Iowa History Daily: March 24 - Lute & The Hawks
Iowa History Daily: On March 24, 1980, Lute Olson’s Iowa Hawkeyes lost in the NCAA Final Four. Led by star guard Ronnie Lester, Iowa’s 1980 appearance represents the program’s most recent appearance to date.
Upon taking the Iowa job six years earlier, Lute Olson noted: "People didn't go from Long Beach to Iowa, they went from Iowa to Long Beach," Olson said. "I thought, 'well, I'm just going to break that trend.” Olson quickly turned around the Hawkeyes and eventually made five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
With Lester injured for part of the season, the Hawkeyes headed for the 48-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament after finishing the season 18-8 record (10-8, 4th Big 10). Led in points and assists in the regular season by guard Kenny Arnold, who played much of the season with a broken right thumb, the Hawks got hot to start the tournament with wins over VCU, NC State, and #1 seed Syracuse. Against Georgetown in the Elite Eight, Iowa City’s own Steve Waite hit a last second basket and free-throw to beat the Hoyas.
Although Iowa fell short against Louisville in the Final Four, the season still stands as a memorable moment in Hawkeye history. Steve Krafcisin, longtime DMACC women’s basketball coach, gained distinction as the first player to appear in the Final Four for two different teams (also UNC in 1976-1977). #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar