Twenty years in the making, that memory will never fade

Fennelly, Bill_2014-15_Hilton Madness

When a significant event occurs, it can be difficult to put it into perspective. Flowery descriptions get tossed around without much thought.

To label a performance just right usually takes someone who has some historical perspective. For two decades, Bill Fennelly has been the builder and caretaker of Cyclone women’s basketball.

So, Fennelly was asked if Saturday’s improbable 18-point comeback victory against third-ranked and undefeated Texas rated as a greatest memory.

“Memory, yes, absolutely,” Fennelly said without hesitation.

Then, he paused as the media room became silent.

“I don’t like to rank best players, best teams, best wins. But, best memories?” Fennelly wondered aloud.

You could hear a pin drop as everyone leaned forward to hear what was next.

“Yea,” Fennelly whispered. “Just because of the day… all my players… all my family…”

His voice trailed off.

“I’m really happy for the team,” Fennelly continued with his voice back to normal. “I’m really glad these players will get to stand out there at mid-court some day and tell people what it meant to beat the University of Texas.”

Fennelly was back to talking about others. His excitement was back and he had deflected the compliments to everyone but himself.

Saturday’s victory came in front of a reunion of former Fennelly players back in town to recognize his 20-year tenure at ISU. And, he noted the magic of the program was on full display with the former Cyclones on hand.

“The mood of our players changed when the former players came out at the under 16 timeout,” Fennelly admitted.

It is likely the mood of the players also changed because they were playing in a special game for their long-time coach. Those are memories that Fennelly will surely rate at the top of his list.


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