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DESTINED FOR FAME

New members to be inducted Saturday

The head men’s basketball coach for 40 seasons and an instructor who organized the Festival of Nations are among those to be inducted into the Iowa Central Hall of Fame at Iowa Central Community College on Saturday.

The honorees are:

• Dennis Pilcher, former head basketball coach and athletic director.

• Patty Croonquist, retired advanced instructor and international student adviser.

• Denny Drake, senior vice president of corporate integrity and general counsel for UnityPoint Health.

• Jeff Harris, retired high school teacher and musical director.

• Tony Middleton, first-team All American football player.

• Hailey Haupts, standout volleyball and softball player.

• The 1982 men’s basketball team.

“For more than 50 years, Iowa Central has helped students get to the next step to achieve their dreams and be a vibrant part of their community,” said college President Jesse Ulrich. “Our Hall of Fame event provides Iowa Central, fellow alumni, faculty and staff a chance to recognize their contributions and accomplishments.”

Denny Drake

He graduated from Iowa Central in 1971 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines in 1973. He earned a law degree from Drake University in 1977.

He created and led the law department for UnityPoint Health, with oversight of 18 lawyers and offices in three states.

He is the past chair of the Iowa Bar Association’s Health Law Section.

Drake will be enshrined as a distinguished alumnus.

-Messenger file photo
Dennis Pilcher, the former head men’s basketball coach at Iowa Central Community College, watches the action from the sidelines during a past game. Pilcher, who was the Tritons coach for 40 seasons, will be inducted into the Iowa Central Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Jeff Harris

He earned an associate degree from Iowa Central in 1975. He then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

He taught at Westwood High School in Mesa, Arizona. During his career, 400 of his students earned All-State Singers honors.

He was also the musical director for Mesa Musical Theater and director of music at Scottsdale United Methodist Church. Harris was the founding director of the Sonoran Desert Chorale.

Harris will be enshrined as a distinguished alumnus.

Patty Croonquist

Croonquist’s roles at the college included advanced instructor, international student adviser, coordinator of the modern language program, and chair of the Iowa Central Festival of Nations.

She is a graduate of Iowa Central.

She will be enshrined as a distinguished faculty member.

Tony Middleton

Middleton played linebacker for the Tritons in 1972 and 1973. Both years, he was a first-team All-American.

Iowa Central went undefeated in regular season play both years and Middleton played in the 1973 national championship game.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1976. He is retired from a career in the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense.

Hailey Haupts

She received first team All-Region honors in both volleyball and softball in 2007. She was also first team All-Region in 2006.

She holds several sports career records.

Haupts was also an Academic All-American with a 3.9 GPA.

Dennis Pilcher

Pilcher was a coach for 51 seasons, with 40 of those being at Iowa Central.

He had 759 wins at Iowa Central. His win total is 856, placing him 12th all-time among junior college head coaches.

His teams went to the NJCAA national tournament in 1990 and 2012.

Pilcher was named the Region XI Coach of the Year in 1990 and 2012.

He coached four first team All-Americans.

1982 men’s basketball team

The team went 28-4, losing in the finals to Burlington. It was Pilcher’s third season.

The team had many area players. Its roster included three from Palmer: Bob Beneke, Brent Aden and Barry Aden. Other local players included Craig Aljets, Pomeroy; Dean Black, Barnum; Tom Doster, Manson; Tony Henderson, Lu Verne; and Mike Mosely, Fort Dodge.


Induction ceremony set for Saturday

The Iowa Central Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Iowa Central Community College campus in Fort Dodge.

It will begin with a social hour followed by the honoring of the inductees.

A buffet meal will be served. A silent auction will be held.

Tickets cost $25.

Call the Iowa Central Bookstore at (515) 574-1081 to buy tickets.

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