James "Jim" Hallihan

  • Born: January 5, 1945
  • Died: November 20, 2020
  • Location: Ankeny, Iowa

Memorial Services of Iowa

4208 North Ankeny Blvd.
Ankeny, IA 50023

Tel. (515) 964-0592

Tribute & Message From The Family

James (Jim) Hallihan, of Ankeny, Iowa, was welcomed by God into life eternal on November 20, 2020. He passed at his home from sudden complications due to metastatic cancer. Jim is survived by his wife of 45 cherished years, Trish; and his children, Jennifer (Mark) Howieson, Kelly (Ryan) Wyllie and Danny (Lauren) Hallihan. He will also be deeply missed by his six grandchildren, Rosie, Jack, Lily, Josie, Ellie and Maeve; his sister, Dana; nephews, Darren and Devin; and all of Trish's family.

Jim was born to Rose and Dan Hallihan on January 5, 1945, in Alton, Illinois. He grew up in Decatur, Illinois, and was a proud member of the 1962 Illinois State Championship basketball team. If you knew him, you knew that! Stephen Decatur High School held a special place in his heart.

He enjoyed a successful basketball career at Miami (Ohio) University, graduating in 1967. After a short stint as a head coach at Casey (Ill.) High School, he went on a tour of duty in the Army. Jim was an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, with their 1973 team winning the N.I.T. He coached with Sonny Smith at East Tennessee State for 2 years then served as head coach there from 1979-1982.

Jim joined Johnny Orr's basketball staff at Iowa State University in 1982. He served as top assistant at ISU for twelve years of Hilton Magic.
In 1994, he became the Executive Director of the Iowa Sports Foundation. In 2011, one year before his retirement, they had over 190,000 participants.
Among many honors promoting sportsmanship and good character, Jim received the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award, Character Count's highest honor, which reflects former Governor Ray's lifelong commitment to civility and character development.

After retirement, he served as a member of Ankeny Parks Board and volunteered as the announcer at the Ankeny Miracle Field baseball games. He was a giver in all things, including organ donation.

Jim was a long-time member and served as an Elder at Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Ames. His faith was a foundation of who he was. Proverbs 3:5-6
Most of all, he was a devoted husband, loving father, incredible Papa, cherished coach and mentor, and supportive and fiercely loyal to his friends and family. Every Father's Day he was honored to receive messages from many former players and others who loved him.

Those wishing to give memorials in lieu of flowers are asked to donate in his memory to Trinity Christian Reformed Church, 3626 Ontario St., Ames, IA 50014.

Please save the date for the memorial service of Jim Hallihan on Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 1 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. We pray for this to be a safe time and space in our world. We hope to be able to have this time of reunion and celebration of a life well lived after such a difficult year of being separated.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I'm very saddened to hear of Jim's passing. I had him for PE class at ETSU in Johnson City, TN. I was in a car accident while in his class, and had to leave school for the term. Coach called my house to say I had completed his class and not to drop it. He knew my uncle, Coach Harold Stout, and inquired about him often. I never have forgotten his kindness to me during my recovery from that accident. He was very loved here in Tennessee. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and children. Nancy Stout Turley

Posted by Nancy Turley - Elizabethton, TN - Student   September 04, 2021

Coach Hallihan guided me into coaching by being a true professional.

Posted by Charlie - Friend   November 25, 2020

Jim was legendary in so many ways! Iowa State missed a big opportunity in not hiring him as Men's Bball Coach after Johnny Orr retired. He was a first class gentleman and I'll never forget his wise words after my late Dad passed away in 1995. Thank you for being a great friend, Jim - Dad will be welcoming you in heaven and inviting you to another Courter Fish Fry :)

Posted by Jeff Courter - West Des Moines, IA - Friend   November 25, 2020

Our deepest sympathies are with all of you. I absolutely loved working with Jim! We spent several years working together on the Live Healthy Iowa project when I worked for Hy-Vee. Such a kind, gentle, wonderful man whom I admired so very much!! I will always cherish our time together. God Bless all of you at this most difficult time.

Posted by Sandy Leiferman - Panora, IA - Friend   November 25, 2020

Trish and family I am so sorry for your loss. I was Linda Cruse Karena and Jennifer were in high school together. Feel free to contact me anytime

Posted by Linda Conner - Glidden, IA - Friend   November 24, 2020

So very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He was Truly one of the Very Good Guys! I knew him starting from his coaching at Casey, then thru his long time friendship with David Erwin. I know how EXTREMELY special his Family was to him, adoring his wife and children and grandchildren. Rest In Peace Jim.

Posted by Cheri (Erwin) Calvert - Friend   November 24, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. We had some wonderful times together. I'm sorry we've lost touch over the years, but I think of you often. Please accept my deepest condolences and my sincerest thoughts and prayers

Posted by Steve Ward - Alpharetta, GA - Friend   November 24, 2020

Dear Trish, Jennifer, Kelly, Danny and families,
I was so saddened to learn of Jim's passing. He was such a good man and he shared those wonderful character traits which he demonstrated with anyone and everyone throughout his life. The impact he made on his players as a coach was secondary to the impact he made on everyone with whom he interacted. The community has lost a good one and God has gained a great team player in Heaven. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. Cherish the many memories you have created as a family throughout the years.
With deepest sympathy,
John Kinley
Ames Middle School Principal 1991-2001

Posted by John Kinley - Ames, IA - Friend   November 23, 2020

Hallihan family – my deepest condolences.

I had only a few interactions with Jim, but he left a lasting impression.

I first met Jim in 2000 when I was awarded the Brian Pearson Memorial Scholarship. I could tell there was something special about this man, just by talking with him.

In 2001, in the second round of the high school basketball playoffs, I hit a three-pointer in the corner with seven seconds left to tie the #1 ranked team in the state. That team proceeded to hit a three at the buzzer to end my senior season.

That defeat instantly brought me to the ground in tears, and The Ames Tribune captured that moment with a photo. Jim must have seen the article and the photo. He sent a copy of the paper along with a note of support.

That note, Jim thinking of me, meant the world to me.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I was at a career crossroads. I knew I needed a change. After countless hours of prayer, thinking, and research, I still felt like I had no direction.

For some reason, it popped in my head that I should reach out to Jim. I sent him an email, and he was kind enough to give me a call and offer his best advice.

Again, at that point in my life, it meant the world to hear from someone I respect so much.

I suspect that Jim always made time for those in need. It's just who he was.

I pray that God's peace, which surpasses all understanding, will surround you during this difficult time.

God bless you.

Posted by Ryan    November 23, 2020

My wife and I had the distinct honor of working closely with Jim when we had the Iowa Games Storm Lake Regional for seven years.
Jim was always a gentleman and a role model to me as man of strong Christian faith. His example showed me how to be a good family man too.
Our deepest sympathy to the Hallihan family. Jim was the patriarch of his clan and proudly so. He will be greatly missed by all who had the opportunity to know him. Take your rest, good friend.
Jeff and Janis Stavnes

Posted by Jeff Stavnes - Storm Lake, IA - Acquaintance   November 23, 2020

Jim was truly one of the nicest, kindest, most sincere and giving individuals I've had the pleasure of working with. I first met him when I worked for the Des Moines Register and we sponsored the Iowa Games. I continued to work with Jim as I moved to Principal and we also sponsored the Iowa Games, and reviewed other sponsorship proposals he brought us. He was such a wonderful human being that it made saying no to him, which I sometimes had to do, very difficult. A consummate professional, a kind and caring person, and just one heck of a nice guy. My deepest condolences to Jim's family and his host of friends and acquaintances on this loss.

Posted by Chris Riedel King - Coworker   November 23, 2020

Jim was a very special person. He truly made a positive difference in so many young lives. He made everyone around him better.
My deepest sympathy to the whole family.

Posted by Suku Radia - West Des Moines, IA - Friend   November 22, 2020

Take your rest Coach Halihan. Words can't explain how much you and your family mean to me.

Posted by Ronnie Virgil - Maywood, IL - Family Friend   November 22, 2020


Posted by Ewing Ewing - Clive, IA - Friend   November 22, 2020

I will remember Jim as one of the kindest men I have ever met! He once helped me with a fund raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Association and every time I would run into him (usually at the Iowa Games) he would ask how my daughter with diabetes was doing. I know how much he loved his family and the Cyclones! You will all be in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time of loss!

Posted by Jane Terrill - Ames, IA - Acquaintance   November 21, 2020

Trish and Family- I was so sad to hear of Jim’s passing!!! I know my dad loved spending time with Jim golfing, supporting the Iowa games and of course cheering on The Cyclones!! He always had a smile on his face when he stopped into the Reynolds & Reynolds office to visit Dad. The last time I saw him was about a year ago when he came to hospice to see dad. He shared the news of his cancer diagnosis but still took the time to sit and visit and of course made him laugh as they shared many great memories. He was so positive and upbeat. Sending prayers and love at this very difficult time!
Meghan (Pray) Hirsch
Daughter of Jack Pray

Posted by Meghan Hirsch - Friend   November 21, 2020

Love to the family praying for comfort in Jesus Name Amen

Posted by Gloria Phifer - Friend   November 21, 2020

Remembering Jim as a very devout Christian who cherished his wife and adored his children. So blessed to know this wonderful family when I was a student at Iowa State. Fond memories of babysitting three adorable children when Danny was a baby. Prayers for all of you! Hugs, Shelene

Posted by Shelene (Springer) McDermott - Panora, IA - Family Friend   November 21, 2020

So sorry to hear of Jim's passing. He will be missed by all who knew him. He was a good man and a great guy.

Posted by MJ McElvain - Cedar Falls, IA - Friend   November 21, 2020

Trish & family, I am so sorry for your loss. I so enjoyed Jim and the Hallihan family during my years at Chic Beauty Salon. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Cathy Mather - Ames, IA - Family Friend   November 21, 2020

Trish & family, I am so sorry for your loss. I so enjoyed the Hallihan family during my years at Chic Beauty Salon. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Cathy Mather - Ames, IA - Family Friend   November 21, 2020

Seldom is a person so respected and loved by so many! As Curt's sister, I had an opportunity to see their special friendship. Thank you!

Posted by Gail Schayfer - Friend   November 21, 2020

Trish and family,
I'm sorry for your loss. Jim leaves a legacy of faith and character. He touched many lives,and will be missed.

Posted by Jeanie McElvain - Cedar Falls, IA - Acquaintance   November 21, 2020

Jim was the best "man" I have known. He exemplified his faith and he was dedicated to all who knew him as a mentor, a coach, and a friend. He was just a great guy, who loved his family, his friends, and his adopted state of Iowa.

I am deeply saddened at the news of his passing, but extremely happy for him knowing he is now with his Lord and Savior.

Posted by Jeff Scully - Friend   November 21, 2020

I first met Jim about three years ago when he and I were pitchers for the Ankeny Miracle League. Jim was a legend in my mind but it turns out he was really just a nice guy who treated everybody he met with kindness and respect.

What I am trying to say is that Jim didn't act like the legend I knew as a Cyclone basketball fan . . . Jim was a man who loved his team, his family and his friends, and was a good friend to me.

One of my most cherished "selfies" is with Jim and me and I shared it with all of my Cyclone fan friends, who were most jealous.

Jim may have passed but his legend lives on.

Goodbye my friend.

Posted by Tom Stoner - Polk City, IA - Friend   November 21, 2020


I loved playing golf with Jimmy, he never wanted to get beat, he was always
trash talking!!!!

Always up beat and positive!!!

Miss you Coach!!!


Posted by Tim Wolf - Waukee, IA - Friend   November 21, 2020

Trish and Family,
Our hearts are so saddened for your loss. You know that no one was ever prouder of his family than Jim. He was truly a special person, my college roommate, and the glue that kept all of our college teammates and friends in touch. We will miss him immensely, but God is welcoming a loyal servant.
Vickki and Bix

Posted by Bob Bixler - Land O'Lakes, FL - Classmate   November 21, 2020

Very sorry for your loss, I knew Jim through the Winter Iowa Games in Dubuque Ia. He always had kind and encouraging words even if the day wasn't looking good.

Posted by Jay Gonzales Sr - Dubuque, IA - Friend   November 20, 2020

Kelly and family - thinking of you during this time. Wishing you peace and comfort in the days ahead.

Posted by Nicole Peckumn - Washington, DC - Family Friend   November 20, 2020

I served as the table tennis commissioner at the Iowa Games from 1996-2018. When IU think of Jim, two words best represent my thoughts of him:

1. Integrity
2. Kind

Posted by Paul Lewis - Dubuque, IA - Friend   November 20, 2020

Jim was to me the parent of some high school classmates of mine he was also the gentleman who let me help and lead Bag Stuffing for Iowa Games Athletes for a number of years which was great fun

Posted by andrew brown - branson, MO - Friend   November 20, 2020