116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — The score was 31-22.
Charlie Kolar’s name boomed across Hilton Coliseum and Iowa State’s All-America tight end strode onto the floor to roars of approval.
Kolar beckoned more noise with outstretched arms and wrists flicking skyward, and the roars grew louder.
It was an all-time moment for Kolar, who helped pump up the sellout crowd late in the first half of the No. 17 Cyclones men’s basketball team’s 73-53 win Thursday over Iowa, and will conclude his own record-breaking collegiate career on Dec. 29 against Clemson in the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
He beamed. They screamed. And Kolar basked in the cacophony that helped commemorate his recent acquisition of the William V. Campbell trophy — aka the “Academic Heisman.”
“I couldn’t believe how loud it was,” said Kolar, who boasts a 3.99 GPA and owns every tight ends record at ISU including receiving yards (2,148) and touchdowns (22). “It was really cool. I definitely don’t do this work for the attention and recognition, but just to feel that love and support from all the fans, (it) just really meant a lot.”
Kolar was named this season’s Campbell Trophy recipient Tuesday in Las Vegas. He also will be honored Monday at the New York Athletic Club.
The two-time Mackey Award finalist didn’t end up with that hardware, though — it went to Colorado State tight end Trey McBride — but that result didn't bother him much.
“No comment,” Kolar said, jokingly.
Kolar did, however, elaborate on what brought his undergraduate GPA a smidgen below 4.0.
It was a biology class, so outside of his major of mechanical engineering. It also was an oversight and he took full responsibility for the minor slip-up.
“It was after spring ball (a couple years ago),” said Kolar, who set single season ISU tight end records in catches (58) and receiving yards (723) for the 7-5 Cyclones. “All assignments were usually due on Sunday all semester, but they moved it to Friday and I didn’t see that. … I got an A-minus and that was about it. I was pretty (ticked). And I told the professor that I would get a 4.0 — this was the only class that stood in the way — and I was right. I deserved it. I didn’t pay enough attention. I’m a (dummy).”
Kolar has maintained a 4.0 in his postgraduate studies and academic excellence has been a lifelong pursuit. It had to be. The Norman, Okla., native is the son of two college professors — and he’s not an only child.
“The important thing is you’ve got to beat your siblings,” said Kolar, the only player in program history to earn first team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors two times. “So if I didn’t get A’s and they were getting A’s, I was losing to them. So you’ve gotta do that.”
That’s why the crowd at Hilton honored him — for his competitiveness and broad-ranging success athletically and in academia.
Kolar tried to steel himself for that moment, but once it arrived, he let loose along with everybody else.
“I went out there and was telling myself I was gonna stay calm and be really mature about it,” Kolar said. “And I got out there and I’m like, ‘Ah, (expletive) it.’ Helped get the place fired up.
“It was a good time. They were awesome.”