IOWA CITY, Iowa – For three decades, Randy Larson poured his heart, soul, money and time into running the Prime Time League.
He and former Iowa men’s basketball coach Tom Davis launched the summer basketball league in 1987 as a way to give the Iowa players a more structured environment in which to compete.
The league was an instant success and lasted until this past summer when Larson decided to shut it down due to several factors, including recent changes in NCAA rules that now allow college coaches to spend more time with their players during the summer.
The Iowa men’s basketball program showed their appreciation by honoring Larson before the start of Saturday’s game against Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. He received an autographed basketball and a nice ovation from the fans, who ovecame the adverse weather to attend Saturday's game.
Larson's goal was to create a summer league that would not only help the Iowa players develop their skills, but also provide fans with a fun viewing experience. And he met that goal for 30 years with help from countless volunteers.
Larson combined his love for basketball and his love for the Hawkeyes and turned it into a summer basketball league that appealed to fans of all ages.
The PTL first played its games at City High before moving to West High and then finally to the North Liberty Community, which has air conditioning.
The two gymnasiums in North Liberty were often packed with fans who were eager to get their first look at the new additions to the Iowa roster.
The league became even more popular after the Northern Iowa players climbed aboard.
Larson found time to run the PTL, and the Game Time League for women, despite being a lawyer and a restaurant owner in Iowa City. He also played and coached in the PTL.
It was a classy move by Iowa to recognize Larson for a job well done because he certainly deserved it.