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Iowa History Daily: December 21 - Bucky O'Connor & the Fabulous Five

Iowa History Daily: On December 21, 1913, legendary Iowa Hawkeye basketball coach Frank “Bucky” O’Connor was born in Monroe. Head Hawk on the hardwood from 1949 to 1958, O’Connor led Iowa to back-to-back Big 10 Championships and Final Four appearances in 1955 and 1956.

Growing up on the border between Jasper and Monroe counties, O’Connor graduated from Newton High School before attending Drake. A leader for the Bulldogs, Bucky served as captain of the basketball team during his senior year. After graduation he coached at Boone High School before joining the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. When he returned from the war O’Connor went back to Boone where he worked in athletics at both Boone High School and Boone Junior College (now DMACC).

Hired as the freshman basketball coach and golf coach at the University of Iowa in 1948, O'Connor took over as head coach in 1949-1950 when the former coach stepped down. O’Connor got the job full-time in 1951 and led the Hawkeyes to a 19-3 record during his first season. He quickly set about recruiting a group known as the “Fabulous Five” consisting of Sharm Scheuerman, Bill Seaberg, Carl Cain, Bill Schoof and Bill Logan. 

The group brought unparalleled success to Iowa City while winning the Big 10 in both 1955 and 1956. Advancing to the NCAA Final Four both years, the Hawkeyes reached historic heights by playing in the National Championship to close out the run of the “Fabulous Five” in 1956. Although the Hawkeyes fell to a San Francisco squad featuring future NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, the team still stands as one of the greatest in Hawkeye history. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar

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