Irv Thode was a dominating all-around athlete in high school. His 6-foot-3 high jump was the unofficial national schoolboy best in 1949. He was gold medalist in the long jump in 1948 (21-9) and 1949 (22-3) and the high jump in 1949 at the state meet. He was on the 1948 Class C All-State football team. He received state honors in basketball. He went on to attend the University of Nebraska where he was on the track team from 1951-53.