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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Johnny Orr, 1927-2013

Official Iowa State University announcement:

Bit of a departure here today. I’ve mentioned my Cyclones before so you’ll hopefully allow me this moment. I’ve included a picture of a cardinal just to give it an animal feel – besides, our mascot is Cy, the cardinal and our colors are cardinal and gold.

Cyclone Nation is mourning and celebrating tonight. 2013 had to give us one last kick in the teeth before it left. A legend of a coach and the father of “Hilton Magic”, Johnny Orr left us this morning. Although he was ISU’s winningest and losingest coach we Cyclone fans will always remember the magic of all those home wins.

I never liked “boy's" basketball until Johnny Orr came to town. I am from the era of 6-player girl's basketball so all that running back and forth just bored me. Then Johnny Orr brought us his fast-paced game plans and created a more competitive Cyclone team. As a student I bought season tickets with a group of friends and watched every home game in spite of wind, rain, snow, blizzards and even a cast on my foot (climbing up to balcony seats is really fun with a cast).

We were all treated to not just a new game but a new atmosphere. I remember one historic season that had my group of friends sitting in the second row right behind the basket nearest our team during two of the biggest games ever: versus the Iowa Hawkeyes and versus Oklahoma State. The crowd was so loud during the Okie State game that I was nearly deaf for days afterward. The floor even shook with our roar!

Now Hilton Coliseum is a place of fear for other teams. Even during seasons when our team isn’t a powerhouse, Hilton is still a hard place for opponents to play. Johnny brought the fan base back to life and it continues today. The games sell out even for non-conference games. Johnny Orr lives on in the success of his former players and in the hearts of all Cyclone fans. That’s a “dinger” Coach!


  1. That's sad news about Orr. Thanks for stopping by with your kind words of condolence.

  2. Thanks, Layla. Cyclone Nation is still in mourning but we all know that Johnny is with us in the special season of basketball.

    We've lost way too many friends this past year, both feline and human. Let's hope we get a break for awhile.