Legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry passed away Tuesday. He was 90 years old. He lived a helluva life. Not only did he resurrect Iowa football from the hell it was before he got there, but he created/mentored a huge number of other coaches who would go on to make the sport we love much greater than it would have been without him.
Former Fry assistants or players who have taken over as head coaches at a Division I-A college football programs include:
- Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin, 1990–2005
- Bret Bielema, Wisconsin, 2006-2012; Arkansas, 2013–2017
- Bob Diaco, Connecticut, 2014–2016
- Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, 1999–present
- Jim Leavitt, South Florida, 1996–2009
- Chuck Long, San Diego State, 2006–2008
- Dan McCarney, Iowa State, 1995–2006; North Texas, 2011–2015
- Jay Norvell: Nevada (2017–present)
- Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 2008–2014; Youngstown State 2015–present
- Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, 1999–2016
- Mark Stoops, Kentucky, 2013–present
- Mike Stoops, Arizona, 2004-2011
- Bill Snyder, Kansas State, 1989–2005, 2009–2018
That is truly an amazing list.
Fry is the equivalent to Iowa fans to our Tom Osborne, our Bob Devaney.
Iowa had 17 straight losing seasons before he arrived. He built the program with grit. He painted the visiting locker room pink. He took Iowa to the Rose Bowl in 1981, beginning that year by beating us, Nebraska. I remember that year. Husker fans went insane. Many wanted Osborne fired. Iowa kept on winning in 1981, eventually tying for first place in the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl.
Fry would guide Iowa to two more Rose Bowls in 1985 and 1990. He finished with a record of 232-178-10.
The Iowa Athletic Department issued this statement from Fry’s family:
With our family at his side, Hayden Fry, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer. We are comforted in our faith and knowing that Hayden is no longer suffering and resides now in heaven with our Lord. Hayden passed on Dec. 17, at the age of 90.
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. His legend will live forever with the people he touched and inspired, and the programs he led to greater heights.
Though Hayden was born in Texas and moved there more recently to be closer to our family, his love for the University of Iowa, his players and coaches, the people of Iowa, and the state of Iowa, is well known. Hayden often shared, “I’ll Always Be a Hawkeye”.
Our family would like to pass along our heartfelt thanks to the caregivers who made Hayden’s comfort their priority.
We cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support. Your thoughts and prayers are truly appreciated.
Memorial Services are pending and will be announced at a later date.
We give Iowa fans a lot of crap, but I hope that it’s 99% all in good fun.
Take care of yourselves. Love each other. In the end, it’s all we really have.