cyclones rarely lost a home game.

Coach Johnny Orr was leading the Cyclones then and after one particular game, a beat writer described the Iowa State victory as Hilton Magic. The term would have a long life.

Orr put Iowa State on the basketball map. He would enter Hilton Coliseum to John Carson's Tonight Show theme. Orr would walk all the way to the visiting team's bench and clinch his fists to an adoring crowd. Orr became a celebrity. Orr was a big part of Hilton Magic.

His teams could play too. Visiting teams didn't want to come to Ames to battle Orr, his players or the crowd.

Sadly, Hilton Magic appears gone. People still refer to it, but Hilton Coliseum isn't that scary environment any longer. The last few years under Greg McDermott, visiting teams have racked up some wins. Case-in-point, the Cyclones are a .500 team this season at 13-13.

But thanks for the memories Hilton Magic. It was a magical ride.

What are your favorite Hilton Magic moments?

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