Friday, September 4, 2009


When Hayden chose to coach at Iowa over two other teams he said it was because of the passion of the fans. He mused that "Every time the University of Iowa would make a first down, the crowd would just erupt. And I thought, what in the world would they do if they ever scored a touchdown?"

Well, it's here again. Football season. This year the Hawkeyes kick off their season with an in state rival, the University of Northern Iowa, a tough team that nearly won their division's National Championship last year. They came within 40 seconds of doing so. The Hawkeye faithful are keeping our fingers crossed. The football frenzy kicks off today with he first annual Fry Fest which is honoring former Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry. For those of you who don't follow football and don't know who Hayden Fry is, well you really should. Of course, he was one of the most successful coaches in college football history and is in the College Football Hall of Fame. He is the winningest coach in Iowa history. He turned Iowa, who had suffered through 17 consecutive losing seasons, in to a winning team. Under Fry, Iowa beat Iowa State 15 consecutive times, which makes me happy (sorry all of my Cyclone friends!). In his two decades at Iowa he produced countless players that ended up in the NFL and at least 10 players and assistant coaches that became college head coaches (including Kirk Ferentz, our current head coach at Iowa). But most significantly, when Fry was a new coach at SMU he recruited and played Jerry LeVias, the first African American player in the Southwest Conference. I suppose now a days, that doesn't sound like a big deal, but in 1966 in Texas, believe me, it was. The hate and abuse that LeVias and Fry suffered for that was terrible. Despite all of that Levias was an a star player who won many awards and went on to be the Houston Oilers Rokie of the year in 1969. Without Fry, Levias could never have broken down those barriers. Not too bad for a good ole boy from west Texas. Thank you Coach Fry.

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