Shuey’s Passion Is Statistics

Shuey, Steve in press box

You probably perused the box scores in the paper when you were a kid. You likely go online to check the stats now. Knowing the stats of your favorite football players and teams have always been a part of the fan experience.

Compiling statistics in any sport is a tireless and thankless job that has to be done with the utmost accuracy. You can be sure if Iowa State is hosting the event, the final official statistic sheet will be one of the most important documents disseminated.

That’s because Steve Shuey is holding the binoculars from the second level of the press tower.

Shuey took his familiar spot in the press box on Saturday for the 36th season in a row as a member of the ISU stat crew, calling the plays in a prompt, accurate manner.

Since 1979, Shuey has calculated stats for Iowa State football and men’s basketball teams. His service in the ISU football press box spans five decades and ranks as the 22nd-longest current streak in FBS.

Shuey watches a different game than the casual fan. He can’t get caught up in the excitement or disappointment of events during a game. His concentration level must be at its peak.

But don’t underestimate Shuey’s love and passion for ISU athletics. It’s what brings him back every season.

“That is basically why I do this,” said Shuey. “I’m not in it for the money. I’m not in it for the glory. I want to do it because I love Iowa State University. I want to give back to the university. The people I’ve been involved with have just been great, second to none. The ISU Athletics Communications staff has always treated me very fair. I’ve just met a lot of great people in doing it.”

You can basically say Shuey has seen it all. He’s only missed five home football games in his long tenure on the crew. Do you remember Troy Davis’ school-record 378-yard rushing game vs. Missouri in 1996? Shuey was the guy tallying each yard and carry the All-American made that day.

Do you recall Chris Moore’s 27-tackle game vs. Oklahoma in 1986? Shuey does. He made sure Moore was credited with every stop that day.

He has a lot of fond memories calling games.

“The Oklahoma State game (2011) ranks right up there,” Shuey said. “Everybody knows what a big win that was for us. Even though I’m watching and statting the game, I’m excited for Iowa State when they win those types of games. The Iowa game that same year was also pretty special. Those were great games. You have to maintain your focus on those types of games. Those are the type of games you really have to maintain and really dig deep inside of you to make sure you stay concentrated.”

Steve Shuey is in his 36th season compiling statistics for Iowa State football games.

Steve Shuey is in his 36th season compiling statistics for Iowa State football games.

Shuey cherished every moment covering the exploits of All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up running back Davis. With each record-breaking yard the Cyclone legend racked up, Shuey was the one recording it.

“I took a lot of pride in watching Troy,” Shuey said. “I would read in the paper the next day that he ran 20 times for X amount of yards. I called that. I called every yard. A lot of people don’t understand that Troy may have only have gained six inches on a carry, but if it moved to the other side of the line, he got credited for a yard. You think back over time – how many of those did he actually have? I know he did have some of those. Those are very crucial. He was a special talent.”

Shuey got his start in the stat racket when his father, Ken, asked him to join the crew when they were shorthanded one game. Ken Shuey began keeping stats for Cyclone football in the 1950s. Steve tagged along with his father for many of those early seasons and noticed he possessed the same passion.

Ken stepped down as the leader of the stat crew in 1998 and Steve took over.

Like in most professions, technology has changed the way people perform their tasks. When Shuey first started, stats were all calculated by hand and then added up on a final sheet of paper. Now it’s all done through a computer software program.

“Definitely with the computer, everything has gotten a lot easier for us,” said Shuey. “The computer has helped everything out.  When we did it manually we had a person keeping each team. We had one guy making chicken scratches and adding numbers. Everything had to be added up at the end of the game. What we can kick out now in about two minutes took us probably 45 minutes to an hour when we did it by hand.”

Shuey’s staff also used to have to compile averages postgame. Not anymore.

“Now when you enter plays into the computer it automatically tells you that number 10 had X amount of passes for X amount of yards,” Shuey said. “Back in the day, we had a tally sheet that we formed over the years where you put down the number of yards for a running total so we could keep track of it. Now, you enter it in the computer and it gives the average.”

Shuey will call each play how he sees it to his partner, Rich Pope, who types Shuey’s signals into the computer. Both have to be well-versed with the rules of college football. Sometimes coaching staffs won’t agree with the final box score, but Shuey is usually correct.

“I remember the Texas Tech game in 2002 when Kliff Kingsbury was breaking all of the passing records,” Shuey said. “Their offense ran a lot of short backward passes. According to the statistic manual, a backward pass is considered a rush and not a pass attempt. We had nine or 10 in question and Tech called us on it. We went back and looked at the film and we had made the correct calls.”

Shuey doesn’t have a lot rituals, but he likes to good night sleep before the game. His job his tense and needs much attention to detail.

He watches each play closely. Falling behind is not an option.

“You learn over the years that you do not cheer outside, you cheer inside your body,” Shuey said. “You have to stay and commit yourself to being focused 100 percent of the time. You just can’t take a down off and you can’t afford to fall behind, or you won’t be able to catch up.”

Shuey has perfected his craft through the years. Many box scores compiled after games are filled with errors. Though Shuey and his crew would be the first to tell you they aren’t perfect, they no doubt rank as one of the best stat crews in the business. There is no argument.

Shuey’s reputation is so impeccable his services are often requested by outside entities to serve as a statistician. He’s worked at numerous Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships as the lead statistician.

Joni Lehmann, the Big 12’s Associate Director of Communications, understands the importance of an excellent stat crew.

“Steve has been a valuable asset to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship for many years as a member of the Iowa State stat crew,” Lehmann said. “He is extremely efficient and takes pride in making sure everything is accurate. If there are ever any issues, I don’t hear about them as Steve and the rest of the crew take care of getting them corrected on their own.”

Shuey, who is employed at Munn Lumber for his day job, works the games strictly as a volunteer. His only compensation is season tickets for his family.

This is all fine with Shuey. He feels lucky to have the opportunity to serve the school he loves.

“I’m very honored to be a member of ISU’s stat crew,” said Shuey. “I just really love doing it.”





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40th Season of Jack Trice Stadium

College Football

This year marks the 40th season of Jack Trice Stadium. The stadium has provided Iowa State fans with many memorable moments since its first game on Sept. 20, 1975.

Picking the top-five Iowa State victories in JTS history is a difficult task, and very subjective to say the least. Listed below is my brave attempt to rate the top-five wins in the history of the stadium.

You may or may not agree, but here you go….

Photo 11

5. Iowa State 44, Iowa 41 (3 OT)- Sept. 10, 2011
Both teams weren’t ranked, but for pure entertainment value, Iowa State’s 44-41 triple overtime victory vs. Iowa in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series was one of most exciting games in Jack Trice Stadium history. The Cyclones came from behind on three different occasions in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, as the victory was sealed on James White’s four-yard TD run in the third overtime. ISU QB Steele Jantz had the game of his life, completing 25-of-37 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns. Down 24-17 with 5:40 left in regulation, Jantz engineered a 13-play, 59-yard drive to force overtime and keep the Cyclones’ hopes alive. Twice in the drive, Jantz converted improbable third-and-long situations to keep the chains moving. The first on a 19-yard pass to Darius Reynolds on 3rd-and-15 and the second on a 40-yard pass to Reynolds on 3rd-and-20.

“I don’t have trouble finding words very often. I had trouble in the locker room and am having trouble right now because of the unbelievable performance, not just by one team but by two teams out there. Our football team overcame unbelievable adversity today.”
– Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads

photo 33

4. Iowa State 36, No. 20 Nebraska 14- Sept. 28, 2002
Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace completed 19-of-32 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores as the Cyclone defense held No. 20 Nebraska to 81 yards rushing for ISU’s biggest win over the Huskers since 1899. Wallace received help from running back Michael Wagner and receiver Lane Danielsen. Wagner gained 107 yards on just 19 carries and Danielsen tallied 111 yards through the air on nine catches. The win marked ISU’s first against a ranked opponent since 1993.

“We wanted to go out there and cut down mistakes. We were trying to keep the ball moving and score some points. We are focusing on playing to win and putting Iowa State football on the map.”
– Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace

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3. Iowa State 37, No. 9 Nebraska 28- Nov. 13, 1976
In one of the biggest wins in Cyclone history, Iowa State downed No. 9 Nebraska, 37-28 in front of 50,781 fans. It was the first win vs. Nebraska since 1960 and the Cyclones did it in exciting fashion. In a game marked with a number of outstanding plays, none was bigger than Luther Blue’s 95-yard kickoff return that gave the Cyclones a 17-7 lead. Sophomore running back Dexter Green rushed for 109 yards and two TDs and the ISU defense minimized the vaunted Husker rushing attack to just 77 yards on the ground.

“Jiminy Christmas! We held them to 77 yards rushing! That’s a helluva defensive effort. This is the high point of my career and the greatest thing that’s happened to Iowa State and Iowa State football. I’ve been telling people we have great football players. Luther Blue is a super player. And I’ll tell ya, Dexter Green’s not so bad either.”
– Iowa State head coach Earle Bruce

photo 22

2. Iowa State 19, No. 7 Nebraska 10- Nov. 14, 1992
On a crisp November afternoon in 1992, Iowa State stunned the football nation by posting one of the biggest upsets in college football that season with a 19-10 win over No. 7 Nebraska. The story of the game was defense and third string quarterback Marv Seiler. The Cyclones held the Huskers to 246 yards of total offense, 225 yards less than their season average. While the Cyclone defense was stopping the Husker offense, Seiler was instantly becoming a legend among the Cyclone faithful. The seldom-used fifth-year senior carved the Husker defense with 144 yards on 24 carries. His 78-yard run set up Iowa State’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive and his brilliant manipulation of the triple-option controlled the clock and moved the chains the rest of the way.

“I’m not very fast. But I’m a lot faster when people are chasing me.”
– Iowa State quarterback Marv Seiler

College Football

1. Iowa State 37, No. 2 Oklahoma State 31 (2 OT)- Nov. 18, 2011
Really no argument on this one, right? Iowa State turned the college football world upside down with a 37-31 double overtime victory over No. 2 Oklahoma State, its biggest win in school history. The win knocked the Cowboys out of national championship contention, as the Cyclones made an improbable comeback, erasing a 17-point second-half deficit. Jeff Woody sealed the win with a four-yard touchdown run, but the play of the game was Ter’Ran Benton’s interception after Jake Knott tipped a Brandon Weeden pass in OSU’s possession in the second overtime. What made the win even more remarkable is that it was accomplished with a reserve freshman quarterback, Jared Barnett, running the offense. Barnett passed for 376 yards, the sixth-best output in school history. The Cyclones churned out 568 yards of total offense, the 12th-best total in school history.

“We’ve got a blue collar football team. We got a group of young men that put their hard hats on every day and just continue to go to work. I could not be prouder of the effort they put out tonight. It was a complete team effort and that is what we needed for victory and that is what we delivered.”
– Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads

Bubbling Under….

These games didn’t make my cut, but you could certainly make a strong argument to include them.

Iowa State 23, No. 8 Iowa 3 – Sept. 10, 2005
Iowa State totally dominated its in-state rival Iowa, ranked eighth nationally, in the 2005 edition of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

Iowa State 34, No. 8 Missouri 13 – Oct. 17, 1981
Behind the powerful legs of All-American back Dwayne Crutchfield, Iowa State routed No. 8 Missouri. Crutchfield had three touchdowns and 98 yards in the win, as the Cyclones moved into the national rankings the following week.

Iowa State 31, Texas Tech 17 – Oct. 12, 2002
Seneca Wallace. “The Run.” Makes the list purely on one of the most amazing plays ever witnessed in Jack Trice Stadium history.

Iowa State 15, No. 7 Oklahoma State 10 – Nov. 23, 1985
It was brutally cold (22 degrees at kickoff), but the Cyclones came ready to play in a win over the seventh-ranked Cowboys. ISU held future NFL Hall-of-Famer Thurman Thomas, the nation’s second-leading rusher at the time, to just 54 yards on the ground and the Cowboys to just 47 total rushing yards.

Iowa State 15, Iowa 13 – Sept. 15, 2007
The “Shaggy Game.” Any victory decided on the last play of the game is sweet, especially if it’s against your in-state rival. Senior kicker Bret “Shaggy” Culbertson accounted for all 15 Iowa State points on a school-record-tying five field goals. Culbertson’s 28-yarder with one tick left propelled the Cyclones to the huge upset.

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Iowa State-Stanford a Match of Great Setting Schools

Iowa State setter Suzanne Horner will make her official ISU debut Friday night against Stanford.

Iowa State setter Suzanne Horner will make her official ISU debut Friday night against Stanford.

Programs in many sports get reputations for producing many elite level student-athletes at particular positions. At Iowa State, the position that has stood out has been libero as ISU’s libero’s have earned an AVCA All-America honor and the Big 12 Libero of the Year award the last six years (#LiberoU). Another position that has stood out at Iowa State has been the setter, as head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch has used her background as an All-American and national championship winning setter to help build the Iowa State program.

Friday’s match between Iowa State and No. 3 Stanford is intriguing because it features two of the best setting coaches in the country in Johnson-Lynch and Stanford’s head coach John Dunning.

Kaylee Manns (6) was one of the student-athletes in which ISU's volleyball success built its foundation upon.

Kaylee Manns (6) was one of the student-athletes in which ISU’s volleyball success built its foundation upon.

The foundation of the turnaround of Iowa State volleyball in Johnson-Lynch’s first nine seasons at Iowa State has been the setter and libero positions. It is easier for struggling programs to quickly find high-quality student-athletes at setter and libero because each team has one and very few rotate at either position. If you want to play, you have to find schools. By bringing in Johnson-Lynch, the setter for Nebraska’s 1995 National Championship squad, the Cyclones had a great setting coach and name in the volleyball community to sell to recruits.

In Johnson-Lynch’s tenure, Iowa State has already produced two multiple-time All-America setters in Kaylee Manns and Alison Landwehr. Manns was one of the foundation players for the rise of Iowa State volleyball, and a face for the early days of Cyclone success from 2006-09. Landwehr was a fruits of the labor kind of player, a high-level setter out of high school that the pre-Kaylee Manns ISU would have probably not had a shot at, but the Cyclones were able to get in on now. Then there was the success ISU experienced with Landwehr at the helm, a Regional Final and a Regional Semifinal as she earned AVCA First Team All-America honors in 2011. Suzanne Horner will be taking the reins of the Iowa State offense in 2014, and Johnson-Lynch has already liked what she has seen out of the sophomore transfer.

Alison Landwehr became Iowa State's first AVCA First Team All-American setter under Christy Johnson-Lynch.

Alison Landwehr became Iowa State’s first AVCA First Team All-American setter under Christy Johnson-Lynch.

As for John Dunning of Stanford, in his over 30 years of head coaching work at the collegiate level with Stanford and, previously, Pacific, he has had seven setters earn All-America honors. At Pacific, where he guided the Tigers to the 1985 and 1986 NCAA titles, Dunning inherited a great setting school as the Tigers had just had three-time First Team All-American Jan Saunders graduate the year before he arrived. Dunning’s first two setters, Liz Hert and Melanie Beckenhauer were both two-time All-Americans. Near the end of his Pacific run in the mid-1990s, Dunning produced another two All-America setters in Sacha Caldemeyer and Kara Gormsen.

When Dunning went to Stanford in 2001, he inherited another great setting school with multiple All-America setters in its history. Interestingly, it was not until after he had won his two national titles at Stanford, in 2001 and 2004, that he had his first All-America setter with the Cardinal in Bryn Kehoe in 2005. After earning three All-America honors for Kehoe, it was Cassidy Litchman who earned two All-America honors running the Stanford offense. Last season was Stanford’s latest All-America setter in Madi Bugg, who earned Second Team honors. Bugg will be at Hilton Coliseum Friday night running the Cardinal offense.

The value of a great setter cannot be understated. While it is possible to win a national title without a great one, it is very difficult. The theme of the end of the college volleyball season last year was the value of the setter. A lot of credit for Penn State’s national title went to their First Team All-America setter Micha Hancock, who was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and Wisconsin was carried to the national title match by a stud freshman setter in Lauren Carlini.

So when you are at Hilton Coliseum on Friday night (buy your tickets here), and you are impressed by the outstanding play of the setters for both squads, give the credit to the coaches who value having great setters in their programs.

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Cyclones Elevate Status With Training Facility Renovations

The Iowa State track and cross country program took yet another step in creating one of the nation’s elite training environments this summer, completing the irrigation of its championship-caliber cross country course.

The Iowa State Cross Country Course, first constructed in 1995, was the first facility in the nation designed exclusively for competitive cross country racing. Several cross country-only courses around the nation have been developed since its establishment, including Wisconsin’s Thomas Zimmer Championship Course, the Oklahoma State Cross Country Course and Indiana State’s LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

A look at one of the sprinklers near the finish line of the ISU Cross Country Course.

A look at one of the sprinklers at the ISU Cross Country Course.

The Cyclones are ahead of the curve again, adding an irrigation system throughout the course. The facility spans an area of 212,000 square meters (approx. 52 acres) and incorporates pop-up sprinklers across its 4K, 6K, 8K and 10K courses. The system makes the venue the NCAA’s lone fully-irrigated, cross country-only course.

The renovation features an upgraded home stretch and finish line area. The final 400-meter straightaway is a well-tended sprint to the finish with a chain-link fence barrier between the fans and the course. The finish line is marked by a brick-pillar, iron-trellised arbor. The course upgrades also include a 1600-meter, soft-surface training loop located at the center of the facility.

The Iowa State cross country course has been home to two Big 12 Championships (1996, 98), two NCAA Midwest Regional Championships (1997, 2013) and two NCAA Championships (1995, 2000). The course is also the slated venue of the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional and will likely play host to the Big 12 Championships in the near future, having not hosted the event since 2008. The irrigation and finish-line project totals a $500,000 investment into the program’s future.

The overhaul at the cross country course is one of several recent renovations the track and cross country program has seen in the past few years. The Cyclone Sports Complex opened in the fall of 2012, providing a top-notch outdoor track. The track includes 4 long-jump runways and two pole-vault areas to go with over 150,000 square feet of throws space.

The finish line drew lots of traffic on social media, including a shoutout from Gary Wilson, executive director of the Roy Griak Invitational.

The finish line drew lots of traffic on social media, including a shoutout from Gary Wilson, executive director of the Roy Griak Invitational.

The Bill and Karen Bergan Track is a part of the $13-million Cyclone Sports Complex, home to ISU softball, soccer and track and field, and is set to host the 2015 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships this spring.

The Cyclones spend the winter months training at one of the nation’s top indoor facilities in the Lied Recreation-Athletic Center and Harry Hoak Track. The Lied Recreation Center is complete with a 300-meter track, throws space and a turf surface spanning over 3,000 square meters.

The Harry Hoak Track was resurfaced in 2013 and plays host to two meets on an annual basis in the ISU Classic and the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships. The ISU Classic is one of the nation’s premier NCAA-qualifying events, accounting for over 15% of the 2014 NCAA-Championship field across men’s and women’s middle-distance and distance events. The $13-million facility has been home to the conference championships six times and is set for a seventh this upcoming February.

The newly-renovated track locker rooms are complete with individual, wooden-locker space and two televisions. The rec center is also home to training areas to Iowa State wrestling, who shares a recovery area that includes a sauna and ice bath.

Around the nation, many programs can showcase one or two of the indoor/outdoor/cross country facilities, but only a select few boast the championship-level trifecta like the Cyclones.

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2014-15 MBB Schedule Wallpapers

Be ready for the 2014-15 season and give your desktop some flare with these desktop wallpapers, which were created by Alexis Zaborac, a sophomore graphic design student in the ISU Athletics Communications department.

Men's Schedule7 Men's Schedule8 Men's Schedule9 Men's Schedule10 Men's Schedule11 Men's Schedule12

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Cooper Excited For ISU Hall of Fame Induction

John Cooper- D30 reunion 3

Legendary football coach John Cooper has been inducted into so many hall of fames throughout his incredible coaching career, you can pardon him if he loses track. Cooper, who won 192 games and nine conference titles in 24 years as a head coach, can boast being a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, the Tulsa Athletics Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame just to name a few.

Well, you can add another one to his list, and it’s an honor Cooper ranks right at the top.

In February, the ISU Letterwinners Club announced its 2014 inductees to its Athletics Hall of Fame, and the former Cyclone, who lettered three years in football, was a member of the famed 1959 “Dirty Thirty” squad and team captain in 1961, was on the list.

Cooper is excited to return to Ames for the prestigious honor.

“Well, this is quite an honor for me,” Cooper said. “It’s something I look forward to. I’m in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Ohio State Hall of Fame, but the Iowa State Hall of Fame, that’s where it all started.”

A native of Heiskell, Tenn., Cooper spent a brief period in the military before arriving at Iowa State in 1958. In his first season of eligibility in the fall of 1959, he was a part of one of ISU’s most iconic teams in the “Dirty Thirty.”

The team was led by its head coach Clay Stapleton, who took a depleted, rag-tag team and directed them to a win away from an Orange Bowl berth.

Behind All-Americans Dwight Nichols and Tom Watkins, the 1959 Cyclones finished at 7-3 and ranked among the top offensive teams nationally.

Cooper is extremely proud of being a member of one the school’s most famous teams.

“Coach Stapleton ran one of those programs similar to what Bear Bryant did in Junction, Texas, if you are familiar with that,” Cooper said. “We had a lot of players that didn’t make it. That’s how we ended up with only 30 players. Dwight Nichols is probably the toughest player, pound-for-pound, that I have ever been around in my life. Tom Watkins was a great player. I was a proud member of the “Dirty Thirty.” Boy, those were tough times. You had to be dedicated and love the game of football to play it back in those days. After we got rolling and got the name “Dirty Thirty” that got tagged with us we kept getting better and better and better.”

Cooper continued to have a successful career with the Cyclones. In his junior season in 1960, the team again finished 7-3 and defeated Oklahoma (10-6) for the first time since 1931 where he received the game ball. It’s still prominently displayed among his plethora of football artifacts he’s accumulated in his career.

Cooper, John237

Cooper credits Stapleton, who was inducted into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, for much of his football passion and for giving him his first crack at coaching.

“Everything that I was taught as a coach, I learned from playing under Coach Stapleton and Tommy Prothro (Oregon State, UCLA),” said Cooper. “After my senior season I went to Coach Stapleton to ask if he could help me get into coaching and he told me, ‘John, I think you would make a hell of a coach. I want you to stay here at Iowa State and coach my freshmen team next year.’ He told me he couldn’t pay me, but could stay as the freshman coach. I told him I would take it under one circumstance, and that was that you treat me like a coach and let me sit in on your meetings and learn football. He said that was fine, and after a year he got me on Prothro’s staff at Oregon State.”

Without a doubt, Cooper ranks as one of the most influential football coaches in the last 40 years. He was a winner everywhere he was at, including stops at Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State.

He won a Rose Bowl at both Arizona State and Ohio State, and led the Buckeyes to three Big Ten Championships.

Cooper has mentored countless assistants who later became outstanding college coaches. Names like Larry Coker, Lovie Smith and Rob Ryan were all on Cooper’s staff at one time during his career. Another coach familiar to Iowa State fans was a Cooper protégé’: Paul Rhoads.

In 1991, Cooper hired Rhoads as a graduate assistant at Ohio State. When asked if he saw potential in the young coach of being a leader of a college football program, there was no hesitation in his voice.

“I have been blessed with a lot of good assistants and you could tell Paul had it,” Cooper said. “He worked hard and was dedicated. You never know where your assistants eventually end up, but I knew because Paul had the work ethic and the dedication that someday he was going to be successful.”

Despite his enormous success at other schools, Cooper always kept close tabs at his alma mater. He readily admits he pursued the ISU head coaching job on two occasions.

“I was an assistant at Kansas when the job opened in 1967 and I called Coach Stapleton (ISU’s athletics director at the time) to see if I would be considered for the job and he said they had to hire a name coach,” Cooper remembered. “So, Coach Stapleton hired Johnny Majors. I’m very good friends with Johnny Majors, and he made the right hire.”

Another opportunity arose in 1979.

“I thought I had the job there when Earle Bruce left and Lou McCullough, my assistant coach at Iowa State, was the athletic director,” said Cooper. “I went up and talked to him. I just didn’t feel comfortable at that point working for a guy that coached me. He sort of still referred to me as a player. I wasn’t a player. I was a coach. But anyway, I didn’t get the job and they hired Donnie Duncan. A few years later Max Urick (ISU’s athletics director from 1982-93) calls me and tells me he is a one-man committee and he wanted me to become the coach at Iowa State after Duncan left (1982). I was at Arizona State and I wasn’t ready to go. I wasn’t ready to leave where I was to be honest with you. So a couple different times I tried to get the coaching job, but didn’t get it. One time I at least got offered the coaching job, but I didn’t take it.”

Cooper has no regrets in his career, and he shouldn’t. His record and achievements prove that. He now looks forward to coming back to his roots on Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 5-6.

What will make the event even more special for Cooper is that he gets the chance to reminisce with his wife of 57 years, Helen, who married her high school sweetheart and moved to Ames with him in 1958.

The couple lived in married student housing (Pammel Court) during their time in Ames. Helen worked in the ISU purchasing department while John was busy with football and his schooling.

“The best thing I ever did in my life was marry Helen,” Cooper said. “It’s going to be a special weekend for us.”

The 2014 Iowa State Hall of Fame Class:

For information on how to attend the 2014 ISU Letterwinners Club Hall of Fame ceremony, go to:

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Dejean-Jones The Right Fit

Bryce Dejean-Jones

One thing about Bryce Dejean-Jones is certain. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to fit in.

Dejean-Jones arrived at Iowa State in mid-July after finishing up his classwork at UNLV, where he led the Rebels last season averaging 13.6 points per game. Dejean-Jones arrived at ISU a few weeks ahead of when he needed to, looking to get to know his teammates better.

“I’m excited to be here,” Dejean-Jones said. “It has been great getting to meet the guys and getting to know them better. I’m ready to work hard and spend all day, every day in the gym. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”

The explosive wing, who was listed at 6-5 at UNLV but was recently measured at 6-6 by ISU strength coach Andrew Moser, has Cyclone fans dreaming of DeAndre Kane 2.0. Dejean-Jones knows the history of transfers under Fred Hoiberg is rich, and he hopes to leave his own mark.

“DeAndre Kane came here and did what he did, much like the other guys before him,” Dejean-Jones said. “I am looking to create my own path, make my own situation as good as possible.”

Take caution when comparing Dejean-Jones to his predecessor. Kane was one of the most complete players in the nation, averaging 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He played with the ball in his hands more than Dejean-Jones will probably be expected to.

From all indications Dejean-Jones likely boasts more bounce than Kane, and he arrives at Iowa State as a better shooter on the perimeter, percentage-wise anyway, than last year’s Big 12 Newcomer of the Year was at Marshall.

Dejean-Jones is a career 33.8 percent 3-point shooter and his athletic ability is second to none on the perimeter according to his new coach.

“By watching Bryce on film I can tell that he is going to be our best athlete on the perimeter,” Hoiberg said. “He can really get up and down the floor and is a high flyer. Bryce possesses a really nice shooting touch as well.”

If previous history is any indication, Dejean-Jones’ career numbers will likely improve under Hoiberg. But that isn’t what attracted him to the program.

“I think for me it was the way he [Hoiberg] gets guys to play together,” Dejean-Jones said. “It is great to watch them on the floor together. It seems like they are having a good time playing. The way they move the ball around, everyone on the court is contributing.”

Awards and honors are nice. But if you talk to Dejean-Jones it is easy to see he just loves the game.

“I just love being able to wake up every day, come out to the gym and produce,” Dejean-Jones said. “I love getting better at a game I’ve loved to play since I was a little kid.”

Dejean-Jones’ expectations for the next year hinge on one thing. Hard work.

“I want to accomplish whatever we can by working hard,” Dejean-Jones said. “Whatever that is I can live with as long as we work hard. We have a lot of great guys on the team from the big men to the guards. It is exciting to me to see such great competition every time we are on the court.”

It is that team-first mentality that has made Hoiberg’s teams so successful in his first four seasons, and he believes Dejean-Jones will fit in just fine.

“The biggest thing we need to do with Bryce is fit him into what we want to do,” Hoiberg said. “From all the conversations I’ve had with Bryce, he’s very willing to buy into what we are trying to do.”

About Dejean-Jones
Height: 6-6
Weight: 210
2013-14 Stats: 13.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 rpg, 42.7 FG%, 32.3 3FG%, 64.3 FT%

Check it out: Highlights from his 2013-14 season at UNLV.

Did you know: Dejean-Jones is the fourth player in three years to join the Cyclones after leading his previous team in scoring (Will Clyburn, DeAndre Kane, Abdel Nader).

Quoting: “Bryce has so much bounce. You look at his Twitter picture and half his arm is above the rim. He got a dunk when he was here that shocked me. He can go off the dribble and shoot the ball. We are looking for big things from Bryce.” – Monté Morris in May interview with Cyclone Sidebar.

Follow Shoultz on Twitter: @mjshoultz

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