The Life And Times Of Tim Van Galder

Van Galder, Tim_2

Former Iowa State quarterback Tim Van Galder has a fascinating story to tell.

Van Galder is a man who can claim his college football team scrapped its traditional offensive schemes for his immense talents, ultimately etching his name into the Iowa State and Big Eight record books.

He’s a man who excelled in two sports while at Iowa State, catching the eye of ISU Hall-of-Famer Cap Timm by chance and subsequently molding him into an all-conference pitcher on the baseball diamond.

He’s also a man who enjoyed a wonderful post-graduate career in professional football and sports broadcasting, rubbing elbows with a slew of American sports icons along the way.

So, who is Tim Van Galder?

For starters, Van Galder is now an Iowa State Athletics Hall-of-Famer. He earned the ultimate achievement bestowed upon his alma mater’s athletics department on April 13 when it was announced he was a member of the six-person Class of 2015.

It was a phone call he wasn’t prepared to receive.

“Wow, it is a tough emotion to describe because I thought my days of being inducted into any kind of Hall of Fame were over,” Van Galder said about receiving the news of his enshrinement. “When I got the call from the senior associate AD (David Harris), I was obviously shocked and I think they must be running out of folks to go back 50 years. But nonetheless, it’s a wonderful honor.”

A Trend-Setter At Iowa State

Van Galder laid the groundwork for his charmed life when the QB enrolled at Iowa State in the Fall of 1963 after a season at New Mexico Military Institute.

The Madison, Wis., native, who was nicknamed “Spider” by his teammates, had a cannon of an arm, but college football in that era was a grounded game where teams sparingly threw the ball and mostly relied on a pounding rushing attack.

ISU was no exception, as Hall-of-Fame football coach Clay Stapleton had molded his squads around the single-wing offense, a formation which featured four-back sets and few passes.

A natural drop-back passer, Van Galder didn’t fit, and the 1964 season was a disaster.

“They (Iowa State) threw an average of 2-4 times a game and were just a running football team, just like the entire Big Eight Conference was,” Van Galder remembered.  “We didn’t throw it a ton. As an example, in 1964 there wasn’t one drop-back pass in the entire offense. Everything was roll-out or sprint-out. In high school, all I did was drop-back. My sophomore year I was pretty much lost and my statistics I think back that up. I was pretty much last in the conference in every category.”

Changes were coming in the off-season. Stapleton saw talent in his strong-armed signal-caller and decided to start passing the ball more.

Ditching his old schemes, Stapleton geared his offense toward the arm of Van Galder. A star began to shine in 1965.

“He (Stapleton) basically did change the offense for me,” Van Galder said. “When this new coach came in my sophomore year (Tommy Steigleder), he convinced Stapleton to alter the whole offense to a drop-back offense, and that’s what I had been used to. That’s when instead of throwing 3-5 times a game, we started throwing 15-20 times a game.”

Flanked by a pair of outstanding receivers in All-Big Eight performer and future NFL star Eppie Barney and Tom Busch, Van Galder posted record-setting numbers. He led the Big Eight in both passing (1,418) and total offense.

Having a target like Barney to throw to certainly helped Van Galder and the Cyclones. ISU finished 5-4-1 and was in consideration for its first ever bowl bid until falling at New Mexico, 10-9 in the season finale.

“In my sophomore year, he (Barney) was a defensive back,” Van Galder said. “In my junior year, they moved him to wide receiver, which was a hell of a break for me and obviously panned out. He could really fly and he could catch the ball and was fun to play with. He was a great guy, too.”

“My junior year, I thought we were really competitive,” added Van Galder. “Going into the last game we got upset by New Mexico. Had we won the game, we had a chance to go to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, but, hey, it didn’t work out.”

Van Galder broke virtually every school passing record in his senior season in 1966. He once again led the Big Eight in both passing (1,645) and total offense (1,749), shattering school marks in both categories. His total offense tally eclipsed the Big Eight record and ranked 12th nationally.

In his second-to-last game, Van Galder destroyed ISU’s single-game passing mark by becoming the first Cyclone ever to throw for over 300 yards in a game (335) in a 27-24 loss at Arizona.

He ended his ISU football career by playing in the East-West Shrine Game.

Cyclone Star On The Diamond

Van Galder’s heroics in baseball happened by accident.

During spring football in 1964, Van Galder injured his shoulder. Barely able to lift his arm, he couldn’t bat or field as a member of the freshman baseball team. Instead, he was just regulated to tossing soft throws in batting practice.

The following season, ISU head baseball coach Cap Timm had a transfer third baseman, the position Van Galder played, pegged to take over at the spot. Timm remembered Van Galder’s ability to toss strikes in batting practice.

“Cap told me, ‘Well, I’ve got my third baseman and I saw last spring that you could throw strikes,’” Van Galder recalled. “He told me I could make the team as a pitcher. Low and behold, I started the first game of the season against Kansas State and had a good game. I would practice spring football from Monday through Thursday. On Friday, I would pitch the first game of the double-header and play in the field in the second game. I would then go back to football practice on Saturdays. I only got to play baseball one day a week.”

Timm’s observation was astute. Van Galder was named First-Team All-Big Eight as a pitcher in 1965, ending the season with an impressive 1.57 ERA, six complete games, 45 strikeouts and a 4-3 mark.

“He was the greatest, nicest coach I have ever had in any sport,” Van Galder said about Timm.

Iowa State’s Last No-Hitter

Van Galder played one more season of baseball in 1966 where he will forever be an answer to an Iowa State trivia question. On May 6, 1966, Van Galder became the last Cyclone pitcher to throw a no-hitter, helping the Cyclones defeat Colorado, 4-2.

Van Galder struck out six batters, issued six walks and two runs crossed the plate, but none of them were earned and zero Buffaloes could muster a hit.

“I would make a bad pitch and they would hit it right to somebody,” Van Galder said humbly about the historical game. “There is so much luck in that (throwing a no-hitter).”

Box score from Tim Van Galder's no-hitter.

Box score from Tim Van Galder’s no-hitter.

Moving On To The NFL

Van Galder’s accomplishments on the gridiron attracted interest from many professional teams and was eventually drafted by both the NFL (St. Louis Cardinals) and the AFL (Houston Oilers).

After choosing the NFL, Van Galder spent two seasons on the Cardinals’ practice squad where he was able to take graduate courses at nearby Washington University.

Because of Van Galder’s commitment to the Army’s ROTC program, he had a two-year obligation to fulfill for Uncle Sam. He opted to take a break from his football career.

“When you are in ROTC, normally you take care of your two-year active duty right after you graduate,” Van Galder said. “When I was thinking ROTC, professional football might have been the furthest thing from my mind. After the second year with the Cardinals, I thought I had to get these two years out of the way. So I dropped out of graduate school and went in for two years. I spent one year in Korea and one year in Oklahoma.”

With his Army commitments fulfilled, Van Galder returned to the Cardinals’ practice squad for one more season.

Little did he know he was about to make history again.

Beating Johnny U

Toiling on the practice unit for a number of seasons, Van Galder began to impress the St. Louis coaching staff. His hard work paid off when the former Cyclone earned the starting QB job for the Cardinals as a 28-year-old rookie in 1972.

“You have to remember, I played not a bunch, but in some exhibition games, so I had a little experience,” Van Galder said.

The Cardinals would begin the 1972 campaign on Sept. 17th and their first opponent was going to be formidable. Van Galder would be going head-to-head against one of his childhood heroes in Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts at Memorial Stadium.

Van Galder would navigate the Cardinals to a 10-3 road upset win in the season-opener, completing 10-of-15 passes for 110 yards with zero interceptions.

The win over the Colts shocked the NFL. The Associated Press ran this story following the game.

Tim Van Galder has qualified for the National Football League’s pension plan for football players. It could mean a lot larger pension than the one he’d have gotten if he had remained in the Army.

The 28-year-old rookie- by NFL rules- directed the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-3 upset of the Baltimore Colts Sunday as pro football began its 1972 season.

“Not only was this my first regular season start, it qualified me for the NFL pension,” explained Van Galder, who upstaged one of the game’s old pros, Johnny Unitas. He spent three years on St. Louis’ taxi squad and two years in the Army before getting into a regular season game. – Associated Press

Van Galder was the talk of pro football. He will always remember beating Johnny U.

“It was a little overwhelming because as a kid I watched a Colts game with Unitas the year they won the NFL title in 1958,” said Van Galder. “Now fast-forward 14 years later and I’m going to start against him. I couldn’t believe it. In the first quarter I’m standing next to one of my teammates and I said, ‘You know who’s playing out there? It’s number 19. It’s Johnny U.’ I was like a little kid. It was just so neat. As things turned out, we won the game and that was kind of my 15 minutes of fame.”

Van Galder started the first five games of the Cardinals’ 1972 season, becoming the first of only four players in Iowa State history to start a game at QB in the NFL – David Archer, Sage Rosenfels and Seneca Wallace joined the club later. The Cardinals’ coaching staff opted to hand over the reins to the offense in mid-season to Jim Hart, who remained the team’s starting QB for the next nine seasons.

Van Galder was let go at the end of the season.

“It was my own fault,” Van Galder admitted. “I didn’t say the right things. They were deciding to keep me as a back-up and I didn’t give them what they wanted to hear. I should have told them that I’ll be the best back-up quarterback in the league. I wasn’t smart enough. As it turned out he (Hart) ended up having a hell of a career. No question, one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history. I enjoyed my time with the Cardinals and I tricked them long enough to send me a pension check.”

Van Galder, Tim2Cards

Tim Van Galder started five games at QB for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972.

Broadway Joe

When he was cut by the Cardinals, Van Galder had already begun positioning himself into another career in sports broadcasting. He stayed in St. Louis working with KMOX-TV as a sports anchor beginning in 1973.

However, NFL teams still needed quality QBs, and calls kept coming. The first came from the Cincinnati Bengals where an innovative offensive coordinator named Bill Walsh was starting to perfect his “West Coast” offense.

“I went there for a few weeks, but it didn’t work out,” Van Galder said. “He (Walsh) was a neat guy. He explained everything. When he put in a new play, you understood what he was trying to do. He was great. Anyhow, that didn’t work out so I came back to St. Louis and started doing TV full-time.”

The 1973 season was coming to a close and the New York Jets began to show interest. Joe Namath was out for the season with a separated shoulder and the Jets back-up, Al Woodall, also went down with a knee injury.

The Jets were frantically seeking a back-up for third-string QB Bill Demory until Woodall returned. Enter Tim Van Galder.

“I get a call from the Jets because their quarterbacks were out with a number of injuries,” Van Galder recalled. “Namath was out for the year and Woodall was banged up and going to be out at least three weeks. They needed somebody to backup Bill Demory. I went to my boss at the TV station and got it arranged for me to go to New York to finish off the season.”

Namath, or the aptly-named Broadway Joe for his off-the-field exploits, was one of the most polarizing figures in professional sports at the time. Soon, Van Galder would be thrust into his legendary world.

“The second day I was there, Joe comes up to me and says, ‘Tim, where are you staying?’” Van Galder said. “I was only going to be there three weeks and I told him I was staying at one of the assistant’s apartment. He said, ‘Well hell, you’re more than welcome to stay with me.’ I thought to myself, ‘Me, with Joe Namath?’”

One could only imagine the stories Van Galder has about his three-week stint as roommates with Namath. He offered this one up for us.

“My wife came out to visit me for a few days,” Van Galder said. “I got home one afternoon and we were all shooting the breeze in Joe’s apartment. I asked him where a good spot we could get a bite to eat. He said, ‘Oh, you got to go to this great place on Lexington.’ I said, ‘Great!’”

Not thinking that Namath needed company, Van Galder never imagined to ask him if he wanted to come along. The next moment stunned Van Galder.

“It was so cute and I wish I had a movie of it,” Van Galder remembered. “He was kind of moving his head back and forth and he says, ‘Do you think it would be okay if I came too, if I went to dinner with you two?’ I said, ‘Of course!’ He says, ‘Great, I’ll get a date.’ The next part was just like the movies. He pulls out this little black book and he starts paging through it. He picks up the phone and calls a girl, and I can only hear his end of the conversation, but I remember hearing him say, ‘Yeah, I know I haven’t talked to you in six months.’ We all went out on a double-date and had a great time.”

Van Galder will always cherish the brief bond he made with Namath.

“My God, he couldn’t have been a nicer gentleman,” Van Galder said. “He was the most down to earth, nicest fella you would ever want to meet.”

The NFL ON CBS

Van Galder officially hung up the cleats after the 1973 season and went back to work at KMOX-TV as the sports anchor. He stayed there until the mid-1980s.

As the NFL started to grow in popularity, so did its exposure on national television. NFL television contract revenue began to skyrocket and the demand for broadcasting games followed suit.

CBS owned the rights to NFC games and was seeking color analysts for its broadcasts. CBS zeroed in on Van Galder, who was a perfect choice. He was already working in the profession and he had knowledge of the game.

“I worked two games in 1975, one with Don Criqui and the other with Al Michaels,” Van Galder said.

Van Galder was slated for more games in 1976. His partner that season was a young up-and-coming broadcaster named Bob Costas.

The pair had already formed a friendship the year before. Costas’ first job after graduating from Syracuse was the play-by-play man for the American Basketball Association’s (ABA) St. Louis Spirits on KMOX radio.

KMOX housed both its television and radio departments in the same building.

“His (Costas) very first job out of college was with the Spirits on KMOX,” Van Galder said. “We were in the same building. They were just one floor above. I got to know him really well. My nickname around here was TVG. I nicknamed him, YBC, young Bob Costas. To this day, he’s listed as YBC in my phone.”

Van Galder enjoyed covering NFL games with Costas.

“He’s a great guy and so talented,” Van Galder said. “It was so easy to work with him. My deal was I wasn’t such a big name and I probably wasn’t that great at it either. But, all you are doing is telling folks what they just saw. It’s not science, but it was fun.”

Returning To Ames

Life has settled down for the 70-year-old Van Galder. He certainly has packed in a ton of excitement in his seven decades.

He recently moved back to the town that gave him so many memories in St. Louis. If you want to reach him, try driving by a golf course. That’s where he spends most of his days with his golfing buddies sharing memories of the past.

If he is on the course, don’t try calling him. The phone is left in the car when he’s playing.

Van Galder admits he has returned to Ames on just a few occasions since graduating from Iowa State in 1967.

He will be back for the Hall of Fame ceremony on the weekend of Oct. 16-17. He wouldn’t miss it for the world. In fact, he had already scheduled a trip to Ames that weekend prior to receiving his prestigious honor to reunite with some old friends.

“What is ironic, I was planning on coming back that weekend to hook up with a bunch of fraternity guys,” Van Galder said. “They (Iowa State) are also going to have a 50-year reunion for the 1965 team that same weekend. Wow, it’s going to be neat to see everybody again.”

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Hoop Bits (4-29-15)

Naz Long

Long To Have Second Hip Surgery
Iowa State guard Naz Long will have arthroscopic surgery performed on his right hip on Thursday, May 7. The surgery will replicate the previous procedure that was performed on April 1 on his left hip, alleviating chronic pain that worsened throughout his junior season. The surgery will again be performed by Dr. Bryan Warme at Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames and the recovery time is expected to be 3-5 months.

Iowa State men’s basketball athletic trainer Vic Miller says that Long’s recovery from his first surgery has gone well.

“Naz is ahead of schedule on his recovery from his first surgery on his left hip and our hope is the second hip will respond in the same way,” Miller said. “Naz was so strong going into the first surgery, which always helps in a recovery.”

Long looks forward to getting the surgeries behind him and becoming an even bigger threat on the court.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to where I was and being able to do things from a mobility standpoint that I haven’t been able to do,” Long said. “I’ve been lifting for two weeks now and they tell me I am ahead of schedule. I’ve been blessed with a good body, one that has allowed me to heal faster. I’m excited to get this second surgery behind me.”

Long, a Mississauga, Ontario, native, started 33 of 34 games for the Cyclones in 2014-15. He averaged 10.1 points and hit a team-high 77 three-pointers. Long’s 2.3 three-pointers per game was second among Big 12 players.

Tsalmpouris To Keep Busy This Summer
Georgios Tsalmpouris will keep himself busy when he heads back home to Katerini, Greece following the spring semester. The sophomore will leave Ames on May 9 and hop into a schedule full of hoops.

Tsalmpouris will play for Greece’s U19 and U20 teams this summer.

The U19 FIBA World Championship will be held in Crete, Greece from June 27-July 5. Greece is slated to be in the same pool as the Dominican Republic, Korea and Serbia.

“We are really excited to host a tournament of that caliber,” Tsalmpouris said. “It will be awesome to play in front of our own crowd. It’s always a huge honor to represent your country internationally, and it will be special for us to do it in our country.”

From July 7-19, Tsalmpouris’ focus will shift to the U20 European Championship in Lignano Sabbiadoro, a northern Italy town on the Adriatic Sea coast. Greece will face Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Israel in group play.

Long and Niang Aiming To Make History
When they take the floor for their senior seasons, teammates and roommates Long and Georges Niang will have a chance to become the first Cyclone men’s hoopsters to advance to the NCAA Tournament four times.

Just what would that mean to Niang and Long?

“It means everything to me,” Long said. “Part of the reason I came here was to leave a mark and obviously making tournaments is a big part of that. I want to be remembered as someone that did it the right way and loved wearing the Cardinal and Gold. To do it with Georges, that would mean the world to me. That is my brother. We’ve talked about this from the day we met, we wanted to win championships here at Iowa State and do things that have never been done before.”

Niang says that doing it for Cyclone Nation is what he’s most proud of.

“To be able to make history at any place on your journey is something special,” Niang said. “But for us to be able to do it at a place where you have the full support of the fans is something I will cherish forever.”

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Ronayne Lives Dream at Boston Marathon

Ronayne attacks the Boston Marathon.

Ronayne attacks the Boston Marathon.

What can you accomplish in four days? The answer is quite a bit, with the advances in technology and travel we can do so much more in so much little time than we used to. However, the challenges of balancing professional and personal life means that the bigger goals are tougher to accomplish at the same time. For Iowa State gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne, he accomplished a professional and personal goal all in the space of four days.

Last Friday saw Iowa State gymnast Caitlin Brown compete in her second NCAA Gymnastics Championship. She finished off her Iowa State career strongly, just missing out on the event final on balance beam with a 9.875 and earning second-team All-America honors and recording a 39.175 in the all-around.

Ronayne congratulates Caitlin Brown after her floor exercise routine at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships

Ronayne congratulates Caitlin Brown after her floor exercise routine at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships

For many gymnastics coaches, the end of a team or student-athlete’s season would mean time for some rest from the four-month grind of the season, or get back into recruiting for the future. For Ronayne, he went from Fort Worth to Boston to run in the Boston Marathon.

Ronayne has run multiple marathons in his life, with his running in the 2013 Des Moines Marathon earning him qualification to the Boston Marathon. However, his Des Moines qualifying time came too late to register for 2014, meaning he was off for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

In the time between his qualifying he and wife Mary Ronayne had a major life change that meant a different approach to preparing for the marathon, the birth of his son Jack in January 2014. Balancing time with his son and his gymnastics program meant less time to train for Boston.

“The program I do are four months prior to the race, and that goes right through gymnastics season,” Ronayne said. “I did not train as hard for this one, as I would for others because of gymnastics and my son. I didn’t want to take away from either. I only ran roughly 40 miles a week. At one point, I had run 79 miles per week when training for Des Moines.”

Though Ronayne is a native of the Boston area, he was not born a marathoner. However, like many Bostonians, the watching of the marathon was a yearly tradition for the Ronayne family.

“It is a dream that evolved over life,” Ronayne noted. “When I was a kid, I thought those people were crazy and I would never do it. I was still fascinated by it, my dad was a track guy and we were both interested in it. It is a big deal in Mass. It was not until I was in my 30s that I ran a marathon.”

A dry Jay Ronayne prior to taking on the Boston Marathon.

A dry Jay Ronayne prior to taking on the Boston Marathon.

One of the challenges of the Boston Marathon is the unpredictable weather due to its Northeast geography. There have been many years where Boston has featured temperatures in the 80s, there are many years when there have been near freezing temperatures. Ronayne ID’d his ideal marathon conditions as 50 degrees, no humidity, no winds and overcast. That was not the hand he was dealt last Monday.

“It was raining nearly the entire time,” Ronayne stated. “We had two passages of storms before the race even started. It was not raining at the start of the race, and for the first five miles or so, but then the rains came down almost the rest of the time until the end.

“We ran into a headwind the entire time,” Ronayne continued. “And I had picked up a cold the week of the race. Yet, with all of that, I would not change anything.”

Ronayne nearing the finish of the Boston Marathon

Ronayne nearing the finish of the Boston Marathon

The finish to the Boston Marathon is one of the best in road racing. After nearly 26 miles, the runners make one last turn from Hereford Street onto the boisterous Boylston Street. For the last three blocks, the street is lined by fans cheering on every runner, from the elite level runners to the last finisher. For a first-timer like Ronayne, making that turn lived up to the hype.

“You round the corner, and you see the finish line all the way down the street,” Ronayne noted. “I had decided about three miles earlier that once I made it there, I was going to run as hard as I can. When I saw the finish line, I found another gear. A weight is lifted off your shoulders seeing that finish line. It was really exciting and fulfilling.”

So what is next for Iowa State’s marathoning-gymnastics coach? Probably not any more marathons, but that is not a bad thing, he has a lot on his plate as is.

“This is probably my final marathon, but I reserve the right to come out of retirement,” Ronayne concluded. “I have never actually run any other distance than marathons, I have never done a 5 or a 10K, so there is always that. Maybe once Jack grows up, I will make another appearance in a marathon.”

Ronayne and the first child of Iowa State gymnastics, his son Jack Ronayne

Ronayne and the first child of Iowa State gymnastics, his son Jack Ronayne

Regardless of what Ronayne does, he can say that he has accomplished a great feat, particularly for a Massachusetts native like himself. There are many other tasks ahead for Ronayne, both involving Iowa State gymnastics team and not. For one day, he got to go home and live one of his dreams.

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Catching Up With J.J. Moses

The Moses Family15FUTP60

The Moses family (l to r): Milan, J.J. and Jerry

On Iowa State’s first play from scrimmage at Iowa in 2000, J.J. Moses took a reverse and all he saw was daylight.

The speedy wideout from Waterloo then made an opportune cut at the 11-yard line, freezing a Hawkeye defender and darting into the end zone on a 58-yard spurt.

Moses’ run was the catalyst in ISU’s third-straight series victory over Iowa and one of many highlights from the Cyclones’ incredible 2000 football season.

He had a dream the night before he was going to score on the first play. He did, and 15 years later, he still can remember everything about it.

“Coach (Steve) Loney (ISU’s offensive coordinator) told me the day before, ‘Hey, we’re going to start the game with a reverse,’” Moses said. “We were hoping for some big yardage to start the game and set the momentum. The night before the game I had an actual experience that I saw myself scoring that touchdown, and I still remember the feeling. Sage (Rosenfels) goes back, he hands the ball back to me. I go around the corner and around the end and all I remember saying was, ‘Lord, please allow me to score this touchdown.’  I saw two big guys coming in about to tackle me close to the end zone, but I was able to kind of sneak through it. It was a gutsy call. If they stuffed us, I believe that would’ve caused the momentum to shift their way. But we were able to go ahead and score quick.”

Moses had a breakout senior campaign in 2000. He caught 53 passes for 775 yards. He also was an electric kickoff returner, earning All-Big 12 First Team honors at that position and second team accolades as a receiver.

His contributions helped the Cyclones win a school-record nine games and capture their first-ever bowl victory with a 37-29 triumph over Pittsburgh in the Insight.com Bowl.

The memories he shared with his teammates in that record-breaking season is something Moses will always cherish.

“We had a great group of seniors coming back on that team, guys like Sage Rosenfels, Reggie Hayward, and James Reed, just to name a few,” Moses said. “We decided we can be the team that will turn Iowa State football around. What we decided to do was to come together as a team. We would work out together as a team, but then after the workouts, we would meet around and participate in drills by ourselves because we were so focused and driven. That senior year rolls around and we go 9-3. We surprised so many individuals and we ended up winning the Insight.com Bowl game in Arizona. It was a just a great thing that the seniors decided to come together. We kind of helped change the course of Iowa State.”

J.J. Moses earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors as a kick returner in 2000.

J.J. Moses earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors as a kick returner in 2000.

Another breakthrough moment of that memorable year occurred on a snow-covered field in Boulder, Colorado in mid-November. Iowa State entered the game on a 16-game losing streak to Colorado.

Breaking the streak was on ISU’s mind, but the Cyclones fell behind 20-9 before making a comeback. Moses did his part, turning a short pass from Sage Rosenfels into a 44-yard touchdown to give ISU a 26-20 advantage.

ISU hung on for victory, 35-27, as Reggie Hayward recovered a fumble on its own 10-yard line, halting a potential CU rally in the final minute.

“Wow, I remember snow,” Moses laughed. “I remember Carl Gomez kicking a big-time field goal that just barely goes over the crossbar. I remember Reggie Hayward going in and making some big sacks and recovering the fumble to end the game. I remember Doug Densmore going up and picking up a fumble and returning it maybe 30 or 40 yards. Overall, that game showed that a lot of players could go in and make big plays for us. It was snowing, and we went in and competed and we made some big plays. Sage made some great throws. I was lucky to catch some footballs. I just thought overall it was a great team effort for us.”

Moses played four seasons in the NFL after his Cyclone career ended. From 2003-04, he handled the majority of the Houston Texans’ punt and kickoff returns, tabulating long returns of 40 yards (punt) and 70 yards (kickoff), both during the 2003 season.

Moses’ NFL career began in a workout on the campus of Iowa State.

“Sage (Rosenfels) was going to have a tryout for the Kansas City Chiefs and he asked me if I wanted to catch some balls for his workout,” Moses remembered. “All the Chiefs were coming, head coach Dick Vermeil and the whole front office were there to watch him work out. The workout finished and Vermeil walks up to me, reaches out and shakes my hand and says, ‘Son, today you have just made it into the NFL.’ At that moment I was able to land a spot in the NFL, and since 2000 I have benefited from that workout because I’m still involved in the NFL for the last 15 years as a player and now as an ambassador. Opportunities can come your way when you least expect it.”

Moses was a popular figure in Houston and has remained in the Houston area where he as a found success as a motivational speaker.

Moses made a return trip to his alma mater today to help promote the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign in conjunction with the Midwest Dairy Council. It’s a joint effort to help promote nutritional and health awareness to children and adults.

Motivating and educating people is something Moses is very comfortable with. He was happy to be able to spread his positive message in his return to Iowa State.

“I’m glad to be back at my alma mater,” Moses said. “I’m a spokesman for the NFL Fuel up to Play 60 event in which we encourage kids to go out and exercise at least 60 minutes out of the day and eat healthy. I’m just honored to be a part of such a great program which promotes a positive message to kids to eat healthy and to stay focused. Who knows, there might be the next J.J. Moses out there playing football!”

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Cyclones Make Most of St. Louis Road Trip

The Iowa State women’s soccer team entered the weekend with a daunting task ahead of them — play two National Women’s Soccer League teams in separate 45 minute games, including the current league champion, FC Kansas City.

The Cyclones exited the weekend with loads of confidence after proving that they can compete with the best teams in the country. Iowa State fell to FC Kansas City 1-0 after a back and forth affair and then 3-0 to the Chicago Red Stars in a game that saw the Cyclones come within a few feet of two goals.

Head coach Tony Minatta wasn’t the only one to take notice of what the Cyclones are capable of.

“We played against the best players in the country in both of those games,” Minatta said. “To have the opposing coach from the Chicago Red Stars say that we were really tough to break down should show our players exactly what they are capable of doing when they put their minds to it. When we play hard and play the way that we are capable of, we can compete with anybody.”

Iowa State’s first game against FC Kansas City was tight for the entire 45-minute half. The Cyclones held the Blues scoreless for 40 minutes before a FCKC midfielder was able to fire a shot just past the outstretched fingertips of goalkeeper Lindsey Hendon. While other teams were allowing goal after goal, the Cyclones held strong. Iowa State was the only collegiate team this spring to not surrender multiple goals to the defending NWSL champion FCKC Blues.

Sophomore All-Big 12 forward Koree Willer took notice on how well the defense played.

“I was really proud of our defense honestly,” Willer said. “They rarely broke us down in the run of play. I was really happy with how organized they were.”

Fellow sophomore, and key leader of the Cyclone defense as a returning two-year starter, Madi Ott concurred. The Cyclones came to play.

“I think it was a whole team effort,” Ott said. “It started from the forwards went through the midfield and came to defense. I think top to bottom we were solid defensively and that’s something we can be proud of.”

After a short break, the Cyclones took on their second NWSL team of the day, the Chicago Red Stars. While the Cyclones fell 3-0, the final score doesn’t tell the entire story. Twice Iowa State was able to break the Red Stars down and get great looks at goal from Willer and freshman forward Maribell Morales. On the defensive side, freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Hendon showed off on a few plays, making leaping stops on would-be goals.

With the Cyclones holding their own against two professional squads, the team realizes how important it is to grab the opportunity and run with it heading into the remaining spring games and regular season.

“Now that we know we can play at that level, it’s a good feeling to have, but it really only matters if we carry that forward and continue building off that confidence and playing at that same level at every single game,” Ott said.

After the games the Cyclones had the opportunity to watch the U.S. Women’s National Team rout New Zealand 4-0 in front of 35,817 fans, the largest crowd for a women’s soccer game in the U.S. since 1999, in Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. The team got to watch some of the best players in the world up close and personal with seats just behind the goal. The first goal scored by Meghan Klingenberg was buried into the back of the net just a couple rows in front of where the team was seated.

“I thought it was unreal,” Ott said. “it was just so cool to see the players that we follow on Instagram and Twitter that we’ve have looked up to our whole lives and to see them out on the field. Even for me just to see such a positive amazing atmosphere around women’s soccer, that’s a rare thing to experience. There were times I would get chills during the game.”

The Cyclones are back on the road this weekend scheduled to play Creighton at 11:45 a.m. CT and Nebraska-Omaha at 1:30 p.m. CT in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Hoop Bits (4-2-15)

Niang The Latest All-American
On Monday, The Associated Press released its 2014-15 men’s basketball All-America teams (1st-3rd team). Deservedly so, Iowa State junior Georges Niang earned a spot on the third-team and the Cyclones were represented in consecutive seasons (Melvin Ejim, 2014).

There are a number of All-America teams released these days, but it can be argued that the most recognized comes from the AP.

With different players earning All-America honors from the AP in the last two years, ISU is in elite company.

Iowa State. Syracuse. Kentucky. Gonzaga. Duke.

That is it. The list of schools with multiple honorees is short and Iowa State is on it.

In the last four seasons, ISU has had four different players earn a spot on one All-America team or another, a total that matches the 10 years prior to Fred Hoiberg’s arrival.

Sixth Among Returning Players In Scoring
Niang can score. Analysts and coaches have marveled over the big man’s unique skill set. He’ll enter his senior season sixth among active players nationally in scoring. A couple of players above him  are considering their professional options, so Niang could move up on that list.

Top Returning Scorers
D.J. Balentine (Evansville) – 1,766
Olivier Hanlan (Boston College) – 1,727
Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette) – 1,700 points
John Brown (High Point) – 1,680
Jalan West (Northwestern State) – 1,567
Georges Niang (Iowa State) – 1,510

Hoiberg vs. Self
With its win in the Big 12 Championship finals, Iowa State beat Kansas for the third time in four games.

That is no small feat as Hoiberg is just the fourth coach to beat a Bill Self-coached Kansas team in three of four meetings.

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo beat Kansas three times in a row (twice in 2009 and once in 2012), former Texas’ coach Rick Barnes beat the Jayhawks three of four times from 2004-06 and Kentucky’s John Calipari has won three in a row against Self (2011, 2012, 2014).

Number Change

Hallice Cooke will wear the No. 3 jersey in his first season as a Cyclone following the transfer of Clayton Custer. Cooke, who wore No. 3 at Oregon State and in high school at St. Anthony High School in New Jersey, quickly jumped at the opportunity to wear the number again.

The Hoiberg Era
The last five years have seen a lot of great moments. Here is an infographic we recently published to illustrate just a few of them.

Hoiberg Era Infographic

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Minatta Reflects On Soccer Workshop In Portugal

Iowa State head women’s soccer coach Tony Minatta recently visited Portugal while attending a U.S. Soccer International Coaches Soccer Workshop. Minatta visited several of the top teams in the country including FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica. From there he was able to learn from some of the world’s best coaches. I was able to sit down with Minatta and review his trip and find out how he plans on incorporating what he learned to his Iowa State team.

How does the U.S. Soccer International Coaches Workshop work and what drew you to Portugal?

Tony Minatta: Every year U.S. Soccer does an international workshop in different countries. They have been to Italy, Germany, England, Spain and this is the first year they went to Portugal. What drew me to the course was that it’s a very small country with limited recourses, yet they are consistently putting their national team in the top 10 in the world. Their club teams like FC Porto are in the Champions Elite Eight playing Bayern here in the next week or two. Being able to go to a country to see what they do and how they’ve managed to have that kind of success given that it’s a country of only 10 million people.

Were you able to meet with other collegiate soccer coaches across the country and what was that experience like?

TM: There were quite a few collegiate coaches there. North Carolina’s men’s coach was there and he has won a national championship. It was great to be around those individuals and share ideas and get different perspectives. When you’re on the bus to different places we were always talking soccer. It gives you a different perspective on different styles of coaching and why they are successful with what they are doing. Although the trip was international, I was able to interact with coaches who are at the highest level nationally.

Can you talk about your experience as a whole and some of the things that you learned that you’ll try to implement into your coaching style?

TM: The reality is that they are so much more advanced in other countries and there is a reason that their teams are consistently in the top in the world both on the club side and the national team side. One of the biggest things was that the clubs we visited had a culture of winning and that was everything from how they take the field to how they approach their scouting, recruiting, training and to the game models. All of the little things add up to the big picture. For us, it’s not about just running a really good training session. We have to be really good at everything that we’re doing. We need to refine and be better at everything we’re doing.

What was the gameday experience like at Estadio de Luz?

TM: It was amazing. The place was packed and everyone was looking to their left and this eagle came flying in and circled the stadium and landed on the wrist of a person at centerfield. When the game started, the songs and chanting that were going on made the entire atmosphere electric. It’s funny because we got to see a U19 Champions league game and the place was packed and they were singing the same songs. On our way back to Lisbon on the last day, we stopped at a restaurant on the way and a bunch of fans were there getting ready to go to another game and the whole table next to us was singing those same songs. I can’t see people doing that here.

What stuck out to you in terms of what Benfica does as a soccer club, or their practices and culture?

TM: Everything that they did in practice was designed to help the team have a better understanding of the spatial awareness on the field. That was something that I took away from it. They are very technical and very advanced. They do things that you don’t see over here in the United States. The youth players over there are amazing. Looking how they run they practices, it’s very similar to what we do already because I have a lot of influence from European styles. Just the spatial awareness that they look for and setting things up so everything will mimic the game and letting the players play. One thing that they always talked about is that they want to present the problem in their practice and they want the players to find the solution. They don’t want to dictate the solution, because they don’t feel that the players will ever learn it.

What does a typical training session look like at Sporting Lisbon and does it look any different from what you saw at Benfica?

TM: They are all very similar in how they set things up with their technical components. Interestingly enough we saw the same possession game in all three places. We got to see the first team train in Lisbon which was incredible. You recognize how much of an importance they put on the technical aspect of the game. Even with the first team, which was a Champions league team, the first three things that they did were all technical. Things like moving off the ball, and how it was set up. Sporting Lisbon has produced Cristiano Rinaldo and Figo, which are two world players of the year who both came out of the same club. Eight of the Sporting academy players are on the first team, which is pretty amazing because at Benfica of the starting 11, there wasn’t one that came out of their own academy. The only one who actually got some minutes came in like the last three minutes of the game. Lisbon puts a huge emphasis on player development and you can see that in how they approached the different training aspects.

What was your experience like at FC Porto and touring the city of Porto?

TM: It was amazing. When we met with the technical director in charge of FC Porto he said that he wanted us to go out into the town and talk to people and meet people so that we could really understand what the culture of the town was because that would help us understand the culture of the team. Porto was incredible. They got their Champions League draw while we were there. We had a lot more interaction with the coaches there. We got to have more sit downs with them personally as opposed to the other clubs where we got presentations and watched. Everybody spoke pretty good English. They had a lot of questions for us in how we do things. One of the guys that we sat down with coached a U14 team and he has his doctorate degree. The level of advancement they have for their coaches in incredible. Coaching soccer is an actual college degree in Portugal. What they put into it and how they approach it, it is definitely not just a profession, but rather a lifestyle.

How would you like to incorporate what you learned in Portugal to what you are doing here in Ames?

TM: A lot of the training will be similar. When we played Nebraska earlier and they opened the field up and we opened up defensively, we need to make sure that we’re closing that space and being more compact. Just watching some of their exercises and to be able to teach that and get their teams to understand that really has helped me out a lot. We need to make sure that we are showing our players the spatial awareness so they are able to do those things on the field and they have a better picture in their mind for it.

What are some things that Cyclone fans can get excited for that you have seen thus far this spring?

TM: Koree Willer is playing at a different level right now with some of the things she has been doing in practice. She’s really turned the corner and taken that next step to decide that she wants to be a next level player. Overall you can sense a different maturity about the team. We were so young last year. I think they finally realized that they can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results. If they want to achieve more than what they achieved last year they have to put more work into it. You can see that at every practice they are more competitive. The level is rising every day. It’s exciting to see some of the players come out of their shells a little bit and really show quality play out on the field.

Check back to cyclones.com later this spring for a recap of Iowa State soccer’s spring season.

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