Bussan, Taxted to join the WCHS Hall of Fame Thursday night

Induction ceremony, speeches to be held during Boom Night

Tony Bussan’s cross country and boys’ track programs won a combined 26 North Central Conference titles. The Lynx were the league runner-up on 14 other occasions. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — It will be the greatest challenge of Tony Bussan’s professional life and he knows it. Don’t think he hasn’t agonized over it either.

The thousands of practices and workouts he supervised, the countless meets he stalked like a man on a mission, those were easy compared to this task.

The man everyone knows as Bus has been asked to keep a speech to 10 minutes. If you know him, if you’ve ever talked to him on occasion, then you understand the impossibility of the situation.

“I’ve done more than 10 minutes on how to tie your shoes the right way before a race,” Bussan joked. “I am notorious for talking way too much, so I have been working real hard.”

The speech Bussan is referring to will come Thursday night during Webster City’s Boom Night inside the Prem Sahai Auditorium when he and Jamie Taxted are formerly inducted into the Webster City High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

And both are incredibly deserving.

Bussan spent more than three decades in a classroom and as the man in charge of the WCHS cross country and boys’ track programs. Taxted is one of just two Lynx wrestlers to ever win multiple state championships.

In other words, these were both no-brainer choices. And they’re equally excited to take their rightful spots.

“It’s an incredibly humbling thing because of the quality of human beings who have been recognized,” Bussan said. “It’s a big honor, not only for me, but for my family and everybody that ever was willing to run in a program that I coached or participate in my classroom.”

“It’s 100 percent an honor because there have been a lot of great athletes to go through Webster City … and to be a part of that is definitely cool,” Taxted, a 1997 WCHS graduate who now lives in Urbandale, said. “I still pay attention to what’s going on at Webster City and over the last 20 years Webster City has been doing great.”

Bussan became emotional when WCHS Athletic Director Bob Howard gave him the good news that he admits he hoped to one day hear. And, again, if you know Bussan, then that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“I was pretty emotional and I think Coach Howard took some delight in that,” Bussan said while chuckling. “More than once before a practice, I stood and looked at those (Hall of Fame) plaques or walked past the pictures and wondered about it. Had I hoped it would happen? I’d be lying if I said no. I hoped that someday that would be possible and from the athletes to my assistants to the people in the community, I view it as all of theirs as much as mine.”

Bussan, who retired from teaching following the 2015-16 school year, has long been regarded as one of the state’s premier minds in prep cross country and track.

He was the head cross country coach at WCHS for 28 seasons and spent 32 years in total with the program. His teams won 22 North Central Conference championships and 97 invitational titles, and on 20 occasions they reached the state meet. The 1992 girls’ and 1998 boys’ squads were state runners-up, the latter of which earned him the state Coach of the Year award from the Iowa Association of Track Coaches.

Bussan was part of the boys’ track program for 32 years as well, 24 of them as the head coach. The Lynx claimed four league crowns under his direction and in 2012 they were second in Class 3A at the state meet. Bussan coached nine event state champions, eight of them in individual events.

“It’s just been an incredible experience to coach and teach in this community,” Bussan said.

More than 20 years after he graduated from WCHS, Taxted remains one of the most talented wrestlers to ever pour sweat onto the practice mats. Only Bart Chelesvig owns more state titles (three), and only two other Lynx grapplers — Erik Stroner (1991) and Gavin Dinsdale (2016) — made it to the top of the podium once.

Taxted, who sits 15th on the program’s all-time wins leaderboard with 105, won his first 2A state title as a junior in 1996 at 103 pounds. Ranked No. 2 all season, he upset top-ranked Justin Stanley of Wilton, 1-0, in the finals. Stanley went on to win a pair of state titles himself in 1997 and 1998.

Taxted led WCHS to a third-place finish in the team standings at state, the program’s highest-ever result.

“My junior year I was rated second the whole year, so there really wasn’t a ton of pressure on me to win it,” Taxted said. “We had a great team that year, so it was just a fun time.”

Taxted, a three-time state qualifier in a Lynx singlet, may have felt the pressure as a senior, but he dominated in the 112-pound final and knocked off Nick Marolf of Columbus Junction, 12-4.

This will be the first of two Hall of Fame inductions for Taxted within the next few weeks. On Oct. 6, he’ll be inducted into the Buena Vista University fraternity.

Following his graduation from WCHS, Taxted became a two-time Division III All-American at BVU, highlighted by an individual national championship at 125 pounds in 2002. He placed third in the country in 2001.