September 2014

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25 J erry Hassard's innovative coaching resulted in a 20- year run as head University of Iowa women's cross country and track and field coach and a spot in the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. Hassard was one of six individuals inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame on Aug. 29 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center along with Jon Reimer (track and field), Nate Kaeding (football), Bruce Kinseth (wrestling), and Jeanne Kruckeberg (cross country/ track and field). "Jerry was a real innovative and forward-thinking coach," said former UI director of track and field Larry Wieczorek of Hassard, who passed away in Feb., 2012, at the age of 61. "He was always looking for ways to get an edge in terms of helping his athletes with new coaching methods. He was willing to change things to help his student-athletes succeed." at willingness paid dividends. Hassard, the first head coach in program history, developed 27 track and field and six cross country All- Americans and 25 Big Ten individual track and field champions during his Hawkeye career. He also had 12 athletes compete in the United States Track and Field Olympic Trials. Hassard's track and field teams twice placed 10th at the NCAA Championships, and his 1982 cross country squad won the program's first Big Ten title and finished eighth at the NCAA Championships. e finish is still the highest in school history. "Jerry was a perfectionist, and in coaching, he was meticulous in everything he did," said Wieczorek. "He was a very strategic coach in how he was going to have his runners race. During his career, he coached some of the top distance runners in Iowa history, and they were nationally prominent kids." Hassard's coaching spreads over some of the top runners in program history, including Hall of Fame inductees Jennifer Brower (2013), Tracy Dahl (2010), Nan Doak (1999), and Kay Stormo (2008). Jeanne Kruckeberg is a member of the 2014 class. "Jerry wanted all of his runners to realize their potential and realize success," said Kruckeberg, who ran at Iowa from 1987-90. "He pushed us, and sometimes it wasn't what we wanted, but we improved. He wanted to have top-notch people, and the group I was with included quality women and people of integrity. He had an eye for people who could work together." Doak was an NCAA champion in the 10,000-meters -- Iowa's first female NCAA champion. Dahl was a five- time All-American and two-time NCAA champion in the 5,000-meters. Stormo was a three-time Big Ten champion and All-American, and Kruckeberg was a three-time All-American and the NCAA runner-up in the 800-meters. "On his record and the things he achieved, he's a Hall of Fame coach," said Wieczorek. "I think he fought for the importance and prominence for women's cross country and track and field in those early days. He brought the sport into the modern era and elevated the Iowa program." "He was at Iowa a long time," said Kruckeberg. "He had some successful athletes and helped them be successful. I am glad he is able to receive this honor. It would have been wonderful if he could be here to receive this recognition."

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