Bucky O’Connor

Bucky O’Connor (1913-1958)

Teams coached: Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa record: 114-59 (.659)
Overall record: 114-59 (.659)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  2  (1955, 1956)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  2  (1955, 1956)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  2  (1955, 1956)
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0
  • Big Ten Regular Season Champion:  2  (1955, 1956)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1951-1958 Iowa
1950-1951 Iowa (asst)
1950 Iowa
1948-1950 Iowa (freshmen)

Bucky O’Connor Facts

  • Frank O’Connor
  • Born December 21, 1913
  • Died April 22, 1958
  • Hometown: Monroe, Iowa
  • Alma Mater: Drake University (BA, 1938)
  • Graduated from Newton HS (IA) and then played for head basketball coach Bill Williams at Drake
  • Started his coaching career with stints at Boone HS (IA) and Harrisburg HS (IL)
  • Served in Japan with the US Army Air Corps during World War II; earned the rank of captain
  • Worked at Boone HS and Boone College in Iowa for several years after the war
  • Arrived at the University of Iowa in 1948, first serving as freshmen basketball coach and head golf coach
    • Served as the varsity head basketball coach for 11 games in 1950, going 6-5
    • Became the official head coach starting in 1951, leading the Hawkeyes for seven full seasons
    • Went 114-59 overall at the helm, winning two Big Ten titles and reaching back-to-back NCAA Final Fours
      • The Final Four teams were led by Iowa’s “Fabulous Five,” all recruited and coached by O’Connor
  • Tragically died in highway accident in April 1958 at the age of just 44
    • Survived by his wife, Jane, and their daughter, Kathy
    • Several other family members have come through the Iowa program since the early 1990s

Bucky O’Connor Coaching Tree

  • Ed Badger (Cincinnati, Chicago Bulls)
  • Dave Gunther (Bemidji State, Buena Vista, North Dakota, Wayne State)
  • Sharm Scheuerman (Iowa)