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Sesquicentennial celebration

History of Iowa State: Alumni

Sponsored by the University Archives, Iowa State University Library

Copyright 2006

 

 

Jack Trice

Johnny (Jack) Trice was born in Hiram, Ohio in 1902.  As a child, he was active in sports and demonstrated outstanding athletic skills.   In 1918, Trice’s mother sent him to Cleveland, Ohio to live with his uncle.  He attended East Technical High School where he played football. In 1922, Trice followed five of his teammates and his former high school coach, Sam Willaman who took a coaching position at Iowa State College (University), to Ames, Iowa.  Trice became the first African-American athlete at Iowa State, participating in track and football.  He majored in animal husbandry, with the desire to go to the South and use his knowledge to help black farmers. In the summer after his freshman year, Trice married Cora Mae Starland. They both found jobs in order to support themselves through school. 

On October 6,1923, Jack Trice played in his first “real” college football game against the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. During the second play of the game, he broke his collarbone.  He insisted he was all right and returned to the game. In the third quarter, University of Minnesota players forced Trice to the ground and crushed him.  Although he claimed to be fine, Trice was removed from the game and sent to a Minneapolis Hospital.  The doctors declared him fit to travel and he returned to Ames with his teammates.  On October 8, He died from internal bleeding due to injuries received during the game.

In 1973, Jack Trice’s legacy was renewed and a promotion began to name Iowa State’s new stadium after him.  In 1974, the Iowa State University Government of Student Body unanimously voted to endorse this effort.  In addition, the Jack Trice Stadium Committee compiled more than 3,000 signatures of supporters.  An Iowa State University ad hoc committee voted to advise President Robert Parks to name the stadium “Cyclone Stadium.”  In 1984, the stadium was named “Cyclone Stadium” and the playing field was named “Jack Trice Field.”  The Government of Student Body, wanting to do more to honor Trice, raised money to erect a statue of Trice in 1987.  Due to the persistence of the students, alumni, faculty and staff, and other supporters, the stadium was finally named Jack Trice Stadium in 1997.

 

Resources available online

 

Jack Trice Papers
RS 13/5/11
University Archives, Iowa State University Library

 

Jack Trice

Iowa State University Alumni Association