His coaching accomplishments are impressive enough to stand alone when it comes to handing out awards. His dedication, support and service to track and field and cross country are equally worthy.
After graduating from Cedar Rapids Jefferson in 1968, Bill moved on to Upper Iowa University and earned degrees in American History and Physical Education.
His next stop was Williamsburg, and albeit retired, he is still there. In his 35 years as a teacher and coach, as well as 25 years as the Athletic Director, at Williamsburg High School, Bill Neal showed that he could lead young men and women to success in athletics and in life. Bill showed in his career at Williamsburg and beyond, that he is not afraid to step up and do what he can to make our sports better and to turn the experiences of young athlete’s, into lifelong memories. Bill Neal was a successful coach, and not just in track and field and cross country as most might think.
He coached girl’s golf for 4 years and had one state qualifier and in 14 years of coaching boys’ basketball his squads compiled a record of 166-86. Bill coached boys cross country for 8 years and had 6 state qualifying teams. In his 25 years as a boys or girls track coach 18 of his teams won conference titles; with the girls winning 10 in a row. Seven times his teams finished in the top 6 at the state meet and his girls 4×800 teams won gold in an unbelievable 7 state meets in a row. After Bill retired in 2003, the Raiders won again in 2004 and 2005, just for good measure. Over his career, Bill Neal led Williamsburg athletes won 112 conference championships and medals at 95 state meets.
Bill has received numerous awards over the years, a direct reflection of his coaching prowess. He has been a Drake Relays referee, IATC girl’s track and field coach of the year, IATC senior all star meet coach, 5 time track and field regional coach of the year, 3 time regional cross country coach of the year, and 8 time conference coach of the year. Some would argue that Bill has become more involved in our sports since retiring. He is in his 18th year as IATC treasurer. Bill has worked many meets as a highly respected track official and starter. He is currently co-head coordinator for combined events at the Drake Relays. He has worked several Division 1 and Division 3 national cross country and track and field meets, and he has been the starter for D-3 regional and national cross country meets.
It takes people like Bill Neal to keep our organization successful. Bill has tremendous experience as a coach and administrator but he is willing to learn new things, take on new roles and do whatever is needed to keep our sports moving forward and making lifelong memories for kids. Bill is joined here today by his two daughters, Amy Kay and husband Ryan from Cedar Rapids and Beth Keaney and husband Zach from Cedar Falls. These 2 young ladies ran on 5 of the 9 state champion 4×8 teams at Williamsburg. Bill would like you to believe that his coaching had little to do with their accomplishments, but I would guess they would beg to differ.
Peggy “Peg” Neppel-Darrah
Peggy was a distance specialist in a time when state and national track leaders didn’t understand that women could run more than a 400. She soon became a world record-holder in three distance events. Neppel set three world records during her running career. In 1976, she ran three miles in 15 minutes 41.69 seconds to win the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championship. Her record-setting race of 15:52.47 in the 5,000 meters came at the Drake Relays in 1977. She won the 10,000 at the AAU Nationals with a time of 33:15.1, in 1977 as well.
Neppel could not show her talents internationally because at the peak of her career, there were no Olympic events in her specialties. The 1,500 race became an Olympic event in 197, but it was too short for her. Neppel, an 880-yard high school champion, began her collegiate career as a nursing student at Iowa. She transferred to Iowa State to run and study animal science. Athletic scholarships had just begun for female athletes, but she didn’t have one.
Peggy still holds five Iowa State records. That her records still exist from the beginning years of women’s track and cross country. She was the first AIAW champion in any sport when she won the national cross-country championship in 1975. The following spring, she won the two and three-mile races at the AIAW outdoor championships and set the first of her three world records.
Shortly after setting the world record in the 10,000, Neppel cut back on her running. She had accomplished everything she could at that point and it was time to do other things. She married Mark Darrah in 1979. When it was announced that a women’s marathon would be added to the 1984 Olympics, Neppel began training again.
But she was bothered by a persistent pain in her abdomen, and went to see a doctor. Doctors found a rapidly growing cancer. Neppel and her husband absorbed themselves in understanding the disease and helping their friends understand it. As friends, they tried to keep others from feeling sadness about her fate.
On Oct. 16, 1981, Peg Neppel Darrah died of complications from pneumonia. She was 28 years old and a few months short of receiving her doctorate in animal science. Just before she died, friends organized a benefit race for her medical expenses.
Approximately 500 people ran. The glory of the Olympics did not became a part of her life, but students of animal science at Iowa State today benefit from her memory and the farm girl who loved to run in the woods.
Al has been active in officiating sporting events since 1978 in the Adel and Dexter area. Prior to that time he started his working career with the Northwest Bell Telephone Company in 1959. And was inducted into the US Army in 1961 where he spent four years stationed in Germany. He returned from the Army and returned to NW Bell until his retirement in 1992 as a Central Office Supervisor. In 1990 he purchased his family farm and worked the farm land, did office Supervisor duties and worked in his real love for Track and Field in the spring.
In his younger days he wanted to be part of the sports world and he found himself coaching little girl’s softball in and around Adel, IA. He also served on the Board of Directors and organized Junior Olympic Track Meets in Adel. In Adel he expanded his interest in Track and Field to where he helped with the Cross Country Meets and Spring Track Meets in various officiating duties. Then he became the Meet Director for many years. The next step moved him to the State High School Meet where his knowledge was appreciated in High Jump arena. He became such a knowledgeable fixture in the State Boys and Girls Meets with the High Jump he was asked to be part of the Drake Relays and this year he will complete his 32 year with the Drake Relays. In 2007 he was named the Co-Head of the Jumps and Combined Events at Drake, and was honored to have his name placed on Drake’s Wall of Honor. His expertise was further acknowledged because he has been able to assist with various National Collegiate Meets at the Division III level and with the NCAA Divisional I Meet in 2008. In 2007 he was granted the very first IATO Field Event Official of Year Award. In the following year of 2008 he was given the first ever Friend of the School Award from Adel-Desota-Minburn Schools. By this time everyone knew that when Al was running an event you had the best of the best. When you watch Al work his event you can be assured he will be is tops in knowing the rules of the event and will ensure fair competition for all those competitors in all his sports he officiates. His encouragement of all athletes during the competition is often heard from the Head Man himself.
Inducted into the IATC Hall of Fame in 2002. Dean was born in Des Moines in October 1934. He was raised in Lake City and graduated from high school in 1952. He participated in many activities in high school. He was a member of the 1952 state championship track team.
After graduation from high school, Dean enrolled at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake. He graduated from BVC in 1957. Dean began his teaching career in Storm Lake in 1957. He taught at Storm Lake until his retirement from teaching in 2000. Dean coached football and track and served as volunteer assistant in cross country during a 45 year coaching career. Some of his accomplishments in track and field are: one hundred fifty eight state qualifiers, forty-one state place winners, three state championship teams, two state runner-ups, 1 fourth place, one 5th place and one sixth place finish at the state meet. His teams have won three Lakes Conference titles, three conference runner-ups, three 3rd place finishes, and four fourth place finishes. Dean has received many honors during his outstanding career. Some of these are, State Coach of the Year in 1987, 1988, and 2002, Regional Coach of the Year in 1989, 1994, 2000, and the 1984 Buena Vista College Coach of the Year. Dean has served on the track and Field advisory board for the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Dean has been married to his wife Donadee for 42 years. They have two children, Barb and Todd.
John Niemeyer was raised on a farm near Waverly, Iowa. He began his love of track and field when the famous Waverly football and track coach, Mart Brandis, asked him to join the Waverly track team in 1956. His areas of expertise became the hurdles, relays and long jumping. His success at Waverly led to a track scholarship at Wartburg College where he was a captain of the track team for all 4 years. John continued his involvement with track and field when he began his teaching and coaching career in 1962. After a brief stay in Ocheyedon, John moved to the Des Moines area and began coaching and officiating at Ankeny. John officiated over 25 meets in the area through 1983 when he moved his family to the St. Louis, MO area. His officiating career expanded in 1977 when Gary Osborn, longtime Drake track coach, asked him to become a clerk for the Drake Relays. He was selected a few years later to be the head clerk for the boys’ state meet and continues to clerk both meets today. Moving to the St. Louis region has not stopped him from continuing his officiating of Iowa’s track and field events at all levels including Jr. Olympics, Big 12, Drake Relays and the new Coed Boys/Girls State Track and Field meets. His greatest moment in track and field came his senior year in college when he challenged the famed C.K. Yang, the great decathlete from UCLA, in the 120 high hurdles and ran a personal best of 14.6 on the crushed brick track at the Drake Relays. John will continue to serve the youth of Iowa through his officiating and build on the many memories in track and field.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Worked at the Boy’s State Track Meet for many years. Serves as one of the Clerk’s of Course at the Boy’s State Track Meet. Has worked at the Boy’s State Basketball Tournament as Bench Supervisor for many years. Worked 24 years in High School Football Playoffs, including 5 Championship games. Conducted Rules Meetings for Football and Basketball and served as on observer for both. Has been a registered official since 1965 for Football, Basketball and Track. Coached High School Football, Basketball and Track and has served as an Athletic Director. HONORS: Inducted into the IHSAA Officials Hall of Fame in1979. Received the NFOA Distinguished Service for Officials (Section 4) in 1986. NFOA Outstanding Official Award for Track and Field for State of Iowa in 1990. Inducted into the IGHSAU Officials Hall of Fame in 1994. Received a plaque from the IHSAA for 25 years of active service in 1995. Served on the IHSAA Officials Advisory Committee. Served as the State Director of Iowa for the NFOA for 7 years. Has been a Starter at the boys State Track Meet. Received a plaque from the IATC/IATO as the regional award winner for the SW Region in 2000.
Stan Norenberg was a football and track athlete at the University of Northern Iowa. He graduated in 1957 and moved to Adel, Iowa to teach and coach football and track. He coached and taught for 10 years and then became the high school administrator at Adel for the next 25 years. Stan spent his entire educational career at ADM High School. Stan has had many accomplishments and honors bestowed on him during his career. He is the member of the ADM Hall of Fame, Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame, both the Boys and Girls Athletic Association’s Officials Hall of Fame. He has been recognized as one of Iowa’s Outstanding Principals, a member of the executive board of both the Iowa Football Coaches Association and Iowa High School Principal’s Association, Korean War Veteran and a 40+ year member of his Methodist Church, Lions Club and Masonic Lodge. Stan’s career at a track starter began in 1960. During the ensuing 40 years as a official, he started over 700 junior high, high school and college track meets. He started dozens of girls’ and boys’ district and state track meets at Drake Stadium. To top that off, he also refereed over 1000 basketball games during his career. Stan retired from public education in 1992 and from officiating in 2000. He now lives in Palm Springs, California and plays golf six months a year. The other six months, he lives in Adel, volunteering his time at the Dallas County Fairgrounds. He has three married children who all graduated from college. He spends lots of his retirement time playing golf, fishing, hiking and, what I think is best of all, riding his Harley.
Attended Clinton High School graduating in 1941. Hugh was an outstanding swimmer. He was a State champion, held three national and eight State Swimming Records and was an All-American his senior season. He attended the University of Iowa and captian of the swim team in 1944. Know as “that one legged swimmer” from Clinton, he was inducted into the Iowa High School Swimming Hall of Fame. Hugh first became interested in Track & Field during the 1960’s, while his sons were in high school. Let’s look at some of the accomplishments and contributions he has made to Track & Field. 30 plus years as being a starter and referee for High School, College, National and International Track & Field and Cross Country Events. Drake Relays Executive Committee Cheif Field Judge of the Drake Relays 6 year member of the Girls’ Track & Field Advisory Committee – chairman for three years Member of the Boy’s Track & Field Advisory Committee Girls Athletic Union Hall of Fame Committee Referee to the Girls Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships Chief Judge for the Boy’s State Outdoor Track & Field Championships One of Four Referees for the Los Angeles Olympic Games – Decathlon and Heptathlon Elected National Chairman of Officials for the Athletic Congress – now USA Track & Field Recipient of The Athletic Congress Outstanding Officials Award – 1986 Recipient of The National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association Officials Award” – 1991 Served for six years on the Adel-DeSoto school board President of the Adel-DeSoto Scholarship Foundation Secretary-treasurer of the Perfered Risk Life Insurance Company Member of the Perfered Risk Life Insurance Company Board of Directors
He was known as “that one legged swimmer form Clinton” having lost his left leg in a train accident at age four. Before finishing High School, he had won several state swimming championships, set six state records and three national records. He was named to the All-American swimming team in 1941, his senior year at Clinton High School. He attended the University of Iowa and was captain of the 1944 swimming team. In the early 60’s, when the Iowa High School Swimming Hall of Fame was established, he was in the first group to be inducted. During the next several years, he started and refereed many high school swimming meets, including being the referee of both high school boys and girls swimming state championship meets. In 1963, he became a starter and referee for high school boys and girls track and field. He became a Drake Relays official in 1966 and continued in that meet for 35 years having been Chief Field Judge and Referee of Field Events. He was a member of the Relays Executive Committee for approximately 25 years. During his 37 years of track and field officiating, he was the starter for several hundred track meets, including district meets. He was the referee of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union state championships and the Iowa High School Athletic Association championships. He was inducted into the Iowa Track Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Officials Hall of Fame in 1996. Hugh always said the highlight of his career was to be selected as the referee of Combined Events (Men’s decathlon and Women’s heptathlon) at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was selected the United States Track and Federation’s outstanding track and field official in 1986, and was elected Chairman of Officials for that organization for 1986-87. During these years, Hugh and his wife lived in Adel for 38 years and his last two in Des Moines. He served as the president of the Adel-Desoto-Minburn High School Scholarship Foundation for many years. He was an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Adel. He served several terms on the Adel-Desoto Community School Board and was its president of three years. He was an active member of the Adel United Methodist Church.