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Catching up with: Nolden Gentry

[ 0 ] April 7, 2012 |

Gentry, a longtime attorney, knows his way around a court.

He led Rockford (Ill.) West to back-to-back state championships in 1955 and ’56. As a junior, he scored the game-winning basket in the final. He scored 17 points in the title game as a senior, capping a two-year 55-2 record.

Gentry, a 6-foot-7 forward and center at Iowa, averaged about 10 points in a three-year varsity career. He led Iowa with 10.9 rebounds a game in the 1957-58 season. Iowa went 37-31 during his career.

He also competed for the Iowa track team for one season, specializing in the high jump.

After graduation, Gentry pursued a legal career, which will reach 50 years in 2014. He’s a founding partner of the Brick Gentry firm in West Des Moines. He has three children. He’s also a member of the University of Iowa Foundation’s board of directors.

What has the transition from the old Field House to Carver-Hawkeye Arena been like?

That old Field House had a lot of pluses. With a steel floor, it could give some opponents fits. You had to look around steel girders. The facilities now are first-class in the Big TenConference. But they did lose a lot of that home-field advantagewhen they went to Carver-Hawkeye.

What made you decide to go into the legal profession?

I had a cousin who was an attorney. It sounded interesting, it seemed to be a field in which someone could make a difference.

Former Iowa teammate Don Nelson recently was named to the Naismith Hall of Fame. What has it been like to follow his career?

When he entered Iowa, he was a very quiet young man. He didn’t say a couple of words. He was a good shooter close to the basket, he was very strong, which you had to have as a forward. He didn’t care who scored, if it was him or one of his teammates. That has been his philosophy not only as a player, but also in his coaching career, which has been extremely successful.

How has the world changed for African-American attorneys?

It’s totally different. Today there are a significant number. The area has really opened up for African-Americans in the practice of law.

You have served on the Drake Relays board of directors. What athlete pops out in your mind as someone really special?

Michael Johnson’s performance when he came as a member of the Baylor track team really stands out, as far as performances go. There are probably too many to mention. The Drake Relays is an event that brings out the best in people.

— John Naughton

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

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