1. Because Fry went 143-89-6 over twenty seasons at Iowa.
2. Because Fry's four predecessors at Iowa went 53-125-5 over the previous seventeen seasons.
3. Because he told one of the greatest stories you'll ever hear in the video below about beating Minnesota in 1986, without making a sarcastic joke about Napoleon Dynamite sitting behind him (there is one small detail to fix:
the final was 30-27, not 12-10; the 12-10 game was Michigan, of course there is nothing about the setup of this story that makes sense. Iowa beat Minnesota 30-27 in 1986, but it wasn't for the Rose Bowl, and Iowa crushed Minnesota in 1985 at home. I suppose it could be 1981, but Iowa lost that game 12-10 at home. It's a great story regardless.)
4. Because of the pink locker room.
5. Because Hayden Fry was an honest-to-God trailblazer in racial equality in college football. In the late 60's, while the head coach at Southern Methodist, Fry became the first coach in the Southwestern Conference to give a scholarship to an African American player, wide receiver Jerry LeVias. Fry's move prompted death threats and fits of rage from fans, despite the fact that LeVias was an academic all-American and all-SWC player three times. LeVias is a 2004 College Football Hall of Fame inductee for his part.
6. Because, before Fry arrived at Iowa, there was no Tiger Hawk, no black and gold, no "Swarm", none of the Iowa football that we know today. Fry was determined to completely overhaul the culture surrounding the program -- "Nobody dressed like Iowa fans" he said -- and borrowed almost everything from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also hired a designer to create the Tiger Hawk that is now the logo of every Iowa program. He built the program from nothing.
7. Because, if you don't vote for him, Tom Osborne will probably win. Tom Osborne, who won two national championships by allowing quite literally anyone who could not be admitted anywhere else to play football and a half of a third on nothing more than sentimental bullshit. Tom Osborne, who has been an interim athletic director for about a decade now. Tom Osborne, who is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the world today (maybe not, but come on, Lawrence Phillips? Christian Peter? You actually let them play?)
8. Because if they don't win, it probably goes to Bo Schembechler.
9. Because Hayden did this to Bo Schembechler:
10. Because, before he did that, he sent a guard out to long snap during pregame punting warmups just to mess with Schembechler, then turned his back while the guard wildly snapped the ball over the punter's head, off the turf, and into the second row. Schembechler, watching the display, asked Fry, "You're not going to let that guy long snap today, are you?" Fry responded, "Coach Schembechler, I don't plan on punting."
11. Because mustaches.
12. Because white pants.
13. Because aviator sunglasses are still really fucking cool, especially when paired with a mustache and white pants.
14. Because he lit the Big Ten on fire by throwing the ball all over the place. Conventional wisdom was that the conditions in the Big Ten in late October and November made it impossible for a passing offense to perform. Fry proved otherwise, paving the way for Big Ten spread innovators like Joe Tiller.
15. Because you might not know it, but Hayden Fry is your football coach. His coaching tree includes guys like Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops, Barry Alvarez, Kirk Ferentz, Dan McCarney, Mike Stoops, Mark Stoops, Jim Leavitt, and Bret Bielema, to say nothing for the second- and third-order coaches in his extended family. He had the confidence to promote players to coaches, coaches to coordinators, and when the coordinators got too good, he sent them elsewhere to make their name.
16. Because Chuck Long beat Michigan State with a naked bootleg.
17. Because he was approached by the creators of the sitcom Coach about having the show modeled on him and passed. He later admitted he didn't understand how important the show could have been as a recruiting tool. Even though he declined the show, the exterior shots of the "Minnesota State" campus are actual pictures of the University of Iowa. For example, the exterior shot of Hayden Fox's office is actually UI Student Health.
19. Because the stand-up tight end still makes no sense.
20. Because, after a shellacking of Northwestern he told Gary Barnett, "I hope we didn't hurt your boys too bad." In classic jNWU fashion, Barnett was so offended that he tried to create an entire "rivalry" out of it.
21. Because, even when he had finished 20 years at the helm and finally decided to retire, he simply thanked the Hawkeye family for letting him join.
And one more...
22. Because Go Iowa Awesome, that's why.
Get over to SB Nation and vote for Hayden Fry as a member of the inaugural class of the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame. Voting is open through the end of the weekend, so vote early and vote often.