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Gary Thompson, a basketball and baseball superstar known as “The Roland Rocket” in the early 1950s, later became a two-sport All-American at Iowa State University, a player and coach for the Phillips 66ers in AAU basketball, a successful businessman and longtime television broadcaster. Photo courtesy of Iowa State University

Gary Thompson, a basketball and baseball superstar known as “The Roland Rocket” in the early 1950s, later became a two-sport All-American at Iowa State University, a player and coach for the Phillips 66ers in AAU basketball, a successful businessman and longtime television broadcaster. Photo courtesy of Iowa State University

Volume 9, Issue No. 1, Jan/Feb, 2017

Few sports legends embody the meaning of being an All-American, both in and out of the arena of athletic competition, like 81-year-old Gary Thompson. From the early 1950s, when he earned the nickname “The Roland Rocket” as a star basketball and baseball player at Roland High School, to his All-American achievements in both sports at Iowa State University, to his success as a longtime television broadcaster, businessman and beloved family man, Thompson has led an All-American life. Read about the meteoric rise of “The Roland Rocket” in our cover story written by Larry Cotlar.

 

Robert Weast recalls how he helped Drake University get into the jazz groove.

 

Publisher’s Perspective: Michael Swanger explains how history has taught us nothing about elections and pundits.

 

Al Nelson shares how backwoods politician John Johns permanently imprinted his name in Iowa frontier lore.

 

MacNider Art Museum paints a picture of American life through the eyes of artists. Written by John Skipper.

 

Included In This Issue

 

 

 

TO READ MORE FASCINATING STORIES ABOUT IOWA HISTORY, subscribe to Iowa History Journal. You can also purchase back issues at the store.