(June 4, 1908 - August 8, 1987)
Physical education instructor, assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach, head athletic trainer, head baseball coach (1937-1974), professor emeritus, Iowa State.
LeRoy Clinton Timm was born on June 4, 1908 at Arlington, Minnesota, the seventh child of William Fred August Timm and Susanna H. Fossum Timm. He grew up in Arlington and attended public schools there. He got his nickname “Cap” at an early age when he and his sisters staged dramas in the family hayloft, and he played “Captain Kiddo.” Years later a columnist with the Des Moines Register wrote “...don't even ask his real name, Leroy C., or he'll call you worse things than he ever laid on the blindest umpire...”. He attended Arlington High School and graduated in 1927. He played football, basketball, baseball, and track, and lettered in all four sports. He was elected captain a total of sixteen times for these sports and was also elected class president.
After graduation, Cap enrolled at the University of Minnesota, majored in physical education, played football and baseball, and lettered twice in both. He was a member and president of Phi Epsilon Kappa (physical education), member and officer of Alpha Sigma Pi (senior education), assistant freshman football coach, and assistant varsity baseball coach. He wanted to be a physician and started medical studies but changed his major because of Depression era costs. He graduated in 1931 with a BS in physical education. He played semi-pro and was offered a contract in professional baseball which he turned down because of the poor pay. He then enrolled at New York University and received an MA there in 1933. He returned to the University of Minnesota and served as assistant baseball coach for one year.
In 1934, Cap Timm came to Iowa State and began a memorable 44 year career in teaching and coaching. He started as a physical education instructor and as an assistant football coach in which he continued until 1955. He also served as an assistant basketball coach from 1938 until 1950 and as head athletic trainer for a number of years. His service at Iowa State College (now University) was interrupted by World War II. He served in the United States Naval Reserve from March 15, 1943 until January 28, 1946 and was stationed at Chapel Hill, NC, Beaufort, SC, and San Diego, CA.
Timm's leadership as head baseball coach at Iowa State from 1937 to 1974 was where he established his reputation with students and other Iowa State fans. His talents enabled him to lead Iowa State to three Big Eight Conference championships in 1957, 1970, and 1971. Also, in 1957 the team finished third in the NCAA College World Series, and in 1970 it finished fifth. Four of his players eventually played in the major leagues and six achieved all-American status.
Beyond Iowa State, Timm coached the U.S. team in the Pan American Games in 1967 winning a gold medal. He helped to reorganize the College World Series into a major national sporting event. He was a member of the NCAA Rules and Tournament Committee for eleven years including chairperson from 1963 to 1969 in which he was mainly responsible for changing the rules to bring about round robin play. He was also president of the American Association of College Baseball Coaches from 1963 to 1969, was a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and was involved in the College World Series Games Committee for 17 years. During World War II, he coached the Pre-Flight team for one year.
Cap Timm won many honors over the years. In 1957, he was named Big Eight Coach of the Year and also NCAA Baseball Coach of the Year. He was named Big Eight Coach of the Year again in 1970 and 1971. In 1970, he was awarded the Vernon “Lefty” Gomez Award for outstanding service and devotion to baseball. In 1973 he was inducted into the American Association of Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame at the College World Series games in Omaha. He was also voted into the Iowa Baseball Hall of Fame by the Iowa High School Coaches Association and was a District V Coach of the Year. In 1997, he was posthumously inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame.
In 1974, Timm retired as head baseball coach because of an age requirement. Ames mayor William Pelz proclaimed a “Cap Timm Day,” and there was a testimonial dinner where he received gifts from the athletic department, his team, and friends and other guests. The athletic department also designated Cyclone Baseball Field to be renamed “Cap Timm Field.” When asked how he felt about this honor, Cap replied, “It's an honor, I'm proud of the fact that someone thought about me.” He remained with the baseball program as a junior varsity coach until 1978. The following year, he was promoted to Professor Emeritus.
Cap married Glendora Gwendlyn “Tippy” Riley in Ames on June 10, 1939. They had two children, Tommy and Susanne.
Leroy Clinton “Cap” Timm died on August 8, 1987 at Riverside Manor in Ames at the age of 79. He is buried in Iowa State University Cemetery beside his wife “Tippy” who died in 1982. A tribute in the Ames Daily Tribune stated that “Those touched by Timm remember him as an intellect, a wit, a storyteller, an analyzer, a singer and musician, a competitor, a charmer, a teacher, a role model, a war veteran, an organizer, a thinker, a leader and an expert groundskeeper.” Also, a Memorial Resolution from the Faculty Senate stated in part, “Two of the outstanding characteristics of Cap's coaching were his affection for his players and his concern with their total development...He believed that his role as a teacher involved the development of moral character, productive citizens, and self-discipline as well as academic skills.”
The main source of information on the life and career of Cap Timm was found in the LeRoy “Cap” Timm Papers RS 24/3/11, Box 1, Folder 1, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives. Many newspaper clippings are included covering many aspects of his career from 1941 until his death in 1987. Some of his personal records are included such as his placement form with the University of Minnesota in 1931 and an Iowa State coaching staff information form. There is a 5-page footnoted research paper by Rob Baldus dated 1992 summarizing Cap's life and career. There is also a copy of the Faculty Senate Memorial Resolution and Cap's papers on subjects such as leadership, morale, and “Thoughts to Live By.” Information on his induction in the Hall of Fame can be found in Iowa State University Baseball Records, 1892-2011, RS 24/4, Box, Folder 5, also in Special Collections.
Many photos of Cap and the Cyclones baseball team can be found in issues of
The Bomb of Iowa State over the years of his career.
Other information was found online. There are many websites about Cap and especially about Cap Timm Field. Family information from Public Member Family Trees, the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 Federal Censuses, and marriage and military records were found at ancestryinstitution.com.
Interment information was found at FindaGrave.com.