Jan. 10, 2012
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- There will be more than a basketball game on Feb. 4 when Penn State visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena. That Saturday will be a special afternoon as the UI men's basketball program will honor the 1986-87 Hawkeyes.
Former UI head coach Tom Davis, and a majority of players and staff from the 1987 team will reunite in Iowa City.
That team, which was the top-ranked team in the country for a number of weeks during the season, set the program's single-season record for wins (30) and was one game from the earning the program's fourth Final Four appearance.
Eight players from the 1987 team ultimately went on to get drafted in the NBA, while others played professionally overseas.
Since last September, the wheels have been in motion by director of basketball operations Jerry Strom in getting this group back together.
"Les Jepsen and I started talking about having a silver anniversary reunion," said Strom. "Les got a positive response after talking with some of his teammates so we decided to move forward. This team had a magical run and is part of Iowa basketball history."
Jepsen, who was a freshman on the 1987 squad, was instrumental in talking to his former teammates and orchestrating the reunion.
"One afternoon, I made a couple phone calls and this all kind of came together," said Jepsen. "I haven't seen a lot of the guys for a long time. We figured now would be a good time to get people together, have them see Iowa's new facilities and get the guys a little more involved in the program."
Players, coaches and staff that are able to make it back that weekend will come together the night of Feb. 3 for a private dinner and social. Fans will have an opportunity to see and meet this illustrious group before the Feb. 4 game. There will be an autograph session of selected players and coaches from 12:30-1:30 p.m. around the concourse. Following autographs there will be a pregame ceremony recognizing the team and its accomplishments.
Jepsen was extremely humble when asked about how excited he was in having the opportunity for this team to be recognized.
"Being honored is a nice gesture, but we'll be there to help support the current Hawkeyes and that's the focal point, not us," said Jepsen. "A lot of these guys lost touch with the program, which is not good. We got away after Tom Davis left. It will be good to get teammates back to support the program."
Not only is that afternoon the silver anniversary reunion for the 1987 team, but it is also "Lettermen's Day", as a number of former Hawkeyes will be in attendance. As an added bonus for fans, the current UI squad will wear special throwback jerseys from the early mid-80's.
"The throwback jersey idea took a lot of work," said Jepsen. "I believe this is a terrific idea by Jerry. We'll merge the past with the present, in a good way."
Sophomore Roy Devyn Marble is particularly excited about donning a jersey that his father, Roy, once wore.
"It should be a memorable moment for my dad and I and both teams," said Devyn. "The throwback jersey is really nice; I can't wait to put it on. It will be a great afternoon."
If you haven't already bought your tickets for this special day, be sure to contact the UI Ticket Office before the game is sold out. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youths.
In addition to autographs, meeting the team and throwback jerseys there will be a commemorative program and an 80's theme throughout the day.