Iowa State dedicates track, statue to Bergans


Photo: Huiling Wu/ Iowa State Daily

Bill Bergan speaks during the unveiling of a new statue in his honor Friday, Nov. 2, at the Cyclone Sports Complex. Bergan is the former cross-country and track coach at Iowa State. 

Mark Specht

Former and current ISU track athletes gathered at the Cyclone Sports Complex on Friday to honor former men’s cross-country and track coach Bill Bergan and his wife, Karen Bergan.

The new track was named after the Bergans and a statue of Bill was unveiled in the entry plaza to the new $13 million Cyclone Sports Complex, which was finished in October.

Bergan was named the men’s cross-country coach at Iowa State in 1971 and the men’s track and field coach in 1976. He retired in 1996.

Under Bergan, Iowa State won 25 Big Eight Conference team championships, two national championships in cross-country in 1989 and 1994. 

As the coach, Bergan’s ISU athletes had earned All-America honors 104 times and won 156 Big Eight individual titles.

“At one time our [track and field and cross-

country] program was known for champions and championships,” said Jamie Pollard, ISU athletic director. “The good news is coach [Corey] Ihmels and our track

and field and cross-

country student-ath-letes are well on their way

to re-establishing Iowa State track and cross-country as one of the premier programs in the country.”

At the unveiling, Pollard also talked about the most recent $1 million renovation to the Lied Recreation Athletic Center and future renovations to the building’s athletic locker rooms.

Pollard proceeded by reading a list of Bergan’s accomplishments before sharing a more personal note.

“More important than all the accolades though, I think you would all agree with me that Bill and Karen are just the sweetest couple you could ever be around,” Pollard said. 

“For all of us, put all the accolades aside, it’s just an honor to call him a friend,” Pollard said.

Bergan gave a quick history of how he became a coach at Iowa State and thanked his wife, former athletes and assistant coaches before sharing some of his fondest memories of being a coach.

“I’m very humbled and honored by this,” Bergan said. 

“I hope that all the athletes that I coached over the years when they see this they see what they did and what they accomplished.”

Men’s and women’s track and cross-country coach Corey Ihmels, who was a member of the 1994 national championship cross-country team, gave the final remarks of the event.

“So I think this statue that I get to walk by everyday when I go to practice is a symbol of a lot of things,” Ihmels said. 

“I think it symbolizes the tradition of track and field at Iowa State, it symbolizes our commitment to our student athletes and correct me if I’m wrong Bill, if there is one thing that Bill always wanted, he wanted his athletes to have a first-class experience.”