IOWA CITY — John Raffensperger, a Waterloo native and a member of the Northern Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame, died early Monday morning in his home in Iowa City after a six-year battle with cancer.
The man known to many as “Raff” is regarded as one of the greatest high school track and field coaches in Iowa history.
As head coach at Iowa City High, he was the first coach to win 10 Iowa high school state championships. He was elected to the Iowa Track Coaches Hall of Fame in 1997 and retired in 2003. Iowa City High’s track has since been named John Raffensperger Track.
His teams at City High won 17 Mississippi Valley Conference divisional titles, 11 MVC Super Meets and he coached 56 individual athletes to state titles with 36 others winning Drake Relay championships.
Raff returned to the track in 2007, joining the Hawkeye program when his former star pupil and current Iowa director of track and field and cross country Joey Woody lured him out of retirement. The 2019 season was his 13th on the Hawkeye coaching staff. Raffensperger also coached Tim Dwight.
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Raffensperger worked on the Iowa football and basketball statistical crews for 50 years. In 2012, he was named an honorary letterwinner at the University of Iowa. His father, Leonard Raffensperger, was Iowa football head coach from 1950-51.
A two-sport athlete at the University of Northern Iowa, Raffensperger played football and track before earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1962. He and his wife, Sharon, were married more than 50 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren.
A visitation is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Iowa City High School. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City.
Further details will be available at lensingfuneral.com.