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Leading off

Leading off


Jim Hallihan (right) was the right-hand man for Iowa State men's basketball legend Johnny Orr. Hallihan died Friday at the age of 75. 

College athletics

  • Jim Hallihan, former Iowa State assistant men’s basketball coach, who was a member of Johnny Orr’s staff for 12 years, died Friday. He was 75.

Hallihan, a native of Decatur, Ill., was Orr’s top assistant from 1982-94 and was elevated to associate head coach in 1993. During his tenure in Ames, the Cyclone men’s hoops program became a national player, earning six NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1986.

Sellout crowds were the norm and “Hilton Magic” was born during Hallihan’s years in Ames, as the Cyclones were the toast of the town. Five times the Cyclones eclipsed the 20-win mark in a season and nationally-ranked opponents were defeated 24 times.

Hallihan helped mentor six Cyclones who went onto NBA careers.

When Orr was ill or absent, Hallihan took over coaching duties and compiled a 6-1 mark.

Prior to arriving at Iowa State, Hallihan was the head coach at East Tennessee State from 1979-82, registering a 57-53 record. He was also an assistant coach at Virginia Tech from 1971-75.

Hallihan held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Miami (Ohio) where he was a two-year starter on the basketball team. He was named captain in his senior season.

After Orr’s retirement in 1994, Hallihan remained in Ames and served as Iowa Sports Foundation Executive Director for the Iowa Games. During his tenure, the foundation grew from two events and 16,000 athletes to over 20 events and 190,000 participants.


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Sports Reporter

I’m a Waterloo native who has covered Cedar Valley sports for more than 30 years for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. I’m also a big Cincinnati Reds fan … Go Big Red Machine!

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