IOWA CITY — You could hear Mike Street coming.
The Street family was a little late to a press conference before Saturday’s Iowa-Wisconsin game. You know the topic of discussion. You have distinct memories of Chris Street, and if you were too young to remember the former Hawkeye star who was killed in an automobile accident in Iowa City in January of his junior season, you’ve learned a lot about him this week.
Mike Street’s voice boomed. Twenty years after his son’s death, he’s still a proud father. He sat with his wife, Patty, and daughters, Sarah Stone and Betsy Stursma. Of course, reminders of his son flowed all through Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The University of Iowa honored Street during Saturday night’s game, which marked the 20th anniversary of his death.
“It is a big night for us,” Mike Street said in his baritone voice. “We certainly appreciate what the university has done and what the fans have done. Without the fans, it probably doesn’t happen, either.”
Iowa players wore white T-shirts with “Street 40″ on the back and the quotation “If you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end . . .” A Chris Street video was played on the Carver video board. There’s the Street plaque outside of Iowa’s lockerroom, a permanent presence.
The stunner was subtle. Iowa didn’t make a big deal out of it, but draped on the back of the chair closest to the scorer’s table on the Iowa bench was Street’s No. 40 gold Iowa jersey, matching the home colors the Hawkeyes wore against the Badgers.
“When we came in the tunnel, all these memories just came back to me,” Stursma said. “I was in high school when I had this brother who played for the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was so awesome to be a part of it. When we got here, all those memories flood back to me.”
A halftime ceremony gathered as many of Iowa’s “Chris Street Award” winners as the school could bring in, including Wade Lookingbill, the inaugural winner.
The Streets thanked Iowa for keeping Chris’ memory alive and for keeping the family close to the program. Mike Street specifically thanked Jerry Strom, Iowa’s longtime director of basketball operations (now in his 32nd season) and one of the last people who was in the program when Street was killed.
Mike Street was strong as a bull during the ceremony. Patty Street had a few tears.
During the press conference, Patty’s voice was the quiet counterbalance to Mike.
“For so many years, it [coming to Carver-Hawkeye] was very painful,” she said. “But as the years have gone by, I really enjoy it and I do get into the games. And I understand what those boys are going through. That’s what makes it more personal for me.
“. . . To see the people in the T-shirts, it gives us a warm feeling in our hearts.”
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