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Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
April 8, 1979

DICK IVES, DIAGONAL

by Ron MALY, Register Staff writer

He was the kid from the tiny town of Diagonal, the one who could shoot the eyes out of the basket and who'd run through the walls of Iowa Fieldhouse for a guy named Pops.

When Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and the Battle of the Bulge had been or would be splashed all over the front pages of the nation's newspapers in those war years, The Kid was giving the folks back home some relief by punishing Chicago and Indiana and Western Illinois on the basketball floor.

Dick IVES was his name. He'd come to the Iowa campus as a 17-year-old freshman in 1943, and brought with him a hot hand that made a shambles of the record book.

Thirty-five years ago, it was practically unheard of for a player to score 43 points in one game. Some teams couldn't even do that.

But IVES did it. In that brilliant freshman season, he hit the University of Chicago with a 43-point knockout blow. The Hawkeyes won the game, 103-31, to run their record to 12-0 against a school that was in its last year as a Big Ten member.

The 43 points accounted for a Big Ten one-game scoring record. So did IVES' 19 field goals in the same game. Dick won the conference scoring title with 208 points in 12 games -- the first freshman ever to do so.

What's more, IVES' 327 points in the 18-game 1943-44 season was a school scoring record.

And that was just the start of a brilliant Hawkeye career for Ives, an all-American who today becomes the 90th member of The Des Moines Sunday Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, who was quickly dubbed the "Diagonal Demon."

Diagonal was big stuff in Iowa high school basketball when Dick IVES came along, preceded by mountains of publicity as an Iowa high school basketball star.

"We were a good country ball team when I was playing there," said IVES, who now lives in Miami, Fla., "but we weren't as good as the teams my brother, Max, played on. Max's team won the state championship in 1938.

"But Pops HARRISON, the Iowa coach, had heard of me. He knew I was out there in Diagonal, and we began corresponding by mail.

"I could have had a full-ride basketball scholarship to Drake, but I'd always wanted to play for Iowa, so I went there and even paid my $65 tuition fee."

Yes, and he also mowed lawns in Iowa City for 40 cents an hour, polished door knobs and swept up the floors in the athletic department offices at the Fieldhouse to pay that $65.

"I was jealous that I wasn't given an athletic scholarship," IVES commented. "I'd go out with Pops and help him recruit other players, but I wasn't given a scholarship myself. "The football program was lousy at the time, so there weren't many other good athletes on the campus.

"Finally, Pops found a couple of guys who agreed to pay my tuition in the second semester."

Because World War II was going full-blast, freshmen were eligible for athletic competition on the college campuses then.

"Slip MADIGAN (Iowa's football coach in 1943 and '44) even asked if I wanted to come out for the squad," IVES said.

"I was a 6-foot 1-inch, 175-pounder. I said I'd be a cowardly flanker. 'Promise not to hit me and I'll come out,' I told him.

"But Pops about had a heart attack when he heard about the possibility of me going out for football."

But Ives did report for the Hawkeye squad in 1944.

"I was the only player at Iowa to win a baseball letter without ever coming to bat," he said.

"I was known as Warmup IVES -- a relief pitcher of great reknown."

HARRISON'S first Iowa team -- the one IVES played on as a freshman -- had a 9-3 Big Ten record and tied for second in the standings.

"I started at forward with Ned POSTELS, Jack SPENCER, Dave Danner and Skip HERWIG," IVES said.

"HERWIG was a 6-4 graduate student who played center," Dick said. "We told him to get out of the key, go to the corner and stay there. He followed instructions and stayed in the corner.

"Because we lost our last game to Northwestern (42-41), it cost us our chance to tie for the championship."

The following season, however, there was no stopping IVES and the Hawks.

They finished with a 17-1 record (with the only loss to Illinois) and won the Big Ten championship. After the season, IVES was named an all-American.

"We had the WILKINSON brothers -- Clayton and Herb -- then," IVES said. "Clayton was the center, Herb a guard. DANNDER had gone into military service and Murray WEIR was a freshman and our sixth man.

"That team was the first one ever to sell out the Fieldhouse," IVES said. "We didn't draw very well during my freshman season, but we got crowds of 14,000 and 15,000 during the season we won the title.

"They even had to bring in portable bleachers to handle the fans."

Keep in mind that crowds in those years were estimates and Iowa, like other schools around the nation, had inflated attendance counts. Capacity at Iowa Fieldhouse is now listed as 13,365.

If Iowa would seize a Big Ten championship now, a spot in the National Collegiate playoffs would naturally follow.

After the 1978-79 regular season, five Big Ten teams -- Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana and Ohio State -- went to post-season tournaments.

These days, if you're pretty good but not quite good enough to get into the NCAA playoffs, there's always the National Invitation Tournament.

It didn't quite work out that way for IVES' Iowa teams.

There was the war, you know.

"We were invited to a tournament after my first season," IVES said, "but there were travel restrictions because of the war. In addition, at the end of the season we didn't have enough guys left on the team to scrimmage. Some were going into the military.

"We had problems the next season, too. Some of the guys didn't want to leave school to play in a post-season tournament, so we had to decline the invitation."

Iowa tied for third place in the Big Ten in IVES' junior year and tied for sixth when he was a senior. In his four seasons, he scored 843 points. In a fitting farewell to his career, IVES scored 19 points in a 51-28 win over Purdue on March 2, 1947.

"In my senior year," he said, "we had a big guy named Noble JORGENSON, who, in my estimation, could have been the greatest player of my era.

"He could have been even better than George MIKAN, but he never played that way and eventually flunked out of school."

IVES GOT his degree in 1947 in physical education, then coached basketball and baseball for one year at old Parsons College. NOTE: IVES was drafted into NBA' Pittsburgh Ironmen in 1947.

"I then went into the hardware business in Cedar Rapids, and married a girl from there. We moved to Florida in 1954."

IVES, who has been divorced for five years, is in partnership in a company in Miami that processes potatoes for restaurants.

He has a daughter, Susan, 26, who teaches school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"I've been staying with friends lately," IVES said, "because my home nearly burned down. The air conditioner got too hot and caused a fire that did $20,000 in damage."

IVES watches basketball occasionally on television, but hasn't seen a college game in person for quite a while.

"I play golf quite a bit," he said. "I picked up a club for the first time the week I graduated from Iowa. I recall playing on a course that had sand greens out there along the road from Iowa City to Davenport."

IVES had great admiration for HARRISON, the late coach.

"He was a wonderful individual and a very inspiring man," IVES said. "A couple of months before he died, about 30 of his former players got together for a party with him.

"Even though Pops was on his death bed, he gave a speech you wouldn't believe. What an inspiration."

Not until John JOHNSON scored 46 points on Dec. 7, 1968 did an Iowa player ever surpass IVES' 43 against Chicago.

IVES' total is still No. 3 on the school's all-time list. JOHNSON's 49, which came Feb. 24, 1970 is No. 1.

"I have no regrets about anything that happened to me at Iowa," said IVES. "Well, I guess I do think they still owe me that $65 in tuition money."

The Milwaukee Journal
Milwaukee, Wisconson
January 30, 1944

DICK IVES PACES
Iowa to Sixth Victory, 52-40

Pours In 14 Field Goals Against Indiana;
Mates Maintain Perfect Slate in Conference Play

BLOOMINGTON, IND. (AP) -- With Dick IVES pouring in 14 field goals and engineering an attack that kept Iowa in front all the way, the Hawkeyes maintained a perfect Big Ten basketball record by defeating Indiana Saturday night, 52-40. It was Iowa's sixth consecutive conference victory.

Iowa defeated the Hoosiers Frinday night 43-42.

The victors grabbed an early six point advantage and fought off every Hoosier rally. Iowa led, 26-19, at halftime.

Ives spread his 28 point total equally over the two periods, getting seven field goals in each half. He was followed in the individual scoring tabulations by his running mate, Dave DANNER, who flipped 10 points.

IOWA         INDIANA   
  FG FT F        FG FT F
Ives, f. 14  0 3      Shields, f.  2  1 0
Danner, f.   4  2 1      Retherford, f.  4  0 0
Herwig, c.   2  1 2      Peed, c.  1  1 0
Postels, g.   1  0 2      Brandenburg, g.  3  1 2
Spencer, g.   3  1 0      Young, g.  3  1 0
              Mercer, g.  2  0 1
              Ray, f.  3  0 1
TOTALS24  4 8      TOTALS18  4 4

  At half- Iowa 26, Indiana 19. Free throws missed - Indiana 4 (PEED, SHIELDS 2, BRANDENBURG); Iowa 2 (DANNER, HERWIG).

Chicago Daily Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
January 30, 1944

IVES SPARKS HAWKEYES to SIXTH STRAIGHT

Led by Dead-Eye Dick IVES' 28 points, unbeaten Iowa dealt Indian its second defeat in as many nights, 52 to 40, here last night to pull up even with Purdue at the top of the Big Ten standings with six victories. It was the fifth straight conference defeat for the Hoosiers.

The Eugene Register-Guard
January 29, 1944

FRESHMAN CAGER BREAKS IOWA SCORING RECORD

IOWA CITY IA -- Dick IVES played only 22 1/2 minutes against Western Illinois State Teachers yet made 37 points for the new Iowa individualand field house records. IVES hit 16 field goals and five of eight free throws as the Hawkeyes smothered the visitors, 82-34, for a new record team total. Records broken by the 17-year-old freshman forward were Tom CHAPMAN'S Iowa mark of 29 and the 31 made by Ralph HAMILTON, Indiana forward, last season.

The Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
January, 1990

IVES' 43 POINTS in '44 SHOCKED THE NATIONS

Because of the manpower shortage brought on by World War II, college freshmen were eligible for varsity athletic competition during the 1943-44 season. In the fall of 1943, a 17-year-old from Diagonal turned down a scholarship offer from Drake University to dribble after his dream. Dick IVES enrolled at the University of Iowa, paid his $65 tuition fee and joined Coach Pops HARRISON'S basketball team.

On the night of Feb 5, 1944, just 12 games into his rookie season, the 6-foot 1-inch Ives gained national attention when he scored a Big Ten record 43 points against the University of Chicago. IVES, who made 19 field goals and five free throws, did his damage in just 31 minutes of play.

The Hawkeyes' 103-31 victory in Iowa Fieldhouse that night set 17 school or Big Ten records, including the first 100-point game. It wiped out Iowa's previous single game total against a league foe by an eye-popping 39 points, and it was a record that stood for 21 seasons.

He also became the first freshman to lead the Big Ten in scoring.

Iowa won the Big Ten title in IVES' sophomore season. He again led the team in scoring. He was the Hawkeyes' leading scorer for a third straight season as a junior. He left Iowa a three-time all-American.

After that record-setting February night, IVES was known as the "Diagonal Deadeye" the rest of his career.

As one might imagine, Dick IVES is a well known name in athletic circles.

DICK IVES

Richard "Dick" IVES was born on April 26, 1926, Diagonal, Iowa, the son of Oscar Raymond "Pete" and Faye IVES. He attended Diagonal High School from 1939 to 1943, and, with the help of O. C. "Pop" VARNER'S coaching, he became on of the State of Iowa's most prolific high school basketball scorers of the time. Both Dick and his older brother Max were members of Diagonal's 1938 state tournament championship team.

Although Dick was offered a full scholarship at Drake University in Des Moines, he had always wanted to be a Hawkeye. In 1943, he paid his own tutition and enrolled at the University of Iowa, a seventeen-year-old fresham. Dick played under coach Pops HARRISON who had an overall winning percentage of .700 during his years there, 1943-1950.

As a freshman, Dick had an immediate impact upon the team and was on the starting line-up. Dick's 43 points scored in a single game against the University of Chicago in 1943 remained intact in the record books for the next quarter of a centery. To date, Dick's achievement remains #3 on the team's all-time list for the single game scoring.

During the 1943-44 season, Dick's total scores of 327 points in an 18 game schedule, including non-conference games, set a new school record. Dick was named to the 1944 All-American Basketball Team. He would be honored as such two more times in his sophomore and junior years.

Dick was named on Iowa University's all-decade team of the 1940's, and was the 90th member of the Des Moines Sunday Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame. Upon graduating from the University of Iowa in 1947 with a degree in physical education, Dick was drafted by Pittsburg [Ironmen] to play in the NBA.

Dick coached basketball and baseball for a time at Parsons College. He married Joan NEWTON and they lived in Cedar Rapids where Dick had a hardware business. The IVES moved to Florida in 1954 and had a daughter, Susan.

NOTE: Oscar Raymond IVES, the son of U. Grant IVES (1865-1911) and Maude (CAMP) IVES (1871-1951), was born March 30, 1891, and died at Diagonal at the age of 92 years in May of 1984. Edna "Faye" (BROWN) IVES was born August 14, 1892, and died in January of 1974, Diagonal, Iowa. Richard "Dick" IVES was born April 29, 1926 at Diagonal, and died at the age of 71 years, May 5, 1997, Miami, Florida.

SOURCES:
Des Moines Register, April 8, 1979
FINN, Mike, LEISTIKOW, Chad. Hawkeye Legends, Lists, & Lore p. 79. Sports Publishing LLC. 1998.
TURNBULL, Buck. Hoop Tales p. 15. Globe Pequot Press Inc. 2006.
FETTY, Jack. Rings of Gold Pp. 46-49. Palindrome Pub. Co. Iowa. 2007.

Transcriptions and note by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2009; updated June of 2010

publication and date clipped

A Hero's Farewell

Maybe it's old age, maybe it's nostalgia, but I thought it would be remiss of me not to write more than a couple of lines about the death of one of the University of Iowa's great basketball players. Dick Ives, 47BSPE, of Diagonal, IA. Dick resided in Miami, FL, when he died in May 1997.

Basketball at Iowa has always been good, sometimes very good, but until Dick Ives arrived on campus in 1943, Iowa had never contended for a championship like it did in our era, 1943-48. It was like Iowa's version of the film Hoosiers.

With three young Iowa teenagers only one year out of high school and in the starting lineup, the Hawks finished second in the Big Ten, losing the championship in the final week of competition in 1994. These three teenagers, all from Iowa, marked the start of "our golden era." They were Diagonal's Dick Ives, Davenport's Jack Spencer 49BSPE, and Iowa City's Dave Danner 47BA.

The next year Iowa won its first undisputed Big Ten basketball championship with a 17-1 record, The following year, 1946, the Hawkeyes finished third. 1 mention only some of the starters from that era who made the Hawks a perennial power: Herb and Clayton Wilkinson, from Salt Lake City, UT; Ned Pastel, from Grinnell; and Muscatine's Murray Wier.

At Dick's funeral, the Diagonal museum displayed all of Dick's clippings and basketball pictures and the pastor alluded to his many records and accomplishments. It was a touching tribute by the people of Diagonal to bring home a favorite son to his final resting place on a hill overlooking the town and his old high school where he came to prominence.

The silence in the cemetery in this small town of 300 people was deafening. When Dick was introduced as a young boy in the old Iowa Field House, more than 14,000 fans gave him standing ovations time after time. Dick was a three-time All-American, who led the league in scoring and set a single game record of 43 points.

It was an honor for me to be one of his pallbearers, along with former teammates Jack Spencer, Ned Pastel, Murray Wier, Dave Danner, Charles Mason, and good friend Dutch Schlesselman.

~ Bob Schultzm 50BSPE, 51MA
Des Moines, Iowa

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2015

  • Dick Ives' obituary


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