Online Highlights from University Archives: Documenting Jack Trice

Oct 09, 2013

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Jack Trice's death due to injuries he sustained from a football game against the University of Minnesota. Trice grew up in Ohio, and when his high school football coach, Sam Willaman, accepted a position to coach at Iowa State College (now University), Trice and several other teammates followed him. Trice became the first African-American athlete at Iowa State to participate in both track and football. His ambition was to major in animal husbandry and to use his knowledge in the South to help black farmers.

At Iowa State, Trice's first "real" college football game was on October 6, 1923, against the University of Minnesota on their home turf. Having injured his collarbone earlier in the game and after insisting he could play, University of Minnesota players tackled Trice in the third quarter, forced him to the ground and crushed him in the process. Although he said he was fine, Trice was removed from the game and sent to a Minneapolis hospital. The doctors said he was fit to travel and he returned to Ames with his teammates. However, on October 8, he died from internal bleeding due to injuries received during the game. Trice is the only athlete to have died as a result of playing for Iowa State.

In 1973, Jack Trice's legacy was renewed, and an effort began to name Iowa State's new stadium after him. In 1984, the stadium was named Cyclone Stadium and the field was called Jack Trice Field. Due to the determination of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and other supporters, the stadium was named Jack Trice Stadium in 1987.

A portion of the Jack Trice Papers and images from the University Photograph Collection are now available online in the Digital Collections. Included in the online collection are photographs of Trice and his teammates, photographs from the funeral which took place on campus, a letter from Trice's wife, Cora Mae Trice Greene, in which she shares her memories of the days surrounding Trice's death, and a letter Trice wrote the night before his first and final game. The online collection is available here:?

In addition to the online collection, the Jack Trice Papers are available in the University Archives, which contain biographical material, news clippings, correspondence and information regarding Jack Trice Stadium and the various organizations which advocated for the name. For more information on the Jack Trice Papers, please see the collection's finding aid:?

If you have questions, please contact the Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library at 515-294-4216, or visit our website at

Jack Trice in 1923
Jack Trice in 1923