MANHATTAN, Kan. – Jim Iverson, a three-year letterman for Kansas State (1949-52) and a starter on the 1951 NCAA Championship runner-up team, recently passed away at the age of 90 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Born on August 22, 1930 in Mitchell, South Dakota, Iverson played three seasons (1949-52) for Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner, leading the Wildcats during one of their greatest periods of success that included a near 80 percent winning percentage (61-16/.792), an appearance in the 1951 NCAA Championship game and a pair of Big Seven Conference titles (1950, 1951).
Iverson was a regular starter on the Wildcat team that posted a 25-4 record and lost to Kentucky in the 1951 NCAA Championship, averaging 8.9 points on 39 percent shooting in 29 games played. As a senior, he was the captain of the 1951-52 squad that posted a 19-5 record and lost just twice in Big Seven play en route to finishing No. 3 in The Associated Press poll. He averaged 12.9 points per game as a senior, just behind All-American Dick Knostman.
For his playing career, Iverson averaged 8.4 points on nearly 40 percent shooting and 75 percent shooting from the free throw line in 75 games played.
Upon graduating, Iverson was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1952 NBA Draft. Following a stint in Japan to fulfill his military obligations, he returned to Manhattan where he met and married his wife, Joan Chilson, while earning his Master’s degree in secondary school administration in 1956.
Iverson was hired as the men’s basketball coach at South Dakota State in 1956, guiding the Jackrabbits to 142 wins in nine season that included five North Central Conference championships, three regional championships and one national championship in the 1963 NCAA College Division Tournament. He was selected as the National College Division Coach of the Year in 1963.
Upon leaving the coaching profession, Iverson moved into the private sector, working for the National Bank of South Dakota (US Bank), Valley Bank and Heart Hospital of South Dakota, before retiring in 2005.
Iverson is survived by his sister, Elaine Walsh, his daughter, Nancy (Bob) Schantz, grandchildren Christina (Dan) Loomis, Katie Schantz and Jimmy Schantz and two great granddaughters, Olivia and Grace Loomis. He was preceded in death by his parents (Melvin and Naomi Iverson), brother, Mervin Iverson, his wife, Joan Chilson Iverson, and his son, Paul Iverson.
Online condolences can be left for the family on the Heritage Funeral Home website here.
A memorial service will be held at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 11 a.m., CT. Memorials may be directed to Gideon’s International and/or the James D. Iverson Endowed Scholarship for Men’s Basketball at South Dakota State.
Director for Men’s Basketball Communications | K-State Athletics