Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Special Day in Ames, Iowa

The bad news was No. 3 Kansas beat a scrappy Iowa State squad last night in Ames.

The good news was Iowa State honored legendary basketball coach Johnny Orr yesterday. Orr receives the credit for putting Cyclone basketball on the map in the 80s and 90s.

Iowa State unveiled a lifelike statue of Orr during a ceremony at Hilton Coliseum. The statue sits inside Hilton Coliseum along with displays of Orr’s teams and accomplishments. There is also a bar for Iowa State donors in the same area.

I watched the ceremony online and it brought back fond memories of my time at Iowa State during the Orr years. Hilton Coliseum was one rocking place then.

The 83-year-old Orr was vintage Orr during his remarks with one exception. He became emotional when he thanked Iowa State for the honor and his time as Cyclone coach. Then he returned to his usual barbs that endeared Johnny to Iowa State fans.

He said that when he is dead, people cannot get rid of him now because he has a statue. He told current coach Fred Hoiberg (a former Orr player) that Kansas great Danny Manny never won a game in Hilton Coliseum. Talk about putting some pressure on the former pupil when Hoiberg battled Kansas that same night.

It was also great to see Orr’s wife with him. She has experienced major health challenges in recent years.

Johnny Orr loves people. Iowa State showed yesterday how much it loves Johnny Orr.

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