Thursday, June 22, 2006

I'm Not Going To Let My Temperature Rise Over ISU's 'Cyclone State' Billboard. I've Already Been Through Earle Bruce, Butch Henry and Donnie Duncan

A number of people are getting heated up, in one way or another, about what Jamie Pollard is doing in his first year as Iowa State's athletic director.

I'm not.

I like some of the things the guy is saying and doing, but how he's going about it doesn't bother me or surprise me.

Pollard is, after all, just another eager-beaver Cyclone sports boss who is anxious to have his teams do well -- especially when they compete against Iowa.

Pollard raised the body temperatures of some University of Iowa fans recently when he said Iowa State will put up a billboard in Cedar Rapids that says, "IT'S A CYCLONE STATE."

Along with the "Cyclone State" boast, the billboard will also show pictures of two Iowa State football players hoisting the Cy-Hawk Trophy following Iowa State's 23-3 victory last season over Iowa.

No big deal.

I've been through this before.

Several times.

More than a quarter-century ago.

I was in the stadiums -- Kinnick in Iowa City and Jack Trice in Ames -- when Donnie Duncan was carried around triumphantly after his Iowa State football teams beat Iowa three conseuctive times.

While on his players' shoulders, Duncan pointed in all directions -- letting everyone know how proud he was that his Cyclones had beaten Hayden Fry's Hawkeyes.

Four months after Duncan's final victory in the huge intrastate series, Duncan was gone.

After an 18-24-2 record in his four seasons, it was evident to him he couldn't keep up with Fry over the long haul.

He was criticized for putting too much emphasis on the Iowa game and not enough on Kansas and Missouuri.

It was fun to go to Ames in those days.

Lou McCullough, who had been an assistant football coach at Ohio State under Woody Hayes and at Iowa State before that, was the athletic director. He obviously knew the Big Ten Conference well and he knew the then-Big Eight Conference well.

Butch Henry [lower right] was the sports information director. Henry was from Arkansas, but got caught up in the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry quickly.

I mean, ol' Butch really got caught up in the football part of it.

The way I recall it, after each of Iowa State's victories over Iowa in 1980, 1981 and 1982, he put copies of the the front pages of Sunday newspapers, complete with the large headlines telling of the Cyclones' successes, in frames.

Those frames were hung on walls throughout the athletic offices for all to see.

In those days, I used to hear that Henry would also leave the press box while the teams were warming up preparatory to The Big Game and taunt Iowa's players.

I have no proof of that, but it's a good story anyway.

By the way, the frames containing the newspaper headlines were quietly taken off the walls after McCullough and Henry left Iowa State.

Also consumed by the Iowa State-Iowa rivalry was Earle Bruce [lower left], who coached the Cyclones from 1973-1978.

Indeed, Bruce was the guy who ordered that the words "BEAT IOWA" be placed on the front of Iowa State's jerseys for the 1977 game in Iowa City -- the first in the series in 43 years.

All that did was arouse Iowa's players, who won the game, 12-10.

There were no more "BEAT IOWA" jerseys worn by Cyclone players after that.

After being shocked by the Hawkeyes in the 1977 game, Bruce got his revenge in 1978. Walter Grant threw three touchdown passes in Iowa State's 31-0 victory at Iowa City.

Duncan's first Iowa State-Iowa game was in 1979, and he learned a tough lesson. Fry was in his first season at Iowa, and his Hawkeyes rode Dennis Mosley's 229 yards and three touchdowns to a 30-14 victory.

Duncan's teamss beat Iowa, 10-7, at Iowa City in 1980; 23-12 at Ames in 1981 and 19-7 at Iowa City in 1982.

After the 19-7 victory, he would coach only nine more games at Iowa State.

Then came Jim Criner, who was awful, and Jim Walden, who was almost awful.

Iowa State wound up losing 15 straight games to Fry's Hawkeyes before Dan McCarney got the ship straightened out at Ames.

Walden got so goofy about Fry that he placed a photograph of the Hawkeye coach on a wall in his office.

When I asked him why, he said, "If you want to be better, you'd better find ouot why your competition is good, and keep your eye on him. By having his photo on the wall, I can keep my eye on Fry every day. I can look up there and say, 'I wonder what that man is doing now.'"

So there.

You think I'm going to be surprised by anything Jamie Pollard does?

No way.