The Hiawatha City Commission met on Monday evening, and one of the highlights of the meeting was the reading of the John McLendon Jr. Week Proclamation.
A pioneer on the basketball court, as well as the Civil Rights movement, McLendon was born in Hiawatha in 1915. Widely recognized among NCAA coaching circles as a highly influential Hall of Fame coach, and as the first black professional coach, as well as the first to coach at a mostly white college, he was a trailblazer on and off the court.
McLendon’s teams utilized the fast break offense decades before it would become a part of the mainstream game, and also innovated press defense and the four corners offense. He has been nominated to both the Naismith and College Basketball Halls of Fame, and was the first ever coach to win three national championships.
The City’s proclamation of April 5 through the 9th is the most recent step in a push by a group of local citizens to garner more attention to the life and history of one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time.
In other business:
* The commission voted to table a discussion of the proposed letter of intent for the lease of land for the sports complex at Noble Park, citing that they would like to see how the USD 415 School Board responds to the group’s requests at their meeting next Monday.
* Karen Linn of BT & Company was present via Zoom to discuss the city’s financial audit, which gave the city an unmodified opinion, recognizing no material misinformation or other problems.
* Hiawatha Community Hospital COO Alison Kerl presented an update - advising of the hospital's Amberwell Health affiliation, a COVID-19 vaccine update and information about financials. She also told of Dr. Julie Rosa's decision to close her practice at the end of May and how the hospital is recruiting new physicians.
* The commission also decided to forego making any definitive decisions on the tree removal request at the Hiawatha Lake at this time.
* The commission approved the Consent Agenda, which included a payment to BT & Company for $10,000.