VARSITY TEAMS: 20 INTRAMURAL SPORTS: 22
FAMOUS ALUMNI: DON NELSON, REGGIE ROBY
EXTRA CREDIT FOR: INVENTION OF BUTTERFLY STROKE
In the fall of 1991, Brian DeCoster, an Iowa senior, was
shooting pool in a local watering hole when the barkeep asked if
he would be going to the following weekend's Iowa-Miami football
game. DeCoster nodded. Asked when he was planning on leaving,
DeCoster replied, "On Saturday. Like I do for all home games."
"The game's in Florida," he was told.
"Oh," DeCoster casually replied. "Then maybe I'll have to go out
and buy a bus."
A few days later, DeCoster ponied up $1,000 for a school bus
with 100,000 miles on it, gathered a dozen or so of his closest
friends and a couple of kegs, and made the 30-hour drive to
Miami. Thus was born the Best Traveling Tailgate Party in
America. Christened the Magic Bus, the vehicle has become a
symbol of the exuberance with which Iowa students follow their
Hawkeyes sports teams. Protruding from the back of the vehicle
is a four-foot-long deck, onto which is welded a spiral
staircase leading to a platform on the roof. Attached to the
platform is a foldaway backboard and rim (regulation height) on
which tailgaters often shoot hoops. At home football games, when
the bus is parked outside Kinnick Stadium, as many as 1,000 fans
flock to this Port-A-Party.
Iowa sports has a serious side, too. The Hawkeyes have appeared
in as many Rose Bowls (three) in the last two decades as any
other Big Ten school except Michigan, have won 17 of the last 23
NCAA wrestling championships and have seven former national
coaches of the year on their staff, among them football's Hayden
Fry and wrestling's Dan Gable. No campus in the country offers a
better pickup-basketball joint than the Fieldhouse (page 84),
which hosts five-on-five and three-on-three intramural leagues
as well as three-point and free-throw-shooting contests.
Students were alarmed last November when DeCoster, citing the
financial strain of hosting a 30- to 40-keg affair each autumn
weekend, raffled off the Magic Bus by selling 100 $5 tickets.
But it now belongs to the rugby team, which vows to keep the
party going. And DeCoster, apparently suffering from withdrawal,
has bought another, larger, touring bus that he'll take to
football games next fall. Its name: Magic Too.
COLOR PHOTO: JONATHAN DANIEL THE MAGIC BUS IS A TRAVELING TAILGATE PARTY FOR STUDENTS [Students sitting on and standing in front of Magic Bus]