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Former UI Coach Hayden Fry Remembered As A 'College Football Icon And An Iowa Legend'

Courtesy of University of Iowa Athletics
Coach Hayden Fry had a record of 143-89-6 in 20 seasons at UI.

The University of Iowa football team had had 17 straight non-winning seasons when Hayden Fry was hired as coach in 1978. Fry, who turned the UI into a perennial winner, died at his home in Dallas Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.  He was 90 years old.

The Texas native had never been to Iowa but said he liked athletic director Bump Elliot and was impressed with fan support for the team. Fry coached the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten conference championships, three Rose Bowl appearances and 10 AP Top 25 finishes over 20 years in Iowa City.

In 1985, Iowa was the No. 1 team in the nation for five weeks. In football circles, Fry’s biggest impact on the sport was the large number of successful coaches he sent into college football, including current Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who called him “a college football icon and an Iowa legend.” The UI says 18 of Fry's former assistants or players became college football head coaches.

A statement from Fry’s family reads, “We are proud to know that our father's life had a positive influence on so many people, the players, the coaches, and the fans who played for, worked with, and supported his long and successful coaching career.”

Fry’s influence on UI football also extends to the team’s look today.  He changed the uniforms to a style similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and introduced the Tigerhawk logo.

Memorial Services are pending and will be announced later. 

Michael Leland is IPR's News Director