Class of 2012, Marketing Major, Men’s Basketball, Iowa City, IA
For Hawkeye senior Matt Gatens, the choice to attend the University of Iowa was an easy one.
“I grew up a Hawkeye fan and always wanted to be a part of the family,” said the Iowa City native. “The recruiting process started when I was a freshman in high school and I committed to the University of Iowa late during my freshman year. My host was Jarryd Cole, who did a great job of showing me the student and athletic lifestyle at Iowa.”
Since his arrival, Gatens has been a model of consistency in all aspects throughout his four-year Hawkeye career. He has a long list of accolades, but none is more impressive than joining Roy Marble as the only Hawkeyes to amass 1,500+ points, 400+ rebounds, 250+ assists and 125+ steals.
Despite his accomplishments, Gatens pointed to a couple special moments he shared with the fans as his favorites at Iowa.
“My favorite moment as a Hawkeye would have to be the two times the crowd stormed the court,” said Gatens. “The first time was on Jarryd’s (Cole) senior night last year when we beat sixth-ranked Purdue, and this year after sweeping Wisconsin. Celebrating with some of the best fans in America on your home court is what it’s all about. Those are moments and feelings I will never forget.”
The Hawkeye crowd hoisted the All-Big Ten honoree on their shoulders following the upset of the conference rival on Feb. 23. The team captain is thankful for the great Iowa fan support, and was happy to be able to give something back to those that have supported him through the years.
“It was an incredible feeling to have the fans on the court and be put on their shoulders after the win,” said Gatens. “The fans have been incredible throughout my career and I truly appreciate everything they have done for me and my family. That feeling as the crowd storms the court is a rare one that I will never forget. It was great looking around and seeing everyone smiling and happy about Iowa basketball again.” Gatens is going to miss playing in a packed Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “I have been very fortunate to be a part of the University of Iowa and play in front of some of the most loyal fans around,” said Gatens. “I am really going to miss playing in front of the fans. It has been an incredible experience.”
For Gatens, who grew up in a family of Hawkeyes, donning the Black and Gold has fulfilled a life-long dream.
“It truly has been a dream come true to wear the Black and Gold,” said Gatens. “It will be a tough feeling the final time I have to take off that jersey and become a fan again. I grew up idolizing Iowa basketball players and to be able to be one has been an incredibly gratifying experience.”
The Hawkeye standout is grateful for Iowa Athletics supporters who have provided him this opportunity.
“I would like to thank all the donors and fans at the University of Iowa,” said the marketing major. “The things we as student-athletes are able to do on the court and off, would not be possible without the generosity of the donors and fans.”
In recognition of his outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and citizenship at the University of Iowa, Gatens received the 2011-12 Ron and Carol Kirchhoff Men’s Basketball Scholarship.
“It is an honor to be able to receive this endowed scholarship,” said Gatens. “I am very appreciative of the generosity that goes along with endowing a scholarship. Thank you for all your support and I will take great pride with the opportunity this scholarship has given me.”