Le Mars Native, Former Hawkeye Passes

Former Le Mars all-stater and former Iowa men’s basketball All-Big Ten forward Dave Gunther has died. According to a release from the Iowa Athletics Department, he passed away this past Saturday (March 16) at the age of 86.

Gunther scored 1,188 career points and grabbed 690 career rebounds from 1956-59.  When he left Iowa City, Gunther shared the distinction as Iowa’s all-time leading scorer. His 18.0 career scoring average ranks sixth all-time.

The Philadelphia Warriors selected Gunther in the 1959 draft, but he elected to join the U.S. Army. After his tour of duty, he played professionally for three years and eventually reached the NBA with the San Francisco Warriors in 1962.

Following his playing career, Gunther went into coaching for more than 30 years. After a few years in the high school ranks, he became head coach at Wayne State in Nebraska before embarking on a hall-of-fame career at North Dakota for 18 seasons. He led the program to 332 wins, five North Central Conference titles, eight NCAA Division II tournaments and three Elite Eights before retiring in 1988. He returned to coaching in 1992 at Buena Vista for three seasons and moved on to coach six additional years at Bemidji State before retiring from coaching a second time in 2001.

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