Letters to John, former Hawkeyes pay tribute to a special person
Former Hawkeyes share their thoughts on what John Streif means to them
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – This tribute to John Streif wasn’t planned out in advance.
In fact, it wasn’t really planned out at all, but rather came in response to a recent radio interview with former Iowa basketball player Jess Settles in which he became emotional while talking about John Streif’s huge impact on his life.
Settles was being interviewed on the Hawk Fanatic radio show and podcast about the Big Ten’s documentary marking 30 years since the death of Chris Street in an automobile accident when he praised Streif for helping him and other Hawkeye student-athletes cope with the tragedy.
Settles was a high school senior, and an Iowa basketball recruit, when Street was killed on Jan. 19, 1993 and midway through Street’s junior season on the Iowa basketball team.
Street’s death devastated Settles and the entire Hawkeye community.
Settles was so shaken by the tragedy that he thought about stepping away from playing basketball for a while as a high school senior.
He ultimatly chose to finish his senior season and would then go on to join the Iowa men’s basketball program in the fall of 1993.
Settles was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1993-94 and he credits John Streif for being a stabalizing force at a time when life seemed so cruel.
For those who aren’t aware of John Streif, or what his role was at Iowa before he retired in 2012, he was a trainer and travel coordinator for the Iowa football team and men’s basketball team for four decades.
But there was so much more to Streif than just his job title, although, he was highly respected as an athletic trainer, and he made traveling so easy and convenient for the players and coaches because of his work ethic and attention to detail.
More than anything, Streif was a friend to the countless student-athletes whose lives he impacted on a daily basis with his kindness, compassion and caring.
For some, he was like a father away from home, or a big brother, and you will learn about that by reading the tributes to Streif in this article. You will learn about how he helped so many student-athletes overcome being homesick as they adjusted to being far away from home for the first time in their lives.
You will learn about how he helped so many student-athletes cope with the pain and suffering from being injured.
The interview with Settles inspired me to reach out to former Hawkeye athletes and coaches to ask them to put in writing what John Streif means to them.
The response has been absolutley incredible as a wide range of former Hawkeyes have considered it a privilege, and an honor, to share their thoughts about John Streif, who is currently enjoying his retirement in Iowa.
I had to point out when contacting former Hawkeyes that John is doing just fine because tributes of this kind often come after a person has passed, and some were alarmed when first contacted.
They were also told that Streif was unaware of the project, because if John knew about it, he would’ve tried to talk me out of doing it because it’s never about him.
The only person John Streif has ever come close to neglecting is John Streif.
He has lived his life to serve others, and has been the kind of person we all aspire to be, but usually come up short.
Never have I heard anybody say a bad word about John Streif, and my connection to him dates back to the late 1970s when my older brother, Frank Harty, was an Iowa football player.
Frank’s career was cut short by a staph infection in his knee before he ever had a chance to play in a game for the Hawkeyes.
The infection ravaged his body, and it took a heavy toll on his mind.
My brother’s fight against staph infection also devastated our family, and particularly my parents.
But through it all, John Streif was like a guardian angel with how he looked over my brother during his extended stay in the hospital in the fall of 1979.
There were some very low moments, where without John’s love, concern and compassion, I’m not sure how my brother would have survived.
The doctors saved his life, and his leg, but John saved his soul just from being there in those dark, lonely moments.
My parents both worked full time and we lived in Des Moines, so the near four-hour round trip to Iowa City made it hard for them to constantly be at my brother’s side.
My mother took comfort in knowing that John Streif was watching over her son.
My parents both have since passed away, but they were forever grateful for what John Streif did for their son.
“He’s a great man,” my mom said when John retired. “A great man.”
One of the incredible things from doing this project is the number of former Hawkeyes that thanked me for including them. They were so excited and honored to write about John and it shows in the responses that continue to arrive in my e-mail.
I kept pushing back the date to publish this article on Hawk Fanatic because the responses have just kept coming, heartfelt and so genuine.
Former Iowa All-America offensive lineman Robert Gallery was one of the first to respond with a lengthy and heartfelt tribute that described John Streif perfectly.
It then became a family project as Gallery’s brothers Nick and John, and their mother, Mary, also shared their thoughts about John.
All of them thanked me for letting them be a part of the tribute, which shows just how much they respect and care about John Streif.
Fomer Iowa receiver Anthony Dean also thanked me for including him, and he reached out to other former Hawkeyes to help spread the word.
And for that I’m grateful.
Some of the letters brought me to tears as I read them, especially the words written by Chris Street’s parents, Mike and Patty, and the words written by my brother, while some other letters made me laugh.
The list of former Hawkeyes that responded is long and distinguished, from Bob Stoops to Chuck Long to Ronnie Harmon to former Iowa men’s basketball coach Tom Davis, who called to thank me for honoring John on the same day in which he had lunch with John.
I sometimes feel sorry for the current Hawkeye student-athletes because they don’t get to experience the force that is John Streif. That isn’t a knock on the current support staff at Iowa, but there is only one John Streif and we’ll never see anyone like him again.
We often hear about the Iowa athletic culture and how it helps to change lives for the better. John Streif was a big part of that culture, perhaps the biggest part.
And while most of the responses are from former Hawkeye student-athletes or coaches, there is one exception.
When I told Mike Hlas from the Cedar Rapids Gazette about the project, he said that his wife, Pam Hinman, had worked closely with John in helping to coordinate travel plans and held him in the highest regard. Mike thought Pam would want to share her thoughts about John and she did by writing a beautiful tribute.
Thank you, Pam.
John Streif grew up in Manchester and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1970. He joined the Iowa athletic department in 1972 and then spent 40 years loving and caring for every Hawkeye student-athlete whose life he impacted.
I know John will be embarrassed when he learns about this tribute, but those close to him say he also will be appreciative of the love shown in return for his unwavering love and support.
So, let the tribute begin:
Mike and Patty Street
The first time we met John Streif (Streifer, is what we call him) during Christopher’s official college visit, we felt a sense of relief and an unexplainable peace about sending Christopher to Iowa because we knew Streifer would take care of our son. Streifer has such a warm, sincere personality that you can sense when you first meet him. He truly cares about others, especially the athletes he worked with at Iowa. Streifer not only took care of Christopher in the training room, but more importantly, he took care of him outside of basketball. On two separate occasions, Streifer called us to let us know that Christopher was struggling with things other than basketball and let us know how we might help him. John is so sincere in his relationships with others and was a person that could sense if things were troubling the players. Streifer always had a listening ear and Christopher knew he could always count on him when times were hard. To have that kind of person in your child’s life at college is a true blessing.
We are extremely thankful for the love, care, and concern that Streifer showed Christopher in his life and his death. On January 19, 1993, Dr. Tom Davis and Streifer were the first ones on the scene of the accident other than the emergency personnel. Streifer went to the funeral home that evening and stayed the night with Christopher. That was so comforting to us since we were in Indianola and there was an ice storm forecasted for the next day. Somehow, on January 20, Coach Gary Close and John Strief rode with Christopher to Indianola one last time on the icy roads that travel was not recommended on.
To say that Streifer holds a special place in our hearts is an understatement. He has seen us through the good times and celebrated with us when Christopher was at the peak of his playing career at Iowa. He has also been through the lowest point in our lives when we lost our son in an instant. Through them all, Streifer was one person who we could count on for comfort, good laughs, sincere talks, but most of all, a caring heart that made us (and our kids) feel incredibly important and loved. He made a huge impact on our family and for that we are incredibly thankful and grateful. People like him don’t come around very often and we feel incredibly blessed that Christopher experienced that love away from home during his time at Iowa.
Frank B. Harty, football, 1978-79
Tom Davis, Iowa men’s basketball head coach, 1986-99
From the first day I met you when interviewing at Iowa and having you handle my travel needs and housing, I knew I was in the hands of a real Profesional! You were terrific then, and nothing changed over my years at Iowa. Always first class, thinking of others before yourself and fun to be around! Thanks John, you were a terrific trainer and friend and working with you was an honor, and still is. You are a good man.
Ronnie Lester, basketball, 1976-80
Jess Settles, men’s basketball, 1993-99
Streif was constantly trying to put your future in perspective as an athlete. He was fully aware that every athlete in the room dreamed of playing professionally, and he knew more than anyone that less than 1% of us would ever make it big. He would always say that free time and too much money was one of the worst thing that could happen to young people. So he was huge on exposing us to other things and he was adamant that academics be a top priority. He didn’t want our identities wrapped up in a game. He didn’t care for specializing. He wanted kids to play multiple sports/extra-curricular and be involved in other things. When our teams traveled overseas he would hand out brochures and packets so that we could study history before we arrived. John made travel so rewarding that to this day whenever our family travels, I usually send him a text thanking him for planting that adventurous seed in us. He didn’t care for degrees with no substance. He wanted you to take advantage of the four years in college you were given. Again, he knew what most of our lives would probably look like 5 years later, and he wanted us to be prepared for the real world. Family time, work ethic. Personal responsibility. Forgiveness, etc. He was constantly taking guys to the children’s hospital to expose us to pain and suffering and to get us to interact with those who were in the midst of trials. He wasn’t materialistic at all. Just a complete giver of time and possessions. He treated the wallk on and the All American the same. He was always telling people how proud he was of them. What’s amazing is that most people don’t get that said to them very often. So for many, that was very impactful. “I’m so proud of you!” Those are powerful words. I know Dr. Albright and John really helped Ronnie Lester adjust to college life when he arrived on campus. Albright would be worth talking to since Ronnie so iconic. Great stories.
Fun angle. No one taped an ankle better that Strief. Like a Picasso on your ankle. Perfect wrap. Smooth. Just the right pressure. I had severe shin splints my freshman year. Severe. He was truly a master of his craft. He came up with a special wrap with stretch tape to take most of the pressure off my shins. If he doesn’t figure that wrap out, I’m not Big Ten Fresh of the year. It was funny, because especially in football, there would be 20 guys lined up to have Strief tape an ankle before practice and the interns and young trainers wouldn’t have anyone lined up. It was a topic of conversation among all Iowa athletes. The John Strief taped ankle. Legendary.
Since I was chronically injured, (and I was on campus 6 years. LOL!) I probably spent more time with him than any athlete in school history. It was like earning a PHD in life. He would take me into the mind of Lute Olson and Dan Gable and Bob Knight. He would teach me about Chris Street, and Chuck Long, and Ronnie Harmon and Bill Brashier and all of these iconic Hawkeyes. The mistakes, the regrets, what made them successful, etc. He could talk farming, academics, world travel, nutrition, etc. Most athletes would tell you he took the sting off of losing. He is an encyclopedia. To be on campus and have access to Hayden, C. Vivian, Christine Grant, Close, Bowlsby, Gable, Streifer and TD was so special for a small town Iowa kid in that era.
Bob Stoops, football, 1979-82
Dear John: On behalf of the Stoops brothers and our entire family we want to thank you for your friendship and care through the years. After multiple surgeries through those Hawkeye years, never did I wake up and not see you waiting there to show compassion and reassurance, and this was the case for every athlete from all sports. Your loyalty and commitment to the Hawkeye program is unmatched and we all thank you for that. You Are The Best!
Bobby Stoops #41
Ronnie Harmon, football, 1982-85
Chuck Long, football, 1981-85
John made you feel welcome from day 1. It’s tough coming in not knowing anyone and John eased that tension with all freshmen. Wrote notes to my parents telling them how well I was doing and as a frosh and beyond. Visited all injured players in the hospital daily, even when I had mis wisdom teeth pulled. A great man who loved all players and families. He still asks about my mom and brother to this day.
Robert Gallery, football, 2000-03
I first met John Streif when I was a teenager. During that time my brother, Nick, was the punter on the football team and my family went to every home and away game. Little did I know that it was a start to a lifelong friendship, not only for my brother and myself, but for my other siblings and my entire family.
I truly learned the type of person John was once I became a member of the Iowa Football Team in 1999. Because of the great relationship he had with my brother and my parents, I was years ahead of knowing the type of caring person he was. We had a good relationship the minute I walked in the building. When I arrived, my older sister, Julie, was also at the University as a track athlete. John always kept tabs on her throughout her career at Iowa and always let me know, at football practice, if he had seen her and how she was doing. Streif continued this when my younger brother, John, arrived to play for Iowa as well.
My fondest memories of John are ones that you would only understand if you were an athlete in one of the many sports that he helped with. The conversations we had while getting my ankles taped and the attention to detail he put into it to make sure it was exactly how we wanted it, the hand shake/ hand rub/shoulder rub/ arm around the shoulder when you ran into John around the football facility or around other facilities on campus, receiving our “legibly please” at the hotel the night before football games, the way he handled his duties, in football operations, when we were on the road Everyone from the cooks/ hotel servers/ police escorts/ bus drivers loved John because he was so genuine. He wanted things done right, but he did it in a respectful, ego free manner that drew everyone in.
Two decades after leaving the University of Iowa, our relationship is as strong as it was when I was around him everyday. Phone calls, text, Christmas cards, random hand written letters are all common occurrences….on both of our ends. John knows what we put ourselves through as athletes and all of these years later is still checking in on us to see how we are. Everything he does is genuine and strictly out of love. He has never wanted or expected anything from anyone. He genuinely wants to see pictures and hear about our kids. He genuinely shoots me a message when he sees my parents at their local fish fry and lets me know they are doing good. I could go on and on about how John continues to keep tabs on myself, my family, my siblings and my parents, but if you have had the honor to meet him or develop a relationship with him, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
In true John Streif fashion, he will probably be uncomfortable with the attention these messages bring, but he deserves to know how many people he touched over his many decades of work. My family and I are very thankful and lucky to call John Streif a friend.
Nick Gallery, football, 1993-96
John Strief or “Streifer” as he is more affectionately known was one of the longtime behind the scenes heroes of the Iowa football team. I was fortunate not only to be a part of the program, but also to have a few family members follow behind me as well. John was an integral part of all our lives for a number of years as we all passed through. My family and I got to know him well over the years, and I have a lot of fond memories. He is a kind, caring, and giving person. A truly remarkable human being. For instance, I can remember the lengths he went to when my brother John had an emergency appendix surgery when he was on the team. He went out of his way to take care of him personally, and also was in constant contact with my parents to keep them updated as well. Just one of the many instances I can remember. I know that he put that level of care with everyone he came into contact with. Always with a smile and a genuine interest in how you were doing. I’m sure that my family would agree that he was one of the people who made our Hawkeye experience special, and we are lucky to call him a friend.
John Gallery, football, 2005
Johnny Streif. Where do you begin? I spent 19 incredible years at the University of Iowa as a student athlete and an assistant coach. 3 completely different coaching staffs over that time…Frank Lauterbur, Bob Commings and Hayden Fry. One of the common denominators was Johnny Streif. Whatever his job description was, he always went way outside of those borders to help, assist and comfort those around him. First of all, he was a damn good trainer who you put complete trust into for taping, rehabbing and overcoming adversity. His shining example of once a person has a tough setback in life, showing incredible compassion really makes a difference. No one in my lifetime reached out to try and comfort more people, visit more people in hospitals than Johnny Streif. Loyalty is a dying trait in families, businesses and athletic teams, but not with Johnny. His loyalty is unconditional and unconventional. He promotes it, builds it, sustains it and embraces it. We all want to take advantage of the gifts that God has given each of us. Johnny surely has done that. It is inevitable that all of us are going to die, but not everyone really lives. Johnny surely has lived and thanks for all the lives you have impacted, changed and enhanced. Johnny Streif is truly the best of the best.
Rob Houghtlin, football, 1985-87
John was always there, for whoever needed his assistance. Never too tired, too busy or overworked. As I struggled through several frustrating pulled muscles during my time at Iowa John always had time to treat, tape or set up a whirlpool to improve things. Always a smile and a thoughtful encouragement from Striefer. He was available, caring and genuinely a friend to everyone he worked with. More than that he was a friend with a patient listening heart. A great encourager and you always knew he was for you. A man of deep faith, who went out of his way to get some players to a Christmas Eve service at many bowl games.
My favorite story about John was when we played at the Kick Off classic and my soon to be wife came to visit at the team hotel in New Jersey. She and her family were staying in Manhattan and didn’t plan transportation back into the city. Not knowing how to solve this I called Streifer. He said no problem, meet me down in the lobby in 5. We met John and he walked us outside. Up pulls the team bus, he said jump on, we did and he had the bus take us into the city to drop her off. He accompanied us the whole way. I asked John how the heck he did this and he simply smiled and said the bus was available so it was an easy solution. Who does that?!? Who takes that kind of time, effort and concern for someone?!?
John Strief. A great friend, mentor, encourager, and a man committed to always helping and serving others!!! John is part of what makes IOWA, IOWA. Thank you John for always caring, and always being there!
Kenyon Murray, basketball, 1992-96
Where do I start? Let’s start at 124. 124 is the number of consecutive games I played for the University of Iowa’s Men’s Basketball team during my 4 year career. Every athlete plays with pain. Having the ability to manage that pain and perform at a high level falls on a great athletic training staff and John Streif was the captain that piloted that ship. But to me, John’s greatest trait, is his ability to show empathy and his limitless amount of love he showed to EVERYONE he worked with and cared for. God broke the mode when he created John. The way former athletes and coaches beam about him when his name is brought up, is an attestment to how truly special John Streif is. He has an infectious smile, a heart of gold and a love for the University of Iowa that can’t be match. I salute you John!!!
Don Patterson, football assistant coach, 1979-98
I have had the privilege of knowing John Streif for over 44 years…and the truth is he is the most SELFLESS person I have EVER known! It did not matter if you were the at the top of the depth chart or the bottom of the depth chart…John was ALWAYS there for you! Each and every day! Without John’s constant support and encouragement, I have no doubt that any number of players would have given up on their dream of achieving at the highest levels of college football! And those players and coaches that have known John so well are quick to report that he remains their lifelong friend to this very day!
There are fundamentally only two kinds of people in this world: “givers” and “takers.” And John Streif is the ULTIMATE “giver!”
Adam Haluska, basketball 2004-07
I can’t say enough good things about John. From the second I walked on campus I knew he was special. He took care of all us. He was so much more than a trainer who taped ankles and provided treatments. He truly cared for each and every athlete that he had contact with. I will always cherish our weekly trips to the hospital to see families. John was instrumental in making that happen. He represented all that is good about this University. My wife and entire family consider John as extended family. He has always been there for me. He was with me the night my son had a seizure and was rushed to the University Hospital. He stayed with Kendra and I until we were released. He stayed with my parents the day my younger brother had surgery to repair a football injury. I have so many more great stories about John. I will forever be grateful for his impact on my life. I’m so blessed to call him a friend.
Chris Kingsbury, basketball, 1993-96
Everyone will tell you how great of a person Streifer is, and that is so true, but what stands out to me was the consistency and sincerity of his caring. After wins or losses, good days or bad, sunshine or rain, John always made you feel like he really cared.
Mike “Tree” Henry, basketball, 1978-81
John is the man!!! Without a doubt, he is one of the most influential and important people in Iowa Athletics history. He worked with and impacted players from all sports and is beloved by all. John is so much more than a trainer. He took care of all of us physically but as importantly if not more so, mentally and emotionally. He was a still is always there for you when times were tough or when you were struggling and would give you words of encouragement or a gentle kick in the rear to get going.
John has done these types of things for everyone whether you were the star player or not. He treats everyone the same. I could go on and on about John but suffice it to say and to use his own line, “I love you Bud!!!
It is hard to put into words how much John has meant to myself and family over the years. I have known John for my entire life, and he has always been a great mentor and trainer but most importantly a great friend. There was nobody who cared more for the players and people involved within our program than John Streif. He was so much more than a trainer over the years which is something I always admired about him. He is the definition of going above and beyond to make sure everyone was taken care of properly. You would always know he was putting others first in his mind. If you look up the definition of humility in the dictionary there is a picture of John Streif.
Some of my favorite memories as a player here at Iowa are going over to the University of Iowa hospital and visit with kids and patients with John. He would setup for us to go over there a few times a month with him and the impact those moments had on myself are felt to this day. We would develop relationships with kids going through treatment and make repeat visits to check on them. He had an incredible natural ability to talk and connect with those patients and I would watch and learn from him. These visits did as much for me as it did for the patients, I’m sure. They cheered me up and helped put many of the things we were going through as a player or team into perspective.
John gave his life to Iowa athletics and impacted so many people throughout the years. He is one of the few people we are all connected to and have so much respect for. There were some tough days during my time here as a player and he was one of the main constants I could always count on. He had the ability to bring me up when I was down or motivate me when I needed to be better. I have heard some refer to John as the father of Iowa athletics as he was a father figure & mentor to so many athletes who were leaving home and arriving on campus from all over. He was always someone we could count on and go to outside of our coaches within the program. We all appreciate everything he did for so many here at the University of Iowa. I am thankful to know John and have him in my life and my family’s life to this day.
Mike Gatens, basketball, 1974-76
John Streif has everyone’s best interest, the #1 priority in his life! He absolutely puts every human being before himself. I have known John for over 50 years and I am so fortunate to consider him a close friend for over 50 years. Meeting John as an Iowa City West High athlete during the glory years of Iowa basketball led by Ralph Miller, having John as our trainer when I was so fortunate to compete for Iowa and then watch my 3 children also get to be athletically trained by John at Iowa has been incredible. All the great memories are priceless. I know EVERYONE that has come in contact with John through the years feels the same as our family does. What an incredible, unique and one of a kind man. All of these people love John Streif!!
Danan Hughes, football, baseball, 1989-92
Not sure how to put on paper who amazing John Streif & has been for decades of Hawkeye athletes. I can tell you that I don’t know if I would’ve made it through my career w/o John. His gracious & personable approach was so necessary for me, coming from NJ & being so far away from home. We know what we signed up for but to feel there’s a person that genuinely cares for you as a kid, not just an athlete, was immeasurable! You don’t realize how the small things & gestures he made, were impactful to our lives. Dropping off ice bags, cutting out newspaper articles for you, getting extra game programs for to send to family, etc… were just a few of the gestures that came to mind.
People say that you can tell the true regard people have for someone based on how they’re spoken of when they’re not around. I’ve never heard an ill word spoken about Streif…ever! Amongst all the Hawkeye alumni, there’s always been genuine love for Streif. Speaking for myself, that man was like an Iowa father figure & I will forever be grateful & love him for his presence in my life!
Quinn Early, football, 1984-87
In the summer of 1983, I was a skinny 18-year old kid from Long Island, NY, moving to Iowa City to begin what would be a great four and half years as a student and two-sport athlete. When I first arrived in Iowa City, there were times when I was extremely homesick to the say least.
One of the first people I met was John Streif. He instantly made me feel ss if I belonged. I also let me know if I ever needed anything, don’t hesitate to ask. He was the one person that would always check in with me to make sure that everything was going well. He would always say, “I’m proud of you Q.” Even when I was going through hard times, or not necessarily doing what I was supposed to do, there was never judgement. Only advice, encouragement and love. At the end of every conversation, he would say those word. “Proud of you.”
One year on my birthday I was in my apartment doing homework. It was just another day. My doorbell rang. When I answered it, standing there was Joh with a birthday cake and a big bag of Wendy’s. I could believe that he would take time out of his busy day to stop by with this gift. For me, it wasn’t about the items, but more about the caring and genuine heart of this amazing man. It made me emotional. I couldn’t thank him enough for his kind gesture. His response was, “I know, Q. Happy birthday,”
When I became a father, I returned to Iowa City with my two sons. John treated them as if they were his family.
One of the best things about John Streif is, mo matter who you talk to, he always made everyone feel the way that I did through his words, gestures and kindness.
He did and continues to do those things not because he wants something in return, but because he truly cares. If I had to describe John Streif in one word, it would be, “SELFLESS.”
Family is those who hold you in your heart forever. John Streif is my family.
Derrius Loveless, football,
I wanted to drop a note on what John meant to me as a student athlete and person. This man who sits in the back ground and takes care of us Athletes really doesn’t get enough credit for what he does outside of the program. When I was even hurting from the inside as a student he was always there to help. He never forgot us as past athletes and he always remembered us as human being. If I saw him today he would give me a hug and ask how I was doing, that’s what he meant to the Iowa program. John is that kind of person that you will never forget and I will always be truly be thankful he was part of my life as a student athlete at the university of Iowa.
Galen Noard, football, 1967-68
John was not only a classmate of mine but also started his Iowa athletic career as a student trainer on the football teams that I played. Just a wonderful giving human being from the beginning. I wish the athletic department would treat John like every athlete he was associated with. Pure class and dedication!!
David Mayhan, football, 1978-81
“As being one of the older Iowa football guys under your care, I remember first seeing you in the fall of 1978. Iowa had something like 18 straight non- winning seasons. Who knew we would turn it around and go to the Rose Bowl three years later. And when I say “we” , I’m especially talking about you. Not only were you the consummate professional who kept us healthy and treated our wounds, but you did so with great care and compassion. You were instrumental in our success.
Fast forward to 2010. My wife Marsha had a serious brain tumor and a surgery at the University of Iowa Hospital involving Drs. Arnold Menezes, Matt Howard and Keith Carter. As you know that’s the “A” team known internationally. We had great insurance and could have gone anywhere – MD Anderson in Houston, or Sloan Kettering in NYC, but I’m glad we chose Iowa for many reasons. She had an excellent result, but it was a long recovery. You took time out of you day to deliver me the Daily Iowan and check in on me when I was with her in the ICU. It’s like I never left Iowa City. You had not seen me in years, yet you treated me like close family. Those bonds you developed with your players run deep and true. And for that I am eternally grateful.
I can never repay you, John, but I wanted to send this note of sincere and heartfelt thanks. “
William Inge, football, 1993-96
He is a true 1 of a kind. When it comes to sacrifice and helping others, he stands alone. I could remember hurting my knee in my soph yr against Michigan. His care and help really gave me strength. Coming to replenish my ice cooler at 11pm to get me thru the night when myself or my roommate didn’t have transportation is one story that really sticks out. The one thing a remember the most is he was always the same. You would see a smile on his face and he was always willing to help the Hawkeyes. He left such an impact on me that I talk with him every Saturday during the fall. I have been doing this since about 2000. We view him as a family member. Last summer my mother in law passed away and who shows up at the visitation, John Streif.
He has so much hidden value in the program that most may not know all the great things he did to help the student athletes. Thanks for all you have done over the years. We all understand that at times, your job is very difficult and you must report on things that may make some feel uncomfortable. Just know I have a great deal of respect for what you have done throughout your career in covering the program. If there’s anything else you need, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
On Iowa, Go Hawks!
Anthony Dean, football, 1991-94
John Streif is a University of Iowa Athletics Department icon and legend. I don’t know that I have ever come in contact with anyone who has a negative word to say about John. Outside of my coaches, Fred Mims and his staff, John is a big reason I survived at The University of Iowa. His support during the time I battled homesickness was amazing and what I needed during that difficult time. He is one of those individuals who would give you the shirt off his back and not ask you why you needed it. He is one of the most caring and humble individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. After my mother’s sudden death in May 2002, John flew to South Florida to attend her visitation and funeral. We still talk often and I continue to be grateful for his lifelong friendship and support.
Eric Thigpen, football, 1995-98
Coming in from an urban area of Los Angeles and making this huge change to Iowa City, obviously, John Streif was a very comforting person. He would tell me you’re going to be okay. Stick it out. My teammate and I, Ramon Ochoa, were pretty homesick, two southern California boys coming to Iowa City. It was completely different. And John Streif was there to comfort us, and throughout our careers he was always there for anything we needed for us. He would figure out a way to make it happen. Man, there’s not enough words I can say. He’s just a great human being. I still keep in touch with him and I try to see him every time I head out there.”
Ramon Ochoa, football, 2000-03
What John meant to me in a short is “You’re the best “ that and “don’t ever change bud”. Will be with me for the rest of my life. Nothing but love and appreciation of John from my parents that don’t speak English and they still ask me about him . Love and respect.
Bob Hansen, basketball, 1979-83
Probably the single most valuable person during his distinguished career at the University of Iowa! A few of the words that I think of to describe John Streif are friend, caring, loyal, selfless, loving and dedicated. From the first time you meet John during your initial days on campus, you immediately understand his role and importance to the program. John wore many hats as trainer, travel coordinator, confidant and big brother in so many ways. If you were unfortunate to be injured during your time as an athlete; and who wasn’t, John was always there to make sure you understood the process, and everything was going to be ok Bud. From his stories of working as Bobby Knights trainer at Army or rushing to the side of a fallen runner who had been struck by lightning outside the training facility John Streif was always there. Like his nickname Radar from the TV series Mash, John had a sixth sense about him and was always a step ahead of everyone else. Having been around countless trainers, no one taped an ankle like John could and his wisdom and knowledge he left behind on countless trainers will only benefit the profession moving forward. John, thank you for everything you have ever done for me but more importantly for the success of the University of Iowa Athletics!