Iowa State University is planning a year-long tribute to Jack Trice, the university’s first black athlete, who died in Ames on October 8th, 1923 from injuries he suffered two days earlier in a football game.
The Cyclone’s football stadium is named in honor of Trice, and commemoration committee chair Toyia Younger says the street outside will be too. “We’ve been working with the city of Ames in terms of renaming part of the street, and it’s actually the street right in front of the stadium, which is currently fourth South Fourth Street, in between the stadium right there on University and Beech Avenue, will be renaming that Jack Trice Way,” she says.
Younger is the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, and says the celebration of the 100th anniversary of his death will include all aspects of Trice’s life.
“We’ve been working closely with the family and making sure that we’re honoring his legacy, that we’re celebrating the life that he lived, but also just commemorating this unique time in Iowa State history, and making sure that we tell the story about who he was as a person, not just the athlete,” Younger says.
Younger says Trice’s story got a lot of national attention last year when College Game Day came to Ames for the Cy-Hawk football game. “They did a whole story on Jack Trice, sharing his story talking about the connection to Iowa State University, talking about the stadium and the renaming,” Younger says. “And friends and colleagues from all over the country said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I had never heard that story. That was so cool.’ And so I think that that helps to be quite honest.”
She says it’s a story that is known within the state — but says she didn’t know about it when she came to the university in 2020. “I remember when I first moved to Ames and I got off that highway, and I made the turn the corner and was driving towards the stadium and was like, wow, what an amazing stadium and I saw the name and I was like, ‘Who is that?’,” Younger says. “You know, I even had to dig in. And so I have learned more about Jack Trice over these past couple of years. And I think his story is so amazing, and needs to be told it needs to be shared.”
There will be a variety of events to share that story — including a concrete and bronze sculpture that will be installed outside the stadium. “It’s called Breaking Barriers. And the more that I learned about Jack Trice, I think about the barriers that he broke, particularly for African Americans. And so for African American woman at Iowa State, I feel connected to that story in such a powerful way. And so I think that that’s something awesome that should be shared and should be told,” Younger says.
Other events include a series of lectures throughout this academic year about race and the legacy of Jack Trice. The University Museums will open an exhibit in January called, “Honoring Jack Trice.” The Cyclone football team will wear throwback football uniforms during a home game during the 2023 season. Learn more about the celebration at jacktrice100.com.