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Chris Street: More memories; anniversary is Saturday

[ 0 ] January 17, 2013 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa basketball standout Chris Street’s life, and legacy, have come to the forefront this week.

The 20th anniversary of his passing is Saturday, a day when the Hawkeyes host Wisconsin at 7 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. So just what would Street think about all this attention? We asked two people who would know better than anyone else.

“I think he’d kind of smile,” said Mike Street, his father.

Patty Street thinks her son would be humbled.

“He would say he wouldn’t really think he deserved it,” Patty said.

Humbled seems to be the proper word.

“He had a swagger to him,” Mike said. “But he’d be humbled.”

Street's career has been memorialized in the media all week. The Big Ten Network was in the Street home, in rural Milo, to interview for an upcoming segment of “The Journey.” Street's coach, Tom Davis, was also interviewed by BTN at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Wednesday.

Twenty years have passed since Street died in an automobile accident on the outskirts of Iowa City.

“I think a lot about that, I really do,” Patty said. “I was watching an Ohio State game the other night. And they showed Chris Jent (an assistant coach) on the bench, and he looked kind of old. And I thought, “Oh my gosh, he’s just a couple of years older than Christopher. And I’m thinking, “He’d be aging, too.’ ”

Street will be honored at halftime Saturday.

“We’ll have probably 40 to 50 family members there,” Mike Street said. “We’ll be excited to be there, excited the university is doing this, and we feel privileged to have the public in on this.”

Iowa’s Chris Street Award winners will be recognized during

the halftime ceremony. Wade Lookingbill was the first recipient, in 1993. Matt Gatens is the most recent winner, in 2012. The award is presented annually to “a Hawkeye player who best exemplifies the spirit, enthusiasm and intensity of Chris Street.”

Gatens, now playing professionally in Spain, doesn’t remember Street even though the two shared a dinner table several times. Gatens’ father, Mike, a former Iowa player, and Mike’s wife, Julie, would often host Iowa players. Street made more than a few visits to the Gatens home.

Iowa players will wear CMS 40 patches on their uniforms Saturday. Coaches will wear “40’ label pins. Street’s No. 40 was retired in 1993. Hawkeye players will also wear t-shirts that honor Street when they warm up.

On Tuesday, Iowa players were shown a video about Street, so they could better understand who he was and give added meaning to the memorial that is on a wall outside Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena locker room. Jerry Strom, Iowa's long-time director of basketball operations, also shared Street's legacy with the team.

“I think they had a pretty good feeling of what he meant to this program and how he's still very much part of the family,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.

On Twitter, Eric May posted that “It makes me proud to be part of this program and carry on his legacy.”

Also on hand Saturday will be former Iowa assistant Gary Close, now on Bo Ryan’s staff at Wisconsin. Close was Street’s chief recruiter, and worked closely with him on skill development through his two-plus seasons.

“We think the world of Coach Close, and Christopher did, too,” Mike said. “We’re really honored that he’s going to be there, too.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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