PHOTO CREDIT: University of Iowa Athletics

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

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University Archives
1989 Iowa Football Squad

With only five senior starters on board, the Hawks suffered from youth and inexperience. Quarterback Matt Rodgers and leading rusher Nick Bell were both sophomores.

September 16

In the opening minutes of the season opener with Oregon, the Ducks slammed Bell so hard that fans in the south end zone could hear the crack of his helmet. When play was over and with the scoreboard reading 44-6 in favor of Oregon, Iowa team spiritual leader Merton Hanks admitted, "They simply confused us out there."

November 25

Iowa's up-and-down year ended at home, where the Minnesota Gophers dished out a 43-7 drumming that left the Hawks dispirited and disappointed in their 5-6 season.

Nonetheless, the Hawkeyes won 77 games during the 1980s and finished in the Big Ten's first division nine times. Iowa was one of only seven schools nationwide to play in eight consecutive bowl games. The others were BYU, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and UCLA.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 6-4-3 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University of Iowa Athletics
1988 Iowa Football Squad

A Jekyll and Hyde season for the Hawkeyes saw the team felled by an unprecedented number of injuries. "People ask me if this season has been frustrating," Fry said late in the year. "I tell them, 'No, it's gone beyond that. I should get an honorary degree as a doctor of medicine.'"

After Iowa lost to the Colorado Buffaloes on September 17, Fry had something else to say. "Our guys are too nice. They've got to learn it's a war out there from the opening kickoff. We're not playing with the emotion and intelligence needed to win in this game," he asserted.

Iowa would end the regular season with the strange record of six wins, three loses, and three ties.

December 31

Iowa's 38-32 loss to the North Carolina State Wolfpack at the Peach Bowl was a fitting end to a frustrating season.

But as the first century of Iowa football came to a close, the Hawkeyes had much to be proud of. A winning 432-409-35 record, plus one cancellation. Loyal fans. Some of the finest facilities in the country. And, in the final year of the Hawkeyes' first century of football, athletic contributions that topped $5 million, putting Iowa above all other Big Ten schools in athletic fund raising.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 10-3-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

November 14

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University of Iowa Athletics
1987 Iowa Football Squad

A wild game in Columbus saw the lead change six times. "It was fourth down and 23 yards to go from outside the Ohio State 28, with just 16 seconds to go and no timeouts left," Grady wrote, "when Hartlieb wound up and pitched a side-armer to Marv Cook. Cook took in on the Buckeye nine yard-line..., spun away from one defender at the moment of the catch, then headed for the goal line, crunching two Buckeye backs who met him at the three and carrying both with him into the end zone...."

The victory was Fry's first in Ohio Stadium and Iowa's first win in Columbus since 1959. Final score: 29-27.

December 30

For the second year in a row, Iowa pulled it out at the Holiday Bowl, returning from a 19-7 deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter to pick up the trophy. This time the Hawkeyes slapped down the Wyoming Cowboys' field goal try to clinch the victory, 20 -19, and Iowa fans went wild. They were happy for the victory, but also nearly crazed from listening to those Wyoming cow bells clanging throughout the game!

PHOTO CREDIT: University of Iowa Athletics

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 9-3-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

January 1

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University of Iowa Athletics
1986 Iowa Football Squad

With a 10-1 record, Iowa was sole owner of the conference championship and at the Rose Bowl again. Though the Hawkeyes scored first, Ronnie Harmon fumbles and the speed of the UCLA Bruins brought about the downfall of Iowa, 45-28.

September 13

With Iowa's 43-7 victory over Iowa State, Fry became the Hawkeyes' all-time winningest football coach.

November 22

After trailing 17-0 at the half, the Hawkeyes made a spectacular comeback to beat Minnesota, 30-27.

December 30

On their first trip to the Holiday Bowl, the Hawkeyes squeaked out a last-second victory on a Houghtlin field goal to beat the San Diego Aztecs, 39-38.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 10-2-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video


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University of Iowa Athletics
1985 Iowa Football Squad

Chuck Long announced he would stay at Iowa for his fifth season.


The Hawkeyes' new indoor practice facility was completed north of Kinnick Stadium.

October 19


The No. 1-ranked Hawkeyes got their sixth straight win of the season over No. 2 Michigan. For the first time, a portable lighting system was set up at Kinnick Stadium.

With 90 seconds to play, the Wolverines held a 10-9 lead. David Hudson and Ronnie Harmon advanced the ball down to the 12 yard line. With two seconds on the clock, the Hawks waved for a timeout.

Everything would depend on Rob Houghtlin. Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly described the scene: "Rob Houghtlin hunched over his kicking tee, hands on his knees, as though losing a bout with indigestion. His moment awaited.... Two seconds loomed on the clock. Rain dripped off his helmet. And here he was, a junior walk-on place-kicker whose sore leg had kept him out of practice for three weeks, standing 29 yards from never having to buy another beer in the state of Iowa.

"Watching him..., the largest crowd to ever see a sporting event in Iowa, took one last glug and forgot to swallow. Outside, tuned in on TV and radio, an entire state sucked in its stomachs...."

Two Michigan timeouts extended the tension. When Houghtlin finally made the kick—"sailing high and far and directly between the uprights"—it was the second time in five years Iowa defeated Michigan without scoring a touchdown. Thank heavens for that reliable Iowa field goal.

November 2

Noise in Ohio Stadium made it impossible for Long to audibilize and Iowa lost the only game of the year, 22-13.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 8-4-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University of Iowa Athletics
1984 Iowa Football Squad

Prior to the season, the NCAA passed a retroactive redshirt rule that would allow quarterback Chuck Long two more seasons to play at Iowa, if he wanted them.

October 13

Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium was shrouded in fog as Long hit 17 of 21 pass attempts for 369 yards and four touchdown passes. Robert Smith caught the first three, tying Erwin Prasse (1939) and Emlen Tunnell (1947) for most touchdown catches in one game.

October 20

For the first time since 1962, the Hawkeyes defeated Michigan in Iowa City. According to Grady, "The big play of the day was a pass interception and return of 75 yards by Devon Mitchell.... For the third straight game, Iowa's defense did not permit a touchdown." Final score: 26-0.

December 26

The Hawkeyes made their fourth consecutive bowl trip a memorable one, defeating the Texas Longhorns in the Freedom Bowl, 55-17. Long threw for six touchdown passes, the most in any collegiate bowl game, and defied a rainstorm for 461 yards passing.

PHOTO CREDIT: University of Iowa Athletics

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 9-3-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University of Iowa Athletics
1983 Iowa Football Squad

Kinnick Stadium was remodeled over the summer. Seating in the north end zone was expanded to allow a total capacity of 67,700. Women fans were particularly happy that the remodeling included the addition of four restrooms.

But many were incensed when Hayden Fry told how he'd received $15 a month for "laundry money" while he was a student-athlete at Baylor. "That wasn't any big deal," he said, "because you could find a little dumplin' to do the wash and then take her out to eat."

The "little dumpling" remark turned out to be a bigger deal than Hayden expected and he later apologized.

October 29

In a record-breaking game against Indiana, wide receiver Dave Moritz caught 11 passes for 192 yards. The flap came when third-string Hawkeye quarterback Cornelius Robertson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass with ten seconds left in the game. The already lopsided score became even more so and some fans on both sides of the fray accused Hayden of "running up the score," which ended up at 49-3. "What am I supposed to do?" Fry asked. "Put them in the game and tell them not to do what they do best?"

November 19

The Hawkeyes romped to their ninth victory of the season, beating Minnesota, 61-10. Only the 1903 team before them had accumulated so many victories during the regular season.

December 27

For the third year running, the Alumni Association hosted the official bowl tour. With over 1,000 travelers in tow, planes landed in Jacksonville, Florida, after the coldest snap the state had seen in a century. Broken water pipes awaited the crowd at Amelia Island Plantation. Was this an omen of things to come?

December 30

Yup. With the wind chill at 13 below, Iowa fans discovered that their seats were high in Gator Bowl Stadium—up where the prevailing winds blow. Aluminum benches conducted the cold that the wind hadn't captured. Travelers soon donned plastic rain ponchos to deflect the rush of frigid air, making the Iowa cheering section look like a choir of stiff-armed golden angels.

It wasn't a great game either. The Florida Gators won, 14-6.


With the last game of the season played, the Hilgenberg era at the University of Iowa ended. Wilton native Jerry Hilgenberg started the tradition in the early 50s, playing center for Evashevski; his younger brother, Wally, came to Iowa almost a decade later to become a star guard and linebacker.

Then, there were Jerry's sons—Jim, Jay, and Joel—who, from 1974 through 1983, played at center for the Hawkeyes.

According to Grady, "Through a span of 33 seasons, 1951 through 1983, Iowa had a Hilgenberg in its starting lineup for 17 of those years, and often in a starring role.... It would be difficult to find a family with such a rich football tradition at any school."

PHOTO CREDIT: © 1982 Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret/State Historical Society of Iowa

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 8-4-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

January 1

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University of Iowa Athletics
1982 Iowa Football Squad

Iowa became the first team in 29 years to be shut out in the Rose Bowl. The Washington Huskies dominated the Hawkeyes form the beginning, but the Iowa fans were loyal to the end, when the scoreboard showed the tally, 28-0.

October 23

When Iowa beat the Gophers before 63,000 fans in Minnesota, Hayden couldn't help but gloat. The coach showed up after the game dressed in bib overalls and a red flannel shirt. He wore a sloppy straw hat and had a piece of straw stuck in his mouth as an appropriate accessory.

"These are my Iowa clod clothes," he grinned. "All you great Minnesota writers, radio people, and TV..., I didn't want you to look like liars, so I've got my clod clothes on."

Apparently the Iowa jokes that aired in Minnesota the week prior to the game had gotten to Hayden. But he and the Hawkeyes had the last laugh.

November 20

At Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Iowa defensive back Ron Hawley ran into an upright of the wooden goalpost while trying to defend against a Spartan pass. The goalpost toppled. Later, officials perched on stepladders holding temporary uprights aloft so play could continue normally. Iowa won the game, 24-18.

December 31

Invited to their second consecutive bowl game, the Hawkeyes met the Tennessee Volunteers in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl. Iowa, led by sophomore quarterback Chuck Long, triumphed, 28-22.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 8-4-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

September 12

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University of Iowa Athletics
1981 Iowa Football Squad

Iowa-10, Nebraska-7. The season opener, one of the greatest upsets in school history, offered fans a glimpse of the glory that would follow.

September 26

After a disappointing loss to Iowa State, the Hawkeyes gave Hayden his 100th career win, beating UCLA 20-7.

October 17

Fry put his faith in the Iowa defense and freshman kicker Tom Nichol, who booted three field goals to beat the Wolverines, 9-7, before a crowd of over 105,000 in Michigan Stadium.

November 7

Following two consecutive losses, one sportswriter exclaimed that "Iowa's dizzy rollercoaster ride of a season hit high gear...when it ripped Purdue every which way but loose in winning 33-7."

After the final gun, Coach Fry appeared before the media, wearing a shiny visor complete with flashing red lights on the brim. "Waaaaaa-Hooooo!" he yelled. "Twenty cotton-pickin' years, and we finally did it. We had a little victory cake, a little sody pop, and I got a victory hat on. Hang in there, Hawks!"

Not only did Iowa snap Purdue's 20 straight series wins, but also assured fans that, for the first time since 1961, the Hawkeyes would have a winning season.

November 21


Good defense and the outstanding running of Iowa tailback Phil Blatcher (he gained 247 yards on 27 carries and ran all afternoon "like he was shot out of a cannon") helped the Hawkeyes defeat the Michigan State Spartans, 36-7.

But the hoopla began even before halftime, when fans heard through their radio earphones that Ohio State had defeated Michigan to give Iowa a chance at the Rose Bowl. "With two minutes left, a few [fans] put a serious list to the south goalpost by grabbing the crossbar," Gus Schrader wrote.

"As the final minute ticked away, first the south goalpost was bent asunder, and then the north one. With 12 seconds left, a horde of loyalists charged out onto the field, engulfing the players. The officials looked nervously at the final seconds on the clock, then wisely tucked their caps under their arms and hustled to their dressing room."

Fry abandoned his three-year policy by letting reporters interview players in a dressing room that Schrader said "looked like a gangster's funeral." The place was full of roses. "Somebody bought 'em by the gross."

"The Texan who brought Iowa from football's outhouse to the penthouse in just three years was holding a rose petal in one hand and had a rose decal stuck to his forehead," Register writer Ron Maly told sports fans in the paper the next day.

There were many moments to remember, but Hawkeye fans had plans to make!

December 30

About 40,000 Iowa fans wore their pride all the way to Pasadena. Officials at the posh Century Plaza Hotel thought they were ready for the Iowa invasion expected to attend the Alumni Association's "All-Iowa Bash," but they were wrong.

Instead of a crowd of 4,000, perhaps as many as 20,000 Iowa fans showed up! The liquor was gone before the festivities were scheduled to begin and escalators had to be turned off because of overcrowding. As Al Grady described the scene, "It was a madhouse!"

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Hayden FryRecord: 4-7-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video


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University Archives
1980 Iowa Football Squad

After winning the season opener at Indiana, the Hawkeyes went to Big Red country, where Nebraska humiliated Iowa, 57-0. It was the worst Iowa defeat in 30 years and Fry admitted, "We just got blown out of the tub. We played extremely poor football. We coached poorly and it was obvious that we prepared poorly."


Fry had told fans prior to the season that his second year at a school had always been his toughest. It was. The Hawkeyes could count only four wins in an 11-game season. Still, all four wins were against Big Ten foes and the Hawkeyes climbed a notch in conference standings to fourth place.