AMES, Iowa – Steve Lynn, a former Big Eight Conference track coach-of-the-year who mentored countless Cyclone student-athletes on and off the track, including Olympic medalists in 14 years as head of the Cyclone program and 16 years as an assistant coach, died Wednesday at Mary Greeley Medical Center. He was 61. Lynn was surrounded by family and friends when he succumbed to injuries suffered in a fall at his home Friday. Arrangements for a Visitation and a Celebration of Life are pending.
Lynn had been the Executive Director of Iowa Senior Olympics since 2009. He worked as an assistant to the Vice President of Iowa State University and was Associate Director of the U.S. Junior Olympics for the Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau before taking his latest position. He also worked as an assistant coach at Northern Iowa.
Lynn was an integral part of Iowa State’s powerhouse track and field program that won 15 Big Eight Conference track and field titles between 1981 and 1994. As head coach, his Cyclone teams won league championships indoors and outdoors in 1993 and outdoors in 1994. Lynn’s Iowa Staters finished third at the 1997 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In all 56 All-America plaques were awarded to sprinters and hurdlers under Lynn’s watchful eye. Lynn personally coached four Olympians or World Championships competitors, three NCAA individual champions. A trio of shuttle hurdle title teams were among the 12 Drake Relays champions he tutored.
An Oskaloosa native and William Penn graduate (1973), Lynn earned a master’s degree at Iowa State in 1979. Lynn started as a part-time coach under Bill Bergan, coaching sprints and hurdles in 1977.
Lynn coached some of Iowa State’s all-time great performers. Danny Harris won three NCAA 400-meter crowns and earned a silver medal in that event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He was the silver medalist at the 1987 World Track and Field Championships in Rome. Olympic bronze medalist Sunday Uti was a three-time second-place finisher in the 400 meters in NCAA competition.
While making the most out of world-class talent like Harris and Uti, Lynn’s coaching signature is most indelible on the All-America careers of athletes who were not highly recruited. The list of Iowa high schoolers who earned All-America or conference championship honors includes Todd Holm of Tripoli (two-time All-American sprint), David Knight of Ames (All-American sprinter), Kevin Kuchel of Kingsley (Big Eight champion sprinter), Randy Thompson of LuVerne (All-American and conference champion sprinter) and Jason Woods of Treynor (Big 12 champion and All-America hurdler).
Steve was married to K’Lynn Kuehl Lynn. He had the good fortune to coach his daughter Erica (multi-events) and son Scott (hurdles) at Iowa State.