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By JAMES ALLAN
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Jim Magrane is a former University of Iowa pitcher and assistant coach. Now you can add special assistant to his Hawkeye resume.
“When I heard Iowa was invited to the World University Games in Taipei, I put a message out on Facebook saying ‘I know Taiwan will take care of the Hawkeyes,'” said Magrane. “I got a lot of responses asking if I was coming. At that time I said I wasn’t.
“When it was official and I knew I was making the trip, I reached out and got some excitement.”
Magrane has been a strong resource for UI head coach Rick Heller, helping with the day-to-day logistics of practicing and competing in a foreign country. Magrane has familiarity, as he pitched in professional baseball in the country in 2010 and 2012 and in Korea in 2011, and he was Heller’s first volunteer assistant coach at Iowa, serving in the capacity in 2014.
“It’s a good fit, knowing the coaching staff and being a Hawkeye to represent the University of Iowa and USA,” said Magrane. “It’s only day two, but it is awesome.”
Magrane enjoyed his two-year stint in Taiwan and he’s excited to share that experience with the Iowa student-athletes.
“It’s a completely different culture,” said Magrane. “You can find yourself in Western culture if you want to or you can embrace the fun of the city. (The World University Games is) going to be good baseball, but in our off time, I want the guys to embrace this experience.
“We’re not going to learn or see everything, but there are bits here and there. Even driving on a bus ride, how many things will we see that the guys are going to remember? Whether it’s a family of four on a scooter, the landscape, or the way the traffic works.”
USA Team will hold its final practice before beginning game competition Saturday morning. The World University Games’ Opening Ceremony will take place Saturday night.