IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa’s basketball staff wanted to do something special to honor the late Chris Street during Saturday’s game against Wisconsin.
It was Iowa coach Fran McCaffery’s idea to have every player on his team wear “STREET’ on the back of their gold game jerseys, where their last names are. The 20th anniversary of Street’s death was Saturday. Street, a standout forward, died in an automobile accident in the middle of his junior season.
Jerry Strom, Iowa’s director of basketball operations, contacted Powers Manufacturing in Waterloo, the company that makes the Hawkeyes’ game uniforms, to see if they could prod
uce “STREET” nameplates to be sewn on the back of the existing jerseys.
Strom also checked with the NCAA to get approval, since that body has rules in place regarding uniforms. The NCAA denied Iowa’s request.
“If you read the rule itself it’s pretty self explanatory,” McCaffery said today. “In that case it would have to be an exception granted. And I think the issue was there have been so many exception requests, I think they decided, “The rule stands as it is.’ And that’s pretty much what it was. If you start granting exceptions, then every game somebody wants to do something for some other reason, some other legitimate cause. They just didn’t want to do that.”
So Strom and McCaffery started to kick around other ideas. It was Strom who thought to put Street’s gold No. 40 jersey on the first chair of the Iowa bench. McCaffery was all for it.
So when the lights in Carver-Hawkeye Arena were dimmed as Iowa’s starting lineup was introduced, Strom pulled Street’s jersey out of a bag and draped it over the chair. That seat, next to assistant coach Kirk Speraw, was kept empty during the game.
“I did rub the jersey a few times for good luck,” Speraw said after Iowa's 70-66 victory.
After the game, McCaffery and his team gave the Street family the game ball in an emotional ceremony inside the Iowa locker room.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball