PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 5-6-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

September 15

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University Archives
1979 Iowa Football Squad

Iowa lost its second game of the season, falling to the Oklahoma Sooners, 21-6. when fans congratulated the team on their great play, Fry responded. "I just told the team that if I see one single man with a smile on his face I'll bust him in the mouth.... These kids have been babied and pampered so much when they lose that it makes me sick," the coach said.

September 29

Fry got his first victory at Iowa, thanks to running back Dennis Mosley, who gained 229 yards on 39 carries for three touchdowns. The 30-14 win came against the intrastate rival Cyclones.


At the end of the season, Iowa stood fifth in the conference based on a 4-4 Big Ten record, and three Hawkeyes were selected to the all-Big Ten first team: center Jay Hilgenberg; llinebacker Leven Weiss; and Mosley, who became the first Hawk in history to run for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Bob CommingsRecord: 2-9-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University Archives
So long Bobby, Hello Hayden!

Bob Commings' last year as head coach at Iowa was to be his worst. Asked prior to the first game if he was confident about the season, he said, "No. Iowa has a way of getting to your confidence. I'm not confident about anything."

Iowa State skunked the Hawkeyes for the first of two shutouts for the season and before long Des Moines Register writer Bob Dyer noted that the "boobirds" were back in Kinnick Stadium.

November 27

Bob Commings was fired, becoming the fourth coach in a row to leave Iowa because he couldn't get the team to win enough games. As Des Moines Register writer Bert McGrane once put it,

Luckless coach who
Failed to win
Lost his head just
South of chin.
When howling alumni
Confer with the President
Coach who's a loser is
Soon a non-resident.

December 9

John Hayden Fry entered the Iowa spotlight as the Hawkeyes' new head coach. The square-jawed Texan, who had a habit of taking losing teams and making them winners, told the press that "I have no time schedule on getting Iowa a winning football team. But I will tell you we will be competitive, tough, and colorful."

The 1979 press guide offered this prediction: "Hayden will spread his attack from one side of the campus to the other, using more sets than you see in a novice bridge game. The Hawkeyes will only pass when they have the ball. Defensively Fry uses blitzes, stunts, and slants. He likes reckless football."

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Bob CommingsRecord: 5-6-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

September 17

For the first time in 43 years, the big event was Iowa's battle with Iowa State. Tama native Jon Lazar, recruited by both Iowa and ISU, was the hero of the game, scoring what proved to be the winning touchdown for Iowa. When the gun sounded on the Hawkeye's 12-10 victory, Iowa fans went berserk, tearing down the goal posts with a fury that showed the old in-state rivalry was still alive and well.

It was the highlight of the year. At the end of the season, Iowa had another losing record (4-7) and had tallied more successive non-winning seasons (16) than any other NCAA division 1-A school.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Bob CommingsRecord: 5-6-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

Big Ten athletic directors agreed that the minimum "popular price of football tickets" should be $8.


Coach: Bob CommingsRecord: 3-8-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

At the end of his second season Iowa, Commings and his Hawkeyes had earned two identical records: three wins and eight losses.


Coach: Bob CommingsRecord: 3-8-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video


With the death of William "Bud" Suter, "Father Bob," the Reverend Robert E. Holtzhammer, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City, became the public address announcer for the Hawkeyes.

September 21

"...You have a chance to show people all over America what desire and determination can prove," Bob Commings told his team before their contest with UCLA. "It may be that you are the chosen children."

When Iowa beat the 12th-ranked Bruins, fan spirit could not be denied and the goal posts fell, along with the longest losing streak in Iowa's history. By Monday, "Chosen Children" badges were the thing to wear.

October 12

The Hawks won their first Homecoming game in five years, beating Northwestern 35-10.


Coach: Frank LaunterburRecord: 0-11-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

October 20

In the middle of a season with no wins, Iowa fans enjoyed a new diversion at Homecoming. The Alumni Association reported that more than 80 former band members returned for the inaugural performance of the Alumni Band, although one of them confessed, "My cornet is 40 years old—and sounds it!"

November 24

"About 35,000 Iowa fans huddled into Kinnick Stadium to see the 0-10 Hawks close out the season with a 15-6 loss to Michigan State. But we Hawkeye fans didn't just show up, we made our presence known, especially in the south end zone," wrote Mike Kielkopf in his book, How 'Bout them Hawkeye Fans!

"Michigan State was driving inside the Iowa 10-yard line, so we Iowa fans started cheering as the Spartans came up to the line of scrimmage. The MSU quarterback barked a few signals, then backed out from under center and asked the ref for quiet!

"How 'bout them Hawkeye fans!"


Coach: Frank LaunterburRecord: 3-7-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

The Big Ten voted to go along with the NCAA decision to allow freshmen to participate in intercollegiate competition.

Meanwhile, in Iowa City the football stadium enjoyed a milestone year. Due in large part to the efforts of longtime Cedar Rapids Gazette sportswriter Gus Schrader, it was renamed Kinnick Stadium in honor of Iowa's only Heisman Trophy winner. And, thanks to Muscatine industrialist Roy J. Carver, the stadium got its first artificial turf.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Frank LaunterburRecord: 1-10-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

September 1

Iowa alumnus Wayne Duke became the fourth commissioner in Big Ten history.


W.D. "Shorty" Paul, the man who invented buffered aspirin and Rolaids, retired as team physician after the 1971 season. Dr. Paul had done the job on a volunteer basis for 31 years.

Read more on the remarkable life of "Shorty" Paul.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Ray NagelRecord: 3-6-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video


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University Archives
1970 Iowa Football Squad

The up-and-down Hawkeyes ended the season fifth in the Big Ten, but the real football news was the feud between Nagel and Evashevski.

From the beginning of December until nearly the end of May, the state's newspapers would be full of the conflicts between the two men. An assistant coach was fired, some players walked off the team, an alumnus acted improperly in recruiting an athlete, an investigation of athletic department expense accounts revealed improprieties, and allegations as to who was at fault multiplied. In the midst of public sniping between the coach and the athletic director, almost everyone took sides.

In the end, the athletic board announced that both Evy and Nagel would complete their work for the university on June 30, but then the board reversed itself, rehiring Nagel on May 22.

"Ray Nagel being fired on Tuesday, then rehired on Friday, may rank as the most startling reversal since the discovery of the boomerang," wrote columnist Maury White in the Des Moines Register.

"It was shocking, it was messy, but it was also heartening as a stubborn, gutty guy—who has never approached the folk hero status that Forest Evashevski once enjoyed in this state—suddenly came up with hordes of vocal friends.

"I think the board in control of athletics is to be commended for having the courage to reverse the first decision. It's never easy to publicly eat crow in such a turnabout...."


As part of the Big Ten's 75th anniversary celebration, the Skywriters named their all-time conference football team. They identified four Hawkeyes—tackles Duke Slater and Alex Karras, guard Calvin Jones, and halfback Nile Kinnick—to take their place on the 22-man squad.

December 1

In a surprise announcement at the annual team banquet, Ray Nagel told a crowd of 500, "I think the sands of time have run out on my coaching career at Iowa. I will no longer be a part of that program. I will not ask for an extension of my contract."

Next into Iowa's coaching lineup would come Francis X. Lauterbur.