I sat down with Cyclone great Angie Welle to talk about her time at Iowa State and upcoming induction in the Athletics Hall of Fame. Welle still holds six career records at Iowa State including the most points (2,149) and most rebounds (1,209).
Can you tell me a little about your recruitment process and how you landed at Iowa State?
“Coach Fennelly and his staff; Coach Frese at the time, I felt like they really wanted me. This wasn’t just sending out a token letter. I was getting handwritten letters in the mail, they were coming to volleyball and they would come during blizzards. I felt like they really wanted me to come, and that’s what separated them early on from the rest of the schools, which in the end that’s a huge part of why I came. That makes sense because they have such a family atmosphere here.
What other schools were you looking into at the time?
When I think of who I was narrowing it down to, looking at Iowa State, Penn State, Iowa, Georgia and Creighton were the last five I narrowed it down to.
What about Coach Fennelly made you really want to play for him?
He was very relatable and personable, and he had those unique touches that made my parents and I comfortable. He just seemed to really care about me, so that’s what is so unique about him.
What was your most memorable game as a Cyclone?
There could be a long list of them. It could be when we beat Connecticut, and how we were all racing to the payphone to tell our parents. We beat Oklahoma at Hilton when they were No. 1 in the nation. Above all is the Big 12 Tournament. I can’t pick a game or a year, it was just the dynamic of how it was set up when we played there. We were there, the men were there, and we were good and the men were good. Everybody came because both teams were winning championships. We looked forward to getting to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament every year.
What is your relationship like with all of your former teammates?
I always am so grateful to Coach Fennelly. He brought us all together, kind of by chance, and now I have these lifelong friends through basketball. We keep in touch. We are all kind of scattered. Some are in Minneapolis, Iowa and Texas. Thank God for social media, because we can all stay in touch that way.
How does it feel to be strongly regarded as the best women’s basketball player?
I’m going to tell the players the same things former alumni told us; it goes so fast, but you never think about the position I’m in today. When you’re playing, you do what you do and you try really hard, try to help your team out. That’s just what I did, and we won a lot of games, but you don’t think something like this is going to happen; where players are going to remember you for what our team did and how I helped that. I’m totally overwhelmed as you can tell, but it brings back a lot of pride having played for Iowa State.
What does it mean to be officially inducted into Iowa State’s Hall of Fame?
Well I joke and say it’s a sign of old age because you have to be so far out of college to receive an honor like this, but I am excited to have this whole weekend at Iowa State. I have 20 family members coming from Fargo. I thought it was just going to be my husband, Lily and Fletcher, and the four of us were going to come for the weekend. We would do our thing and make memories, but now I have this whole crew of family coming to celebrate, which I am most excited about.
Do you keep in touch with the coaches?
I do. Coach Fennelly probably the most, because he is kind of the patriarch of the bunch. I follow Coach Frese dearly. Coach Pingeton is at Missouri now. I thank God for social media because we can stay in contact. Coach Abrahamson-Henderson, Coach Harris is still here, which I love. She beat the heck out of me for four years. It’s fun to stay in contact and watch the successes of the assistant coaches who are now head coaches with their own programs.
There is something just so unique about him. He wears so many hats, that when you play for Coach Fennelly, you feel like you really want to. Sometimes he wears the dad hat, the coach hat or the friend hat. I don’t think you get that a lot of places. I think that some other coaches just want you to come there and be a great basketball player for them, but I never felt like Coach Fennelly treated any of his athletes as just a coach. I remember my car breaking down during a snowstorm and the highway was closed. I called him and cried to him like I would’ve called my dad. I think that is the most unique thing about him.
Are there any other fond memories about your time at Iowa State?
It’s funny to think about the stories during basketball. We left a manager at a truck stop after a bathroom break. A plane broke down and we had to bus to Oklahoma in one night. We scored nine points in one half against Texas Tech one night. It’s funny how you don’t remember these amazing games that well, but you these silly little details stick with you, which Coach Fennelly warned us about.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite Coach Fennelly saying – Irregardless
Favorite road trip location – Kansas City
Favorite part of traveling with team – Denise picking awesome places to feed us.
Favorite restaurant in Ames – Hickory Park/Wallabys
Favorite class at ISU – Student Teaching
Funniest locker room personality – Desiree Francis
Other sport than basketball – Gymnastics, but not realistic. Volleyball more so.
Best player you played against – Post player from Baylor