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More Famous Iowans

Updated on February 6, 2013
Rick Wanamaker
Rick Wanamaker | Source

©joaniebaby 05/24/2012


Rick Wanamaker was born on March 20, 1948 in Marengo, Iowa, and went on to be a great basketball player and decathlete. He was a Top Ten U.S. Decathlete from 1970 to 1974, and was the 1970 NCAA national champion. An All- American in 1970, he was also the AAU National Champion in Decathlon in 1971, with a score of 7989. Also in 1971, he was the gold medalist in decathlon at the Pan American Games, with a score of 7648. One of the tallest successful candidates for the decathlon, he was 6'8" tall, and weighed 210 lbs.

After graduating from Marengo High School, he attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and studied advertising. Wanting to participate in the Drake Relays as a freshman, he chose the decathlon. The Drake Bulldog basketball team, of which Rick was a member, finished third in the 1969 NCAA basketball tournament. His most remembered game was the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament in Louisville, when he blocked a shot from Lew Alcindor who was 7'2" tall and one of the premier basketball players at the time.

Cap Anson
Cap Anson | Source


Born on April 17, 1852 in Marshalltown, Iowa, Cap Anson became one of the greatest baseball players of his era and one of the first superstars of the game. In 1939 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He played first base for the White Stockings, and then the Chicago Colts (now the Chicago Cubs) for a total of 27 seasons, and was one of the first players to have more than 3000 hits in his career.

Cap Anson was a mischievous young man, and in 1866 was sent away by his father to the high school age boarding school of the University of Notre Dame for two years. This did nothing to curtail his wild nature, so he was sent to the University of Iowa, but because of his bad behavior there he was asked to leave after the first semester.

At the age of 19, he began to play professionally in the National League and his best years were 1872 and 1873, during which time he finished in the top five in batting. Anson was named captain-manager of the White Stockings in 1879 and the team won five pennants between the years of 1880 and 1886. While he was captain-manager of this team, he obtained the nickname of "Cap."

Many baseball players of that era ended up traveling the vaudeville circuit and Cap Anson did that until about a year before his death. George M. Cohan wrote a monologue for him in 1914, and in 1917 also wrote another piece titled "First Aid for Father." Chicago Tribune sportswriter, Ring Lardner, also helped Cohan write that piece.

Lolo Jones
Lolo Jones | Source


Lolo Jones was born in Des Moines, Iowa on August 5, 1982. She had several serious obstacles to overcome in her early life, one of which was attendng eight different schools in eight years. Her mother had to hold down two jobs to support her family of six because her husband was either away in the Air Force or in prison. When her mother wanted to move to Forest City, Lolo said she couldn't do that because they didn't have a track there. So Lolo parted from her mother and lived with four different families while attending Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. While attending Roosevelt, Lolo kept up her grades, played the cello in the school orchestra, worked at a small coffee shop near school and excelled in track. She set a record at the Iowa State track meet for the 100-meter hurdles, with a time of 13.40.

She attended Louisiana State University where she continued to excel in track. There are too many records to list here, but she was an 11-time All-American and a 6-time SEC champion during her years at LSU and ranked among the top-three women for all time in both the 60-meter and 100-meter hurdles. The Drake Relays is the premier track event and in April of 2007 she won the 100-meter hurdles there. Jones finished third in the 100-meter hurdles in the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field championships which qualified her for the World Championships in Osaka, Japan where she took sixth place.

Over the years, she has had several disappointments, including hamstring injuries and hitting the hurdles. She was a big favorite in the 100-meter hurdles in Beijing in 2008, and was leading the pack when she hit the ninth hurdle (out of 10) and ended up a disappointing 7th place. When she competes at the Drake Relays, she is always a crowd favorite. This year (2012) her coach pulled her out of competition because of the inclement weather not wanting her to further injure herself.

As is true of most athletes, Lolo has donated money to her former high school for new track shoes, hurdles, and to repair the school's track surface. During a send-off ceremony in Des Moines before the 2008 Summer Olympics, Lolo donated the $4000 prize she earned for winning the Olympics trials to a single mother in Cedar Rapids, Iowa who had been hit by the Iowa flood of 2008. Just one example of giving back by wonderful young athletes from Iowa.

Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner | Source


Kurt Warner was born on June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa. He played high school football at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for their Class 3A team. After graduation he went to the University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls where he was finally given a chance to start at quarterback in his senior year, and was named the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

After graduating from UNI, he was not drafted in the 1994 football draft but was invited to tryout with the Green Bay Packers. He was released by the Packers before the start of the regular season. During this time Warner was working at a HyVee Grocery Store in Cedar Falls for $5.50/hr. stocking shelves, and also became a graduate assistant coach for the football team at UNI.

In 1995 Kurt decided to try arena football and signed with the Iowa Barnstormers in Des Moines, Iowa. He led the Barnstormers to Arena Bowl appearances in both 1996 and 1997 and was named to the AFL's First-Team All-Arena in both years. He was named 12th out of the 20 best Arena Football players of all time because of his impressive performances. He was named an inductee into the AFL Hall of Fame on August 12, 2011.

From 1998-2003 he played for the St. Louis Rams and won two MVP Awards in 1999 and 2001, as well as the Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XXXIV. In Super Bowl XLIII he led the 2008 Arizona Cardinals and had the three highest single-game passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history. His 65.5% passing completion is the third highest in NFL history and his 93.7 passer rating is the seventh highest.

In Super Bowl XXXIV he led his team, the Rams, to victory with two touchdown passes and 414 passing yards including a 73-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left and the game tied. In that game he attempted 45 passes without a single interception, and was awarded the MVP of the Super Bowl, making him only the seventh player to win both the league MVP and the Super Bowl MVP in the same year.

After a career that saw many ups and downs and many record performances, he announced his retirement on Janury 29, 2010. Kurt and his wife, Brenda, established the First Things First Foundation, and through this foundation they have helped children's hospitals, people with development disabilities, and assisted single parents. In 2008 Warner received the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for the work of his foundation. Warner was honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award in March of 2009. USA Weekend awarded Kurt the winner of its annual Most Caring Athlete Award for 2009 and a poll of NFL players named Warner the best role model on and off the field in the NFL in December of 2009. The Bart Starr Award given for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community was awarded to Warner in February of 2010. "We have never given this award to anyone who is more deserving," Bart Starr said at the presentation. All of these awards mean more to Kurt and Brenda than his many on-field accomplishments.


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