Iowa State & the Bioeconomy
A CENTURY OF MEMORIES, MOMENTS, AND MAGIC
ALUMNI VIDEO TEAM CREATES DEFINITIVE CYCLONE MEN'S BASKETBALL CHRONICLE
Jeff Grummer had a feeling he’d end up meeting Bob Mott when he climbed into the car with ISU associate athletics communications director Mike Green that day. Pursuing a somewhat murky lead, the pair drove to La Porte City, Iowa, in search of the man who still holds the record for being college basketball’s youngest-ever first-team all-conference honoree. He was the last missing piece of a historical puzzle they had worked tirelessly to put together.
“We literally went on a journey in search of Bob Mott,” Grummer said. “That could have been a special feature all on its own.”
Sure enough, the 80-year-old bicycle enthusiast turned up after Green (MS ’97 exercise science) placed a call to a local sporting goods store Mott frequented.
And thanks to that successful quest,
Mott now serves as the “voice of the 1940s” on the new DVD, “Iowa State Basketball…A Century of Memories, Moments, and Magic,” produced on the occasion of this year’s ISU men’s basketball centennial celebration by Grummer (’89 journalism) and his business partner Rod Bodholdt (’89 journalism) at Ames’ B&G Productions.
“I learned quite a bit about the 1940s,” Bodholdt said about the production process. “I remembered when we went to the NCAA tournament in the 1980s and they said it was our first time in 40 years. So I knew there were good teams, but I didn’t have any appreciation for how good those teams were. To talk to someone who played back then was pretty amazing.”
Mott, who as a child watched the legendary Waldo Wegner don the Cyclone uniform, talks on the DVD about life at Iowa State during wartime, reaching the Final Four, the greatness of his coach Louis Menze, and Price Brookfield, a one-year Cyclone teammate who came to Iowa State on the Naval V-5 program and ended up becoming ISU’s first player to reach the NBA. (“I think he was probably the best player all-around to ever play at Iowa State,” Mott says.)
Mott’s personal stories are a captivating beginning to a nearly two-hour production that takes Iowa State men’s basketball fans on a journey though time, narrated by Voice of the Cyclones John Walters and featuring interviews with players that span the decades. Gary Thompson (’57 phys ed) describes the 1950s, Zaid Abdul-Aziz (’69 sociology) the 1960s. And long-time ISU broadcaster Eric Heft (’74 political science) speaks candidly about the teams from his era,
Grummer, Bodholdt, and Green all say they are thankful for the commentary provided by Mott, Thompson, Abdul-Aziz, and Heft because little video footage remains from Iowa State games prior to 1980. “It has long been sort of a tradition that when coaching staffs leave, they take their film with them,” Green said. “So we were really limited. I wish we had a big room with a vault, but we don’t. We did
the best we could with what we had.”
By contrast, the biggest challenge for Bodholdt and Grummer became what from the 1980s-2000s would have to be left out. The two worked as Iowa State interns with WOI-TV in the ’80s and remember, not to mention have on tape, just about everything that’s happened since.
“We’ve kind of built up a collection and adopted the attitude of, ‘We’d better save that,’” Bodholdt said. He and Grummer have produced a number of ISU men’s basketball highlight videos and coaches’ shows through their past affiliation with WOI and through B&G, which they established in 1996.
“This project could not have been done if it weren’t for Rod and Jeff,” Green says. “Their video editing skills are incredible, and they have so much knowledge of our history. If you sent this to an outside production company, it wouldn’t have been the same because they wouldn’t have known that history.”
As witnesses to history, Bodholdt
and Grummer know the centennial DVD wouldn’t be complete without footage of ISU’s historic NCAA tournament win over Michigan, Lafester Rhodes’ 54-point miracle against Iowa, or Justus Thigpen’s famous Colorado trey.
And it’s all there.
“For someone like me who loves this program, this DVD has pretty much every game, every great moment on film from the last 30 years,” Green said. “I’m so happy about it.”
The DVD’s documentation of recent history comes complete with first-hand accounts from players like Fred Hoiberg and Paul Shirley and coaches like Johnny Orr and Larry Eustachy, plus dozens of others who were interviewed last summer when they returned to Ames under the sad circumstances of Barry Stevens’ (’87 family and consumer studies) untimely death.
“It was really hard and sad,” Grummer said. “But [Jeff Grayer] had a really good perspective on it because he said it was Barry Stevens who started [Hilton] Magic, and now he’s bringing these players back.
I just kind of look at that as a blessing to this video.”
“I don’t know under what circumstances we would have been able to get an interview with Jeff Hornacek, Victor Alexander, a lot of those guys,” Bodholdt said. “I don’t think we would have had the means to travel around the country and get all those interviews. So as sad as [Stevens’] passing was, it gave us an opportunity to talk to a lot of people who were pretty important in history.”
And it’s moments like the one in which Eustachy tells the cameras he never realized how good he had it until it was over or when Hornacek recounts Orr scolding his players for lifting him in the air after a win that make the video a uniquely Iowa State treasure.
“It doesn’t matter who we talked to,” Bodholdt said. “It was just that feeling of pride that everyone had of being a Cyclone that I think fans will really feel good about when they’re done watching this.”
“You’re not going to get a finer group of people that have represented Iowa State,” Grummer added. “It makes you realize that the next 100 years are going to be just as successful and as fun as the last. I think that some day maybe some other two lucky guys are going to get to do the next 100 years video, and I envy them.”
Buy the DVD online at www.cyclones.com by visiting the "DVD Store."
About the Writer | Kate Bruns is the associate editor of VISIONS.