The Iowa Hawkeyes and all of college football lost a legend yesterday. Hayden Fry took over a struggling Iowa football program in 1979 after 17 consecutive losing seasons. What he did was not only win football games, but give the program its identity.
Fry brought a charisma and confidence Iowans had seldom seen. He allowed them to show that bravado themselves. He created a winning program out of thin air and branded it with his own creation: the tigerhawk.
Everything Fry did for Iowa lives on today. He went on to coach for 20 seasons and left as Iowa’s winningest coach in history. He’s a hall of famer. But he’s bigger than that.
Hayden Fry gave Iowans something to believe in during the dark times of the savings and loan crisis in the ‘80s. While farmers across the state were losing their livelihood, Fry was reminding America that it needed farmers. He was going to the Rose Bowl and becoming the top-ranked team in the country. He brought charisma and bravado and a hell of a lot of fun to a fanbase that desperately needed just that.
Iowa football simply would not be what it is today without John Hayden Fry. By the grace of God he was a Hawkeye.
As we mourn the loss of a legend to whom we all owe our respects, let’s revisit some of the better times we were able to take a look at the man who became beloved by all. Please stop by the first link below, Hayden Fry Passes Away at 90, to share any thoughts or stories you may have.
Rest in peace, coach Fry.