Jack Trice: Stories of Inspiration

Jack Trice 100

Written by Steve Jones | Image by Matt Van Winkle

George Trice at ISU homecoming 2022

George Trice, pictured at the 2022 Iowa State Homecoming game, founded the Trice Legacy Foundation to support students of color in creating their own legacies. Image by Matt Van Winkle


A case of chicken pox kept young George Trice (’05 marketing) from visiting Iowa in 1988 for the unveiling of a sculpture honoring his first cousin twice removed, Jack Trice. 

“I was 8 years old and didn’t know the significance of the event, didn’t even know anything about Jack Trice,” George admitted. 

Even as a high school senior, it took a coach reading a news article to inform him that ISU was going to rename its stadium in honor of his relative. 

Today, George knows all about Jack Trice and wants others to know him not only as an athlete, but as a man who “wanted to educate his race and community by creating a culture around family.” 

George created the Trice Legacy Foundation to support students of color “to create their own legacies.” He is raising money and now provides scholarships for college-bound students and laptops for high schoolers. 

The foundation keeps George hopping, but it is important to him. And, when raising funds, he has a strong selling point: “We’re not affiliated with the family, we are the family.” 


Doug Jeske (’89 agriculture journalism, public service and administration) learned about Jack Trice during his undergraduate years at Iowa State in the late 1980s. It left a lasting impression. 

“Jack Trice’s story inspired me at the time, and I’ve seen how it’s inspired generations of students,” he said. “And it still inspires me today.” 

Jeske worked in the GSB office shortly after the organization allocated $22,000 to create a statue to memorialize Trice on campus. In 1988, he helped welcome Jack Trice’s relatives who had journeyed from Ohio for the ceremony, and he lent a hand when it came time to uncover the 1,600-pound bronze sculpture. Up stepped an Iowa State Daily photographer. 

“There was a Daily photo of me helping to unveil the statue,” Jeske said, “but that overstates my role.” 

For years, Doug and Karen Jeske (’89 distributed studies, PhD ’10 sociology) have generously supported many Iowa State initiatives through their volunteerism and philanthropy, including Trice-related projects. The two serve on the Jack Trice 100 Commemoration Committee. 


When he arrived at Iowa State in 2015, Coach Matt Campbell sought an identity for Cyclone football. He wanted a powerful story to define his vision for the ISU program. 

He looked no farther than the name on the stadium wall. 

“We were going to build Iowa State football on the Jack Trice story and the legacy he left behind,” Campbell said. “Today we take the lessons he taught us and try to create our own legacies moving forward individually and collectively as a team.” 

Campbell said it is important for his team to understand what Trice means to the university. Trice’s story is emphasized during recruitment and when players arrive on campus. “We start the football season every year reiterating and understanding the legacy and what it means to play at Iowa State.” 

Campbell calls Trice a “trailblazer” for leaving Cleveland to become the first African American student-athlete at Iowa State. “The courage and commitment that this young man made at that time to blaze a trail, not only for himself but certainly for many, many others after him, is truly powerful.”