Bucky O'Connor

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Bucky O'Connor
Bucky O'Connor.png
O'Connor from 1956 Hawkeye
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1913-12-21)December 21, 1913
Monroe, Iowa
Died April 22, 1958(1958-04-22) (aged 44)
Playing career
1933–1936 Drake
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1950, 1951–1958 Iowa
Head coaching record
Overall 114–59 (.659)
Tournaments NCAA: 5-3 (.625)
Accomplishments and honors
2× NCAA Final Four (1955, 1956)
Big Ten champion (1955, 1956)

Frank "Bucky" O'Connor (December 21, 1913 – April 22, 1958) was a college men's basketball coach. He was the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball team from 1949 to 1958. Born in Monroe, Iowa, O'Connor spent much of his early life playing golf, as his parents managed a country club. O'Connor attended and played basketball at Newton High School and Drake University; he became team captain in his senior year of college despite his slight frame and bad eyesight.[1] After graduating, he coached at Boone High School and Harrisburg High School.[1] When the United States entered World War II, O'Connor joined the United States Army Air Corps, serving in Japan and climbing to the rank of captain.[2]

After the war, he held jobs in the athletic departments at Boone High and Boone Junior College, and ultimately joined the Iowa Hawkeyes athletic staff as the freshman basketball coach and head golf coach in 1948.[2] In 1950, O'Connor took charge of the Hawkeyes' basketball team after the first two coaches of the 1949–50 season stepped down.[3] He became the official coach in the 1951–52 season, in which the team achieved a 19–3 record and a second-place finish in the Big Ten Conference.[4] O'Connor is best known in Iowa basketball history for recruiting and coaching the players who comprised the "Fabulous Five": Sharm Scheuerman, Bill Seaberg, Carl Cain, Bill Schoof and Bill Logan. This team first came together during the 1953–54 season, finishing second in the Big Ten with an 11–3 conference record (17–5 overall). The team won the Big Ten in the next two seasons, advancing to the Final Four both times. In the 1955–56 season, which was the Fabulous Five's final season together, the Hawkeyes won 17 consecutive games and advanced to their only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship game in school history,[5] where they lost to the University of San Francisco, marking the end of Iowa's most successful era of basketball.[1][4]

O'Connor coached the Hawkeyes for the next two seasons, compiling a combined record of 21–23 before dying in a highway accident on April 22, 1958, at the age of 44. He had one daughter, Kathy, born to his wife Jane.[1][4]

In recent years several relatives of O'Connor were involved with the men's basketball program at Iowa. His grand-nephew, Jim O'Connor, played as a walk on from 1988-92 and three more of his great-nephews served as student managers with the team: Tom O'Connor (2009-2014), Pat O'Connor (2013-2017), and Brendan O'Connor (2015-Present).

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Iowa Hawkeyes (Big Ten Conference) (1950–1950)
1950 Iowa 6-5 6-5 5th
Iowa Hawkeyes (Big Ten Conference) (1951–1958)
1951–52 Iowa 19-3 11-3 2nd
1952–53 Iowa 12-10 9-9 6th
1953–54 Iowa 17-5 11-3 2nd
1954–55 Iowa 19-7 11-3 1st NCAA Final Four
1955–56 Iowa 20-6 13-1 1st NCAA Runner-up
1956–57 Iowa 8-14 4-10 8th
1957–58 Iowa 13-9 7-7 6th
Iowa: 114–59 (.659) 72–41 (.637)
Total: 114–59 (.659)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Frank "Bucky" O'Connor, Monroe, 1967". The Des Moines Register. April 2, 1967. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Finn & Leistikow, p. 106
  3. ^ Finn & Leistikow, p. 90
  4. ^ a b c "Bucky O'Connor Coaching Record". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Iowa Hawkeyes Index". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 3, 2010.