clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who is Iowa’s Greatest of All Time?

Vote for your favorite!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Nebraska at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After reading some of the comments from a previous women’s basketball post, I thought it would be fun to continue a discussion on the Greatest of All-Time Iowa Edition (GOAT-IA). My consideration of GOAT-IA represents the athlete’s efforts as a collegiate, not necessarily how they fared as a professional.

I’ve chosen a handful of sports and given my thoughts on the GOAT-IA for both the modern (early 1980ish-2018) and “Old School” categories. The era dates are strictly arbitrary and mostly represent the fact that I don’t remember anything before 1980. Some sports may have slightly different beginning years in order to facilitate better conversation or simply not have enough history to have anyone from the “Old School.” I have selected my choices at the bottom of the post. Most information comes directly from the Iowa Media Guides with a small percentage from the dark reaches of my brain.

This exercise is intended to start conversation, not point out the obvious choices that I’m sure that I’ll miss. Let me know where you agree or where I missed the mark completely with my choices. The candidates:

Football - Modern

  • Chuck Long: Long quarterbacked the Hawkeyes to the 1986 Rose Bowl, the same year he became the first player in NCAA history to pass for more than 10,000 career yards. He finished runner-up in the closest Heisman Trophy contest in the award’s history in 1985 (behind Bo Jackson). Long was named a first team All-Big Ten performer three times, including 1985 when he was named conference MVP.
  • Tim Dwight: Dwight was a consensus All-American as return specialist who finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting in 1997. He led the nation in punt return average (16.7) and set Iowa and Big Ten records for career punt return yardage with 1,102 yards. Dwight also holds the Big Ten record for career punt return TDs (five) and tied a league mark with three punt return TDs in 1997. He ranks second at Iowa in career receiving yards (2,271) and sixth in receptions (139).
  • Larry Station: Station was named a consensus All-American in 1984 and 1985, becoming just the second Hawkeye in program history to earn multiple honors. He is the only player in school history to lead the team in tackles four times, and in 1985 finished his career with the all-time tackles record (492). He was a finalist for the Lombardi and Butkus awards in 1985, and was a three-time first team All-Big Ten honoree.
  • Robert Gallery: Gallery was a consensus All-American after being named first team all-America by American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press, The Sporting News and ESPN. He earned the Outland Trophy, which signifies nation’s best interior lineman, in 2003 while also winning the Big Ten Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year and earning first team all-Big Ten honors and was academic all-Big Ten for third straight year
  • Andre Tippett: Tippett was the first consensus All-American for Coach Hayden Fry and was two-time first team all-Big Ten honoree. He was also a team captain for the 1981 Rose Bowl squad. Tippett holds the Iowa record for tackles for lost yardage in a season (20 tackles for 153 yards in 1980) and led the Big Ten in tackles for loss (20) as a junior.
  • Reggie Roby: Roby was a consensus All-American punter as a junior in 1981 and also won first team All-American honors in 1982. He broke a 32-year-old NCAA record for punting average in a season (49. 8 in 1981) and was the nation’s leading punter twice in his career. Roby was a two-time first team all-Big Ten and punted for nearly four-and-a-half miles as a collegian. He was also on the Iowa baseball team in 1980.


Who is the GOAT-IA for Modern Football?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    (566 votes)
  • 13%
    (117 votes)
  • 8%
    (75 votes)
  • 2%
    (26 votes)
  • 4%
    (39 votes)
  • 3%
    (33 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (note in comments)
    (16 votes)
872 votes total Vote Now

Football - Old School

  • Nile Kinnick: Kinnick won the only Heisman Trophy in school history when he swept the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards in 1939. He was the Big Ten MVP for Iowa’s legendary 1939 Ironmen team. He was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and senior class president, his No. 24 jersey is one of two retired numbers at Iowa, and in 1972 the Hawkeye’s stadium was named in his honor.
  • Alex Karras: Karras was a Rose Bowl champion and a consensus All-American in 1957. He was the first two-time AP All-American in Iowa history and a winner of the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman. Karras was Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1957.
  • Randy Duncan: Duncan won Big Ten and Iowa MVP honors when he led the Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl title in 1959. He finished second in the 1958 Heisman Trophy balloting. Duncan was a two-time all-conference pick, earned Walter Camp and Player of the Year honors from three organizations, and was the No. 1 pick in the 1958 NFL draft. Iowa shared the mythical national title in both 1956 and 1958, while also earning the Grantland Rice Award in 1958, symbolic of the national football championship.
  • Cal Jones: Jones was the first two-time consensus All-American in Iowa history. He won the Outland Trophy, awarded to nation’s top interior lineman, in 1955. Jones was named on 22 different All-America teams in his career. His No. 62 is one of two retired numbers at Iowa and he was a three-time first team all-Big Ten pick.


Who is the GOAT-IA "Old School" Football?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    (706 votes)
  • 6%
    (56 votes)
  • 5%
    (45 votes)
  • 4%
    (38 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (9 votes)
854 votes total Vote Now

Men’s Basketball - Modern

  • B.J. Armstrong: B.J. Armstrong’s jersey was retired in 1992. Graduated as Iowa’s career assist leader (currently fourth), B.J. ranks fifth in career scoring and was a two-time Hawkeye MVP
  • Ronnie Lester: Ronnie is Iowa’s seventh all‑time leading scorer with 1,675 points. Lester started 3 1/2 seasons before a knee injury shortened his senior season. He was the Hawkeyes MVP three times, an All‑Big Ten selection twice and an All-American in 1979-1980.
  • Roy Marble: Marble holds the school record for point scored on the men’s side with 2,116. He was a first-team All-Big Ten as a senior.
  • Chris Street: Chris Street’s number was retired following his untimely death in 1993, just 15 games into his junior season. A fixture in Iowa’s starting lineup since midway through his freshman season, Street was averaging 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest through 15 games and had recently earned MVP honors at the San Juan Shootout. Chris established an Iowa record by making 34 consecutive free throws. While his counting stats were unfinished, the potential was there to see an all-time great.
  • Greg Stokes: Stokes, a three‑year starter in the pivot, is the school’s fourth all‑time career scorer (1,768 points). Greg owns the school record for field goal percentage in a game (1.000, 11 of 11). Averaged 19.9 ppg and earned All‑Big Ten honors as a senior.


Who is the GOAT-IA for Modern Basketball?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    (154 votes)
  • 41%
    (358 votes)
  • 27%
    (232 votes)
  • 10%
    (87 votes)
  • 2%
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (9 votes)
858 votes total Vote Now

Men’s Basketball - Old School

  • Fred Brown: “Downtown” Freddie Brown came to Iowa from Southeastern Community College so his career numbers aren’t high in the record books. Brown never met a shot he didn’t like though and if he was from the 3-point era, he would certainly have another couple hundred points. Brown averaged 27.6 points as a senior and was a first round draft pick in both the ABA and NBA.
  • Don Nelson: Nelson was a two-time All-American who averaged 21.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. In 1962, Nelson was selected as the 17th draft pick by the Chicago Zephyrs of the NBA.
  • Sam Williams: Williams began the SCC to Iowa pipeline in the mid 1960s. Williams scored a season average 25.3 points a game his senior year and was chosen as the Big Ten MVP in 1968. He was also named a third-team All-American that year. Williams was drafted by the NBA and ABA.
  • John Johnson: Johnson has the two highest scoring games in Iowa history with 49 against Northwestern in 1970 and 46 against Milwaukee in 1968. He has the most points scored in a season with 699 in 1970. Johnson teamed up with Fred Brown to lead Iowa to a 14-0 conference record in 1970. He was drafted in the first round of the NBA and ABA drafts.
  • Chuck Darling: Darling was named to the 1952 All-America team his senior year at Iowa, as well as being named the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player and earning the conference’s medal of excellence. Known for his hook shot, Darling averaged 17.6 rebounds per game as a senior including a 30 rebound game against Wisconsin. Darling played for the 1956 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal and was drafted in the first round of the NBA draft.


Who is the GOAT-IA for "Old School" Basketball?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    (253 votes)
  • 39%
    (290 votes)
  • 2%
    (17 votes)
  • 14%
    (107 votes)
  • 8%
    (64 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (9 votes)
740 votes total Vote Now

Women’s Basketball - (modern only)

  • Samantha Logic: Logic, a four-year starter for the Hawkeyes from 2012-15, became the fourth consensus All-American in Iowa women’s basketball history in 2015. Logic, the only player in NCAA history to accumulate at least 1,500 career points, 800 rebounds, 800 assists, and 200 steals. Logic ends her career second in assists in Big Ten history and 11th in NCAA History. She ranks first in program history in career assists and starts (135), second in steals (260), third in rebounds (922), and 12th in scoring (1,546). Logic led the Big Ten in assists in league play in each of her last three seasons. Her six career triple-doubles mark the second-highest total in the history of NCAA women’s basketball, and the most by any player as a member of the Big Ten. She recorded 33 career double-doubles (third-most in program history), dished out double-digit assists 28 times in her career (the most in program history), and started all 135 games of her Hawkeye career.
  • Michelle Edwards: Edwards led the Hawkeyes to three NCAA Tournament appearances and two Big Ten titles. In 1988, she was named the Champion Products National Player of the Year, the highest honor in women’s collegiate basketball. In her senior season, Edwards also led Iowa to its first ever national No. 1 ranking, along with a record of 29-2 overall and 17-1 in the Big Ten. She paced the Hawkeyes, averaging 20 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.9 steals. The three-time first team All-Big Ten selection is the only Hawkeye to have her jersey retired (No. 30). Edwards ranks high in several Iowa statistical categories, including third in career assists (431), sixth in career scoring (1,821), and third in career steals (235). She also ranks fifth among single season scoring leaders (621).
  • Megan Gustafson: Gustafson has completely rewritten the Hawkeye record book. While she still has a few games left to accumulate more counting stats, Gustafson will leave Iowa as the all-time leading scorer with somewhere around 2,700 points, all-time leading rebounder with around 1,400, first in field goal percentage, and third or fourth in blocks. Gustafson has won twelve Big Ten Player of the Week honors during her senior season (and 22 overall) and deserves to be named the National Player of the Year though it will take some effort to overcome the “big school” bias of Connecticut and Notre Dame.
  • Toni Foster: Foster was named a Kodak All-American in 1993 and was a finalist for Champion Player of the Year. Foster played for the Hawkeyes from 1989-1993, and led the team in both scoring and rebounding for three consecutive years, a feat accomplished only once previously (and now once since). A three-time first team All-Big Ten selection, Foster was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1993. During her senior season, Price led Iowa in scoring (15.7), rebounding (8.2), and blocked shots (1.3). She collected 27 double-doubles during her career, including nine in her senior year. In Iowa’s career statistical categories, Foster ranks fifth in rebounds (887) and sixth in blocks (145). She also ranks ninth in scoring (1,606) and 13th in steals (167).


Who is the GOAT-IA for Women’s Basketball?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (37 votes)
  • 4%
    (40 votes)
  • 89%
    (775 votes)
  • 1%
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (0 votes)
863 votes total Vote Now

Wrestling - Modern

  • Lincoln McIlravy (150): McIlravy was a three-time NCAA and Big Ten Champion. He was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the 1997 NCAA Championships. McIlravy has a career record was 96-3-0 and has two undefeated seasons (1994 and 1997). He also ranks third in career winning percentage (.970).
  • Tom Brands (126/134): Brands was also a three-time NCAA and Big Ten Champion. He was named Outstanding Wrestler at the 1992 NCAA Championships. Brands has a career record of 158-7- 2 and had undefeated seasons in 1991 and 1992. He ranks second in season wins (45 in 1991) and career wins (158), fourth in career winning percentage (.952), and eighth in career pins (46).
  • T.J. Williams (149/157): The younger Williams brother, T.J. holds the career winning percentage record (.990) as he went 98-1 over his three years at Iowa. Williams was a two-time NCAA champion, and a three-time All-American at the University of Iowa. He won NCAA titles as a sophomore at 149 pounds in 1999 and as a senior at 157 pounds while finishing third at 157 pounds as a junior.
  • Joe Williams (158/167): Williams was a three-time NCAA Champion and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the 1998 NCAA Championships. His career record was 129-9 including an undefeated season in 1998. Williams ranks ninth in career winning percentage (.935) in school history and ended his collegiate career on a 39-match winning streak.
  • Brent Metcalf (149): Brent Metcalf was a three-time All-American, two-time NCAA Champion and two-time Big Ten Champion from 2008-10. The 2008 Jesse Owens Big Ten Athlete of the Year, Metcalf was Iowa’s Big Ten Medal of Honor winner in 2009. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the 2008 NCAA Championships, and the 2008 and 2009 Big Ten Championships. Metcalf earned spots on the NWCA All-Academic Team and Academic All-Big Ten team three times, and on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team in 2010.


Who is the GOAT-IA for Modern Wrestling?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    (217 votes)
  • 46%
    Brands (Tom)
    (352 votes)
  • 6%
    Williams (T.J.)
    (49 votes)
  • 5%
    Williams (Joe)
    (42 votes)
  • 12%
    (97 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (4 votes)
761 votes total Vote Now

Wrestling - Old School

  • Barry Davis (118/126): Davis was a three-time NCAA Champion and was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA Championships in 1985. Davis was the seventh wrestler in Big Ten history to win four conference titles. His career record was 162-9-2 and he holds the school records for most wins in a season (46 in 1982) and in a career (162).
  • Jim Zalesky (158): Zalesky was a three-time NCAA and Big Ten Champion and was named Outstanding Wrestler at the 1984 Championships. Zalesky finished with a 132-7-1 career record, including winning his last 89 collegiate matches. He ranks seventh in career wins (131) and winning percentage (.939) and was undefeated in both 1983 and 1984.
  • Chris Campbell (177): While wrestling for the University of Iowa Campbell was a three-time All-American and a two-time NCAA champion, winning titles in 1976 & ’77. His career record of 122-6-3 ranks sixth on Iowa’s all-time career winning percentage list.
  • Ed Banach (177/190): Banach was a three-time NCAA Champion. He was the 1983 Big Ten Athlete of the Year and the sixth wrestler in Big Ten history to win four conference titles. Banach had a career record of 141-9-1 and holds the school record for most pins in a career (73), ranks second in season pins (22), fourth in career wins (141), eighth in season wins (41 in 1980), and eighth in career winning percentage (.937) in school history.
  • Royce Alger (158/167/177): Alger was a three-time Big Ten champion at the University of Iowa. As a junior, Alger won his first NCAA title at 158 pounds while also winning a second national title as a senior at 167 pounds.


Who is the GOAT-IA for "Old School" Wrestling?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    (140 votes)
  • 25%
    (182 votes)
  • 6%
    (44 votes)
  • 41%
    Banach (Ed)
    (295 votes)
  • 4%
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (15 votes)
711 votes total Vote Now


  • Mike Boddicker (P): Boddicker set the single season team record for the lowest ERA in a season at 0.79 in 1976. He also owns the school record with six shutouts and finished sixth in career strikeouts with 189 and of course went on to have a solid MLB career mostly with Baltimore as a sixth round draft choice in 1978.
  • Chris Hatcher (OF): Hatcher was a third team All-American in 1989. He played three seasons at Iowa and is tied for sixth in career home runs (37), ninth in total bases (363) while leading the team in batting average in 1989 (.405) and 1990 (.393). Hatcher was drafted in the third round in 1990 by the Houston Astros.
  • Allen Rath (P): Rath owns the career strikeout mark with 246 and is tied with the most wins in school history with 25. Rath was a durable starter that pitched the second most innings in team history at 303.1. Rath was drafted in the 47th round by the Los Angeles Angels in 1989.
  • Craig Conti (OF): Conti is the all-time leader in games played (220), at-bats (781), runs scored (221), triples (19), stolen bases (103), and walks (127). He was second team All-Big Ten in 1984.
  • Jake Adams (1B): Adams was the unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year in 2017. Although he only played at Iowa for one season, he made a big impression by hitting an NCAA leading, and Iowa school and Big Ten record, 29 home runs. Adams earned All-America distinction from seven different outlets and he was a semifinalist for USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award, an honor presented to the top amateur in the United States. Adams was drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Astros in 2017.
  • Tim Costo (SS): Costo was a first team All-American in 1990 and a third team AA in 1989. He is third in career home runs (41) and eighth in total bases (366). Costo was drafted in the first round by the San Diego Padres in 1990.


Who is the GOAT-IA for Baseball?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (327 votes)
  • 5%
    (30 votes)
  • 5%
    (30 votes)
  • 25%
    (150 votes)
  • 7%
    (44 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (mention in comments)
    (6 votes)
587 votes total Vote Now

For the record, my choices are:

Football (Modern) - Larry Station

Football (Old School) - Nile Kinnick

M Basketball (Modern) - Ronnie Lester

M Basketball (Old School) - Chuck Darling

W Basketball - Megan Gustafson

Wrestling (Modern) - Lincoln McIlravy

Wrestling (Old School) - Ed Banach

Baseball - Craig Conti