Jayme Olson: How the Iowa State Hall of Fame inductee helped women’s basketball


EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a post from Carmon Wilson, an Iowa State women’s basketball reporter. His work has been featured at AllCyclones.com and we are excited to announce that he will be a contributor to Clones Confidential. Follow him on Twitter.

When Iowa State announced its 2014 Hall of Fame inductees back in February, to the normal fan, the names might not sound that familiar. Student athletes of decades past, who gave it all not only on the field of play, but in the classroom and represent Iowa State in the highest regard, will be honored for their excellence.

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Among the 2014 Iowa State Hall of Fame inductees this year is former women’s basketball player Jayme Olson. By the time Olson exhausted her eligibility in 1998 she stood atop as the all-time leader in points scored in Iowa State history (1,799), averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game throughout her career. Her other accolades include being named the conference freshmen of the year in 1995, a four member of the all-conference team, an honorable mention All-American according to basketball times in 1998 and a three-time GTE District VII Academic All-American. In 2004, Iowa State retired her jersey.

The former Miss Iowa Basketball while at Bettendorf High School, Olson committed to play for then head coach Theresa Becker in 1994 despite growing up in a Hawkeye household as her father, Gary, was a starting forward for the University of Iowa in the mid 60’s (1964-66).

After a disappointing starting to her collegiate career going 8-19 (1-13 in conference), Iowa State looked to spark the program by hiring Bill Fennelly to take over the reins. This began the journey that allowed the Cyclone basketball teams reach new heights. As a junior, the 1996-97 Cyclones earned their first NCAA tournament appearance for the first time in school history. As a senior, the she had managed to get Iowa State into the top 25 for the first time in school history.

Returning to her roots, Olson operates as an associate principal at Bettendorf Middle School, and was the varsity head coach for Bulldogs from 2003-09 posting a 65-74 record.

In a time of uncertainty in the Iowa State women’s basketball program, Olson, among others, deserve a lot of credit for sticking with the new coaching regime and not transferring out of the program. Because of players like her, her teammates, and their desire to work hard and win, they helped mold the Iowa State program into what it is today.