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Thursday, May 5, 2016

IHSAA FB Hall of Fame

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CEDAR FALLS - At the halftime of the Class 4A State Football Championship Friday night the annual awards presentations will be held.

Six former high school players will be inducted into the IHSAA Hall of Fame. Those being honored are Paul Laaveg, Belmond; the late Mike Courey, Bishop Heelan, Sioux City; Dennis Gibson, Ankeny; Todd Twachtmann, Marion; Michael Burger, Harlan Community, and Tim Dwight, Iowa City, City High.

The Iowa Football Coaches Association will honor four of its members - three with Hall of Fame induction - Dave Jacobson, Claude Post and Randy Scott. In addition the Walt Fiegel Award for Coaching with Character will honor Gaylord Schelling, recently retired Atlantic coach.

Profiles of the player honorees follow:

*PAUL LAAVEG, Belmond: An outstanding all-around athlete, Laaveg also starred in basketball and was third in the state track meet in the hurdles. He was a four year grid starter during a glorious Belmond era before the playoffs started. As a versatile performer on a team that featured excellent balance, he was an All-North Iowa Conference selection three times and also earned All-State recognition as a senior by the IDPA and Des Moines Register. His talents did not go un-rewarded by the college coaches as the University of Iowa won the recruiting battle. Following his freshman year as a receiver, he was switched to the interior line during the Ray Nagel era and his blocking helped to spring running backs Ed Podalak and Denny Green. He was chosen for the 1970 Blue-Gray All-Star game and after graduating in business administration, he was drafted by Vince Lombardi of the Washington Redskins. In 1973 he was the starting guard for George Allen's Redskins in Super Bowl VII won by Miami, 14-7. A neck injury forced an early retirement from the NFL after seven seasons and 72 games. He is involved in a construction business in Virginia and he and his wife Nancy have raised a son, Jake, and leave in Bluemont, VA.

*MIKE COUREY, Bishop Heelan, Sioux City: The late Courey quarterbacked Coach Dave Triplett's Heelan Crusaders to a 19-2 record his junior and senior seasons, including the 1975 Class 4A State Championship over Waterloo West, 16-6. It was Bishop Heelan's first ever playoff appearanc and the Crusaders returned in 1976 advancing to the semifinals before losing. As a junior he compiled over 1,000 yards in total offense, then amassed 1,550 yards as a senior, which boosted him to a consensus All-State selection, a member of the Des Moines Register's Elite Team and Parade All-American honors. He also led the Crusaders to the State Basketball Tournament twice and was on the 1976 All-Tournament Team. He was recruited by Dan Devine at Notre Dame and as a freshman saw limited duty at halfback on a national championship team. In 1978 he played flanker and in 1979 he was the back-up quarterback. He won the starting quarterback job in 1980. Graduating with a degree in business administration, he went west and did what he loved - coaching. He was a volunteer high school coach and assisted at Division III colleges. He later returned to Sioux City and worked as a professional painter. In 2006 a malignant nerve tumor was discovered in his back and 19 months later, he died at age 48.

*DENNIS GIBSON, Ankeny: A key figure on Ankeny's first ever playoff team in 1981, he was a defensive stalwart. A broken collarbone curtailed his junior year but as a senior he was a team captain, led the squad with 108 tackles including 12 sacks and a blocked punt. His play earned him all conference and All-State honors. From Ankeny he went to Iowa State where he earned a reputation as one of the toughest linebackers in Cyclone history. He started three seasons and finished first or second in tackles twice. He was twice named ISU's Defensive Player of the Year and was chosen for the annual Blue-Gray All-Star game. In the 1987 NFL Draft he was taken by the Detroit Lions and started every game at inside linebacker through 1993, including the 1991 NFC Championship. He was traded to San Diego and in the 1995 AFC title game, he made the defensive play of the game in the end zone, deflecting a potential Pittsburgh Steelers' TD pass and sending the Chargers to their first and only Super Bowl appearance. In a nine year NFL career, he started 120 of 121 games and recorded 582 tackles. He is a volunteer coach for the last four years in Ankeny's Jr. Football League. He and his wife Melissa have four children, sons Vance, Hayes and Jenner and daughter Eden. He owns and operates Encore Pizza in Johnston.

*TODD TWACHTMANN, Marion: Twachtmann remains as one of the finest athletes in the greater Cedar Rapids area. He helped Marion to a three year record of 29-4. Three playoff trips ensued including the 1980 State 3A Championship and a semifinal round berth in 1981, when the Indians lost to the eventual champion. He earned first team all-conference and first team All-State recognition each year. He was chosen for the 1983 Shrine Bowl All-Star game. In addition he was a two-time first team All-State catcher, earned All-State laurels in basketball and golfed on a team that took third in the state meet. The valedictorian of his graduating class, he did his college work at Dartmouth College where he played freshman football and excelled in baseball and academics. He won Dartmouth's Kenneth Archibald Prize for the best all around athlete with regard to moral worth and high standing in scholarship. He has two engineering degrees and holds three U.S. Patents. In 1992 he earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Iowa, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. An outstanding fast-pitch softball player he has played in the Pan American Games and several World Tournaments. He currently has a leadership position with Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids. He and his wife Susan have raised two daughters, Piper and Megan, and a son, Andrew.

*MICHAEL BURGER, Harlan: A marvelous two-way high school football performer, he had an illustrious career for Curt Bladt's teams before continuing his football exploits at the University of Iowa. He was a three-year starter at Harlan and graduated with three career state records - 110 receptions, 30 TD catches and 2,374 receiving yards, all of which still rank in the top 15. He started on three playoff teams that combined for a 34-4 record, the 1993 state title, runner-up in 1992, and a semifinalist finish in 1991. He was a first team consensus All-State selection in 1992 and 1993, a member of the 1993 Des Moines Register Elite Team, and selected for the Shrine Bowl All-Star Game. Valedictorian of his class, he was also a three year starter in basketball, earning first team All-State honors as a senior. He played baseball and was a multiple year place winner at the Drake Relays and State Meet in track. At Iowa, he played almost exclusively at fullback where his blocking skills were utilized for 1,000 yard rushers Sedrick Shaw and Tavian Banks. He played on three bowl teams with the Hawks, was the captain of the 1998 team, and five times was named to the All Big 10 Academic Team. He taught briefly in Nebraska before becoming a sales manager for Abbott Laboratories in 2000. He and his wife Libby live in Olathe, KS where they are raising a daughter Libby and two boys Jack and Evan.

*TIM DWIGHT, Iowa City, City High: He scored an 87 yard TD as a freshman in his first ever carry during the playoffs and although injuries slowed him his sophomore season his final two campaigns unleashed accomplishments that fans remember to this day. A two-time first team All-State player, Midwest Gatorade Player-of-the-Year and a Parade All-American, he played on two playoff teams. The Little Hawks lost a 1992 semifinal round cliffhanger, 31-28, to eventual champion Bettendorf and then delivered the school's first title in 1993 when his four touchdowns keyed a 42-14 win over Bishop Heelan, Sioux City. In track he was a 12-time state sprint and long jump champion. At the University of Iowa, thrilling kick returns and pass receptions punctuated his career as he helped the Hawks to three bowl games. He was a consensus first team All-American in 1997 and led the nation with a 19.3 average on 19 punt returns. He is the only Hawkeye to gain over 1,000 career yards punt returns (1,012), kickoff returns (1,195) and receiving (2,271). He played 10 years in the NFL. With Atlanta he returned five kickoffs (one for a touchdown) and a record 42 ypr in Super Bowl XXXIII. He stays connected with Iowa City through the Tim Dwight Foundation that helps needy kids with scholarships and provides assistance to the Children's Hospital of Iowa. He is a solar architect with Integrated Power of Novato, CA.

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