1900 Iowa Football Squad
The Board of Regents appointed Knipe Iowa's first athletic director at a salary of $1,500 appropriating the same amount for the improvement of Athletic Park.
Iowa Athletic Park was dedicated.
Iowa took the field against Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg's famed Chicago Maroons in Chicago, skunking the formidable opponent 17-0, thanks to Coach Knipe's Pennsylvania system of guards or tackles back.
In the stands with 6,000 other fans that day sat the entire Michigan team that Iowa was to confront a week later. But Coach Knipe had a plan. After the Chicago game, he and his Hawkeyes retreated to a resort outside Detroit to prepare for Michigan, learning a repertoire of 75 new plays for the game on November 10. Coaching strategy had become an essential element for victory, especially given the "pony-sized" Iowa team. In 1900, Iowa's starting eleven stood less than 5' 10" and weighed an average of 177 pounds.
A BUNCH OF WING-FOOTED ELEPHANTS
The Hawkeyes made history on Bennett Field in Ann Arbor, marching to a 28-5 victory over Michigan. Dubbed "the meteoric team from the prairies," this was just one victory in a year with no defeats. But it was an important one.
A writer for the Detroit Free Press had to mix his metaphors to pay adequate tribute to the Iowa team: "Michigan met them in friendly controversy Saturday. The visitors were a most gentlemanly set of young giants, though anything but gentle when in action. They showed magnificent education and training from the tips of their long scalp locks to the soles of their perniciously active feet. Their brains worked like greased lightning set to clock-work. They were shrewder than a strategy board and could mobilize in less time than is employed in an owl's wink. When they charged it was like a bunch of wing-footed elephants, and when they tackled one of the enemy it was like the embrace of a grizzly. They could kick harder than a gray mule with years of experience, and with the accuracy of a globe-sight rifle. Michigan recognizes that Iowa is setting the pace in the West. So, it's hats off to Iowa.
W.C. Billy Edson remembered the riotous celebration that shook Iowa City when the team returned home, as recorded in Bright's book on the history of Hawkeye football: "The things that happened...that night are written in the books. When our train reached Iowa City..., every person in town was there. A farmer was just driving in with a load of shelled corn. The boys confiscated it and filled their pockets and hats with it. We were thrown up on a Tally Ho that was pulled by students with a rope a block long. There was a bonfire on the field. The boys pulled President MacLean and faculty out of their buggies and carried them in a dance around the fire. The president's hair was singed.
"The fire's heat was so intense that plate glass windows cracked and for a time, it looked as if the flames were threatening an entire block of the business district."
Fortunately, the town was saved, but fan spirit could not be quieted. Few wanted Iowa's glorious romp with victory to end and rumors soon suggested the possibility of a post-season contest. Coach Knipe quickly squelched the talk, saying that "post-season games put athletics on a professional basis."
Nonetheless, it was only a last-minute snafu at the University of California that ultimately stopped the Hawkeyes from boarding a train to California for two contests in that state in December. President MacLean was enthusiastic about the possibility of these games, which he considered "would not be post-season games, but holiday games." He felt that the trip "would be a fine opportunity for the university to advertise itself on the Pacific Coast." So Iowa had to settle for a 7-0-1 record at the end of 1900, posting its second consecutive season without a defeat.