Former ISU MBB assistant coach Jim Hallihan passes away

Johnny Orr (left) talks to the Cyclones in the huddle while Jim Hallihan (right) looks on. (Photo credit: ISU Athletics)

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

AMES, Iowa – Jim Hallihan, former Iowa State assistant men’s basketball coach, who was a member of Johnny Orr’s staff for 12 years, died today. He was 75.

Hallihan, a native of Decatur, Ill., was Orr’s top assistant from 1982-94 and was elevated to associate head coach in 1993. During his tenure in Ames, the Cyclone men’s hoops program became a national player, earning six NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1986. 

Sellout crowds were the norm and “Hilton Magic” was born during Hallihan’s years in Ames, as the Cyclones were the toast of the town. Five times the Cyclones eclipsed the 20-win mark in a season and nationally-ranked opponents were defeated 24 times. 

Hallihan helped mentor six Cyclones who went onto NBA careers.

When Orr was ill or absent, Hallihan took over coaching duties and compiled a 6-1 mark.

Prior to arriving at Iowa State, Hallihan was the head coach at East Tennessee State from 1979-82, registering a 57-53 record. He was also an assistant coach at Virginia Tech from 1971-75.

Hallihan held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Miami (Ohio) where he was a two-year starter on the basketball team. He was named captain in his senior season.

After Orr’s retirement in 1994, Hallihan remained in Ames and served as Iowa Sports Foundation Executive Director for the Iowa Games. During his tenure, the foundation grew from two events and 16,000 athletes to over 20 events and 190,000 participants.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.