Those unfamiliar with Iowa State basketball’s history probably have never heard of the legend of Johnny Orr. In 1980, Orr left the prestigious University of Michigan and took a chance on a small program located in Ames, Iowa. From 1981-1994, Orr would re-energize a downtrodden program. He was 218-200 during his tenure as head coach. It wasn’t the record that the fans remember. In 1985, Orr lead Iowa State to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 40 years.
His six NCAA tournament appearances developed a culture of winning. More importantly, Orr put the “Magic” in Hilton Magic. Long after his departure, the Magic remained in Ames. Two of Orr’s former players have had coaching success of their own. Jeff Hornachek, a walk on at Iowa State under Orr, has exceeded expectations as an NBA coach. His Phoenix Suns were only projected to win 15 games all season by Vegas. At 19-11, it’s safe to say that Hornacek is already making strides in his first year as a head coach.
Iowa State’s current head coach Fred Hoiberg was the prodigal son who returned to Ames in 2010. After a dark decade, Hoiberg has put the Cyclones back on the map. Coaching with a heavy heart, Hoiberg would lead his Cyclones to a 99-63 blow out victory over Northern Illinois. The victory gives the Cyclones an unblemished non-conference record.
Iowa State had a pre-game tribute for Orr prior to the start of the game. Hilton was sold out, just like Orr would have liked. Orr’s legacy is cemented within the walls of Hilton Coliseum, and will not be forgotten.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyOCS.