Diamond Reflections: COACHES

The Lineup:

Cyclone Baseball, 1892-2001

The Ames Nine





The Diamond Darlings

Team Photos




Cyclones in the Majors

Iowa State has enjoyed the talents of numerous athletic coaches since the turn of the century. (For a chronological timeline of coaches, visit the List of Iowa State Baseball Coaches)

Initially the team was directed by a student manager, but in 1898 the first coach was hired, Dr. I.C. Brownlie. He stayed on for a year and the team once again turned to a student, T.E. Nicoll 99, for management.  The next season the team welcomed Coach Woodruff and has henceforth been led by capable coaches.

1911 team, Clyde Williams standing at far right

Of the numerous leaders the team has had, a few stand out. Clyde Williams was an all-around athlete and coached both basketball and baseball for Iowa State. He led the team from 1906-1912, took a hiatus to expand his own professional career and then returned in 1916. During his absence Coach Hubbard (who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Iowa State in 1910) took the helm and kept himself busy coaching varsity football as well as baseball.  

Williams followed the team through some tough periods, especially the lean years of World War I. The ranks felt the loss of their teammates and were understandably distracted by the fires in Europe. The 1920 Victory Bomb captured the way they felt, "Iowa State was well represented on the ball field as well as in the game of teaching the Heinies a bit of sportsmanship. Let our championship come after the war."

Although his heart was in wrestling, Charles Mayser made his mark with a record of 18-8-1 in the two years he was coach. The 1920 season saw a particularly interesting controversy between traditional rivals Iowa State and the University of Iowa. ISC's star pitcher, Ed Plagge, depended on a secret weapon to pull himself out of a tight spot on the mound: his spitball. During their first contest of the year, however, UI and ISC agreed to forego any such deliveries and ISC lost the game. Unable to reconcile their differences on this rule, Iowa State did not travel to Iowa City for rematch that year.

Held over from his post as basketball coach the previous winter, Maury Kent joined the team in the spring of 1921. It was not as if he was not qualified, however; Kent was a former pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He left Iowa State and went on to coach at Northwestern University. 

1923 was an exciting year for Cyclone baseball fans. Coach Bill Chandler led the team to a second place (tie with Oklahoma) finish in the championship.

Championship team 1923; Coach Chandler is on the far left in the back row

Coach Louis Menze joined the team in 1930 and worked tirelessly to improve the Cyclone's greatest weakness: hitting. Players had batting practice for nearly an hour every day. In 1931 the team's batting average was .209; in 1932 it rose to .253. Another credit to Coach Menze was the fielding record of the team. Whereas opponents averaged six errors per game, the Ames nine committed only slightly more than two. 

Coach LeRoy C. "Cap" Timm led Iowa State baseball for thirty-seven years and accrued a record of 340-373-5. His name is synonymous with Cyclone baseball and the baseball diamond was named in his honor upon his retirement in 1974. 

Coach Sutherland, filling in during Cap Timm's war service, ca. 1944

bb timms list of tasks hit the books.jpg (34468 bytes)

The Iowa State Baseball coaching philosophy, 1972 [click for enlarged version]

Iowa State coach Clair Rierson, ca. 1979

Clair Rierson began his coaching career at ISU in 1965. He played for Cap Timm until his graduation in 1962 and began scouting and recruiting for the Cyclones in 1967. When Timm retired in 1974, Rierson assumed the helm. His tenure was marked with great success behind the plate, but the team was unable to achieve many wins. He left the team in 1980 with a record of 128-155. 

Rierson's assistant, Larry Corrigan, the pitcher that led Cap Timm's 1970 team to the College World Series with a 8-1 record, took over when Rierson departed. In his first year as coach the team reached an all-time high of 34 wins. This record was surpassed, however, by Corrigan's assistant, Bobby Randall, after he became head coach in 1985. The Cyclones won 36 games in 1989 with the help of first baseman Mike Busch, who hit .401 and was named the Big Eight tournament MVP and awarded all-America honors. After eleven years as head coach for the Cylones, Randall returned to his home state to coach for the University of Kansas. 

ISU Athletics did not have to look far to replace Randall and invited pitching coach Lyle Smith to lead the team in 1996.

Head coach Lyle Smith, 2001 [Courtesy of the Des Moines Register]

A native of Fort Atkinson, Iowa, Smith joined the Iowa State staff in 1984; since then he has coached several pitchers into the major league draft, including Don Wengert, Mike Myers, and Nate Teut. In his first year as head coach the team finished fourth in the conference and landed as runners-up in the Big-Eight Conference Championships. After six years he achieved a 123-189-1 record.