Honoring Orr is a celebration of mediocrity
With respect to fans of Iowa State University, Cyclone donors, and friends and family of former men’s basketball coach Johnny Orr, we question the judgment made in casting the image of a coach who barely sported a winning record in $150,000 of larger-than-life bronze, further cementing the celebration of mediocrity in Cyclone sports.
Consider the facts.
In Orr’s reign as head coach from 1981-1994, his teams posted a coaching record of 218-200, a 52 percent winning percentage.
Let’s compare Orr’s record to, say, Larry Eustachy, who coached the Cyclones from 1998-2003 to a record of 101-59, a 63 percent winning percentage. Or how about Tim Floyd, who led the Cyclones from 1994-97, posting a record of 81-49, a 62 percent winning percentage. We looked hard, but we couldn’t find statues of either of these coaches on campus. In fact, we couldn’t find statues of Bill Fennelly, the current women’s basketball coach who has posted a record of 345-154, (69 percent) as of presstime, from 1995-present. Or looking to other sports, where is the statue of legendary wrestling coach Dr. Harold Nichols, whose teams posted a record of 456-75-11 from 1965-73 with an amazing 86 percent winning percentage. But if ISU is going to only celebrate mediocre coaches, it should erect a solid gold statue of former football coach Dan McCarney, whose record of 56-85 is a 40 percent winning percentage.
We realize the Johnny Orr statue was paid for by donors, and that it was placed near an area that is unquestionably suitable for Orr (an on-campus sports bar for donors), but honoring this coach for his positive impact on Cyclone basketball is illogical. Yes, we have heard it all before — Hilton Magic, increased attendance, blah, blah, blah.
We would love to celebrate championships from Iowa State University, but to honor an average coach in this way keeps the Cyclones cemented in an apparently acceptable state of mediocrity. This should anger even the greatest of Cyclone fans, but it unfortunately doesn’t, which pretty much says it all. CV