Congratulations to Peacocks Anthony “Tony” DiCecco ’71, Dianna Leftridge ‘00 and Don Parker on being named to the University of Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
A UIU baseball player from 1967-70, DiCecco earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Embarking on a teaching/coaching career that started at West Central in Maynard, Iowa, DiCecco led his 1973 softball team to a third-place finish in the state tournament. His career took him to Montezuma (Iowa) High School, where he compiled a 306-69 record as girls’ basketball coach. His teams made two state tournament appearances and won eight conference titles.
In his 11 seasons at the helm of the UNI women’s basketball program, Tony DiCecco established a tradition of postseason basketball. He helped the Panthers advance to the WNIT three times. He ended his career with 183 victories, the most in school history at the time. He was inducted into the UIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
Leftridge earned a master’s degree with an emphasis in human resources management at UIU. She earned NCAA All-American honors after finishing seventh in the long jump at the 1995 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. She was the 1995 Indoor Conference Athlete of the Year and has five conference titles to her name. Leftridge was named to the conference All-Centennial team to close out her career honors and was named to the UNI Women’s Athletics 50th Anniversary Team.
Don Parker was the 1966 and 1967 NCAA DII National champion and a three-time NCAA All-American at UNI. He won a pair of NCC Championships and was named the NCC Outstanding Wrestler for the 1966 season. He earned an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship before beginning his coaching career. He was the head coach at Upper Iowa from 1973-1977 before moving on to Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he coached for 32 seasons.
Parker was paralyzed in a hunting accident in 1998 and continued to coach for another 10 seasons. He has been inducted into the D2 Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The 2019 UNI Hall of Fame ceremony will take place Saturday, September 21, at 10 a.m. in the McLeod Center in Waterloo, Iowa. The UNI football team hosts Idaho State later that day at 4 p.m. in the UNI-Dome. The Hall of Fame class will also be presented at halftime of the football game.
Additional information about the UNI 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame and our three honored Peacocks, can be found at bit.ly/2YN9mm7.