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Monday, May 2, 2016

Basic Biitner: Offenburger's top Iowa prep athletes

Monday, April 10, 2006

I recently purchased the book, "Bernie Saggau and the Iowa High School Athletic Association" by 'Iowa Boy' Chuck Offenburger.

The book is interesting and informative, tracing the 100-year history of the organization , its executive directors - Lyle Quinn, Bernie Saggau, and current Director Rick Wulkow, and Iowa coaches and players. Stories abound, and it will bring back a lot of memories for readers who have followed Iowa high school boys' athletics over the years.

One of the most interesting chapters to me, of course, being an admitted "list-lover", is Offenburger's listing of the Top 25 male prep athletes in Iowa history. Some, of course, were easy, automatic choices , but in there are other cases where the athlete may not be as well known or remembered.

Thankfully, Offenburger does more than just print the list of names - each athlete has a detailed biography as well. There is also a chapter on Iowans who achieved fame in something other than athletics, but who did participate in athletics, and share their memories and thoughts on that experience.

I would heartily recommend the book to anyone who is interested. It is available in paperback as well as hardcover, and an order form can be printed out on the IHSAA website. Payment is by check or money order only. It can be purchased, or ordered, at the Bookseller in Cherokee as well.

Before anyone gets too upset, I should tell you that Offenburger has also written a book about Wayne Cooley and the Girls' Athletic Union - and he wrote that one in 2002. I haven't read that one yet, though, so I can't personally recommend it , but it is out there if you would like to purchase a copy.

Here is Chuck Offenburger's list. I have listed them in chronological order, as did Offenburger in his book. You'll have to read the book to find out more biographical information about the athletes.

"Moco" Mercer, Albia (graduated in 1922)

Nile Kinnick, Adel (1936)

Bob Feller, Van Meter (1937)

Jack Dittmer, Elkader (1946)

John Estes Jr., Des Moines North (1946)

Bernie Bennett, Mason City (1949)

Gary Thompson, Roland (1953)

Randy Duncan, Des Moines Roosevelt (1955)

Eddie Bedell, Burlington (1956)

Jim Wagner, Cedar Rapids Regis (1963)

Ed Podolak, Atlantic (1965)

Jim Abrahamson, Marshalltown (1966)

Dan Gable, Waterloo West (1966)

Ron Kennedy, Storm Lake (1969)

Jerry Moses, Waterloo East (1970)

Ted Burgmeier, Dubuque Wahlert (1974)

Curtis Craig, Davenport Central (1974)

Fred Hoiberg, Ames (1991)

Casey Blake, Indianola (1992)

Tim Dwight, City High, Iowa City (1994)

Zeron Flemister, Sioux City West (1995)

Darin Naatjes, West Lyon (1999)

Nate Kaeding, Iowa City West (2000)

Adam Haluska, Carroll (2002)

Joel Osborn, Harlan (2004)

In addition, Offenburger names another 100 athletes to join the "Top 25" on a Centennial Honor Roll. Included on that honor roll, by the way, are Neil Fegebank and Randy Kraayenbrink of Paullina, and Doug Lockin of Aurelia.