Legacy of Chris Street still strong 25 years later - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Legacy of Chris Street still strong 25 years later

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

25 years ago today, the state of Iowa was stunned to hear about the sudden death of Hawkeye star, Chris Street.

At 6'8", number 40 Chris Street was larger than life on and off the court. He was known by his teammates as the hardest-working player, and as a leader.

"Whatever people saw on the court, that's how he was off the court," Wade Lookingbill, Street's former teammate, said.

On the night of January 19, 1993, Street had left a team dinner at Highland Supper Club in Iowa City. When Street went to turn left onto Highway 1, he was struck by a Johnson County snow plow. Street was pronounced dead at the scene.  His girlfriend was also in the car and survived.

Since that tragic night, the memory of Street hasn't fade. Instead, his legacy has only grown stronger.

Outside the Iowa men's locker room is a plaque to always honor Street with "Forever 40." For those that knew Street, they still carry him with them, even 25 years later.

"It's hard to believe that it's been that long. The thing that is even more miraculous is everything is still so fresh," Kenyon Murray said. Murray was a freshman player at the time of Street's death.  More than teammates, Murray considers Street one of his best friends.

Murray is now an assistant varsity coach at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, where his two sons, Keegan and Kris, play. Murray named Kris after his late friend.

"For me, he's a living legacy to the friend that I had, to the teammate that I had.  And so for me, Chris is a part of my everyday significance," he said.

The effect Street has had on people, still 25 years later, is a nod to the type of person he was, Murray said.

"People felt like they knew Chris. It didn't matter if they were watching at home or from afar. They felt like they knew him because his exuberance and his love for the game, and his enthusiasm for the game I think just came out to everybody. He was approachable and so people really feel like he was one of them," he said.

Murray said Street was not only the type of player he aspired to be, but the type of person. Even now, he said he thinks to himself, "What would Chris do?"

"For me, the best thing is that his memory is alive and strong," Murray said.

A memory that lives on largely through his parents, Mike and Patty.

"We live with it every day.  Sometimes it affects us more than others.  I guess I'm overwhelmed with the emotion of people," Mike Street said.

Each year, a Chris Street Memorial Scholarship is given to one Hawkeye and, at the end of the season, a player is awarded the Chris Street Award, the team's highest honor. The award is given to a player that best showcases Street's “spirit, enthusiasm and intensity."

On Saturday, the Hawkeyes will honor Street during its 11 a.m. game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against 3rd-ranked Purdue.

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