Our Iowa Heritage Index: Hawkeye Football Through The Ages.

As you can see, our growing website Our Iowa Heritage covers a lot of time (pre-1800 to the present) and a lot of people. We’ve written about famous people and the not-so-famous ones as well. Yet, despite a person’s prominence (or lack of it), everybody has a story. And as you read our posts, you’ll hopefully discover that everyone’s story is a good one. So, in order to better find these good stories and details surrounding them, we’ve added this INDEX of HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS to help you along the way. Enjoy your journey.

Our Iowa Heritage: An Introduction. We might suggest you start here! Here’s how & why I got started collecting stamps, coins, and other Iowa memorabilia.

George Boller: A Hawkeye Football Nut. In 1976, Al Grady, long-time sports editor for The Iowa City Press-Citizen, featured an amazing article on my dad – George Boller. The occasion was his 50th Iowa football homecoming, and the article gave readers a wonderful overview of my dad’s only unhealed addiction: Rooting for the Hawkeyes from his earliest days in Wayland until 1976.

How We Became The Hawkeye State. Without a doubt, the nickname, Hawkeye, goes with Iowa like summer sweet corn goes with butter. So, how did the name come about? We’ve got the facts, (well, sort of) . . . and they date back to the late 1830’s in Burlington, Iowa.

Hawkeyes – Badgers – Gophers – What’s In A Name? In the very earliest days before statehood, Iowans took to the name Hawkeye, securing it as their cognomen (nickname). Very few people know that one of the reasons we did so was to protect our fair land and ourselves from being ridiculed like our poor neighbors to the east and south had been. How would you feel if people called you the Illinois Sucker or the Missouri Puke? Read more here.

The Wonderful World of SUI Colors – Black & Golden. In 1887, a handful of SUI students started asking some tough questions like ‘why do we not have any school colors?’ or ‘why do other colleges have a school song and we’re just singing about corn?’ Good questions, don’t you think? Join us for the colorful story about how SUI answered these burning questions.

The Hawkeyes Take The Field. Athletics and the University of Iowa have always gone hand-in-hand. Over the years, the Hawkeyes have played in a variety of different facilities – from a small basement gym to an armory built for military drills to a football stadium with nose-bleed bleachers that seated fans directly above the Iowa River!

SUI Mascots – The Big Three. Over the last 175 years of University of Iowa history – there have been a handful of “official” mascots that have roamed the friendly confines of our campus. Come join us as we offer you a brief overview of what we call, The Big Three: Burch the Bear, Rex the ROTC Dog, and of course, Herky the Hawk.

Iowa Homecoming: Hawkeye-Style. Since 1912, Iowa City has served as the gracious host for an annual gathering of Hawkeye alums, students, faculty and staff – all united to celebrate everything SUI. There’s always a football game, of course, but Iowa Homecoming has so much more. Come down memory lane with us and celebrate over 100+ years of Iowa Homecoming.

Frank “Kinney” Holbrook – Tipton’s Iron Man. In 1895, the son of a runaway slave overcame many obstacles, fighting the good fight for racial equality, as he embarked on one amazing journey, becoming the first African American college football player in the state of Iowa. This Tipton, Iowa native attended SUI for two school years (1895-1897), leading the Hawkeyes to their first-ever conference championship while blazing a trail for others to follow.

Duke Slater – Iowa’s All-American Trailblazer. In 1921, Iowa had an All-American football player from Clinton that single-handedly took the Hawkeyes to a mythical national championship. A man cut from the same fabric as Nile Kinnick, Duke Slater has largely been forgotten over the last century, primarily because of his skin color. But no more. Beginning in 2021, the Hawkeyes began playing on Duke Slater Field in Kinnick Stadium. Come read this amazing man’s story.

Ozzie Simmons + Racial Targeting = Floyd of Rosedale. In 1933, a young black man from Texas showed up in Iowa City, looking to follow in the footsteps of Duke Slater. Before he graduated in 1936, he had become an All-American football player, but more importantly, he blazed a trail for other people of color and is remembered each year with Floyd of Rosedale – going to the winner of the Iowa/Minnesota game.

Nile Kinnick – Iowa’s Heisman Winner. 1939 was a banner year for Iowa City. Under the leadership of Coach Eddie Anderson and the athleticism of one young man from Adel, Iowa, the Iron Men of Iowa shocked the college football world. As a result, that one young man won the Heisman trophy and went on to become a legendary figure in Iowa football – Nile Kinnick.

1939 – Nile Kinnick’s Big Ten. As intercollegiate football rapidly increased during the 1890s, so did the ruthless nature of the game. Tempers flared, fights erupted, and injuries soared, and between 1880 and 1905, college football players suffered more than 325 deaths and 1,149 injuries! To deal with these issues, seven college presidents from around the Midwest met in Chicago to deal with the problem. The result, in 1896, was the birth of the Western Conference, with Iowa coming on board in 1899. By 1939, when Nile Kinnick won the Heisman Trophy, this elite conference had become the nation’s leader in collegiate academics and sports. Come meet The Big Ten of 1939.

Iowa PBS – Kinnick: The Documentary. In 2023, Iowa-PBS aired the beautifully-done documentary on Nile Kinnick. This one-hour overview takes us back to Adel, Iowa – the hometown of Iowa’s only Heisman Trophy winner – and offers insight into the life of one very humble Iowan who is, today, our best known football star.

The 1950’s – Hooray For Evy’s Hawkeyes. In 1952, Iowa football had only had three winning seasons in the previous 16 years – not winning an outright Big Ten Conference championship for three decades. But then a young football coach named Forest Evashevski came to Iowa City, and with his creative offense he called the Winged T, made the Iowa Hawkeyes into a national powerhouse. As the Evy era came to an end, sports historian Dick Lamb put together an entertaining collection of Hawkeye football highlights on a long-playing (LP) record called Hooray For The Hawkeyes. Come relive the big moments in Iowa football as they were broadcast.

The Big Three Radio Voices Of The Iowa Hawkeyes. In the days before multiple television networks, the only way to keep up with the Hawkeyes was to either 1) be at the game in Iowa City or 2) listen to the game on radio. From the late-1940’s well into the 1990’s, there were three major sportscasters who became the Voice of the Hawkeyes. Come hear the stories of Jim Zabel, Bob Brooks, and Ron Gonder – three giant names in Iowa Hawkeye radio.

Our Hawkeye Sing-Along. At Homecoming 1962, The Daily Iowan published an article called “Sing Along with SUI’s Parade of Music”. Here four Hawkeye song classics and their stories were presented. Now, sixty years later, join us as we look once again at those memorable spirit-songs plus add another four to the list. From 1905 to 1985, the Hawkeyes have had some great (and not so great) chart-toppers. Clear your throat and come sing-along.

PBS-Iowa – The History of the Iowa Fight Song. If you’re a Hawkeye fan – you know what happens when you hear a cymbal crash. What’s the word? Fight. Fight. Fight. Back in December of 1950, Iowa’s Music Man – Meredith Willson introduced his new Iowa Fight Song on national radio. All these years later, it still serves as one of our favorite songs in Iowa City! Watch the Iowa-PBS video story here.

The Cy-Hawk Game – Iowa’s Super Bowl. In 1977, after a 43-year drought, The University of Iowa and Iowa State University renewed their football series. The two teams started playing each other in 1894, but stopped in 1934 due to high-levels of tension between the two schools. Those last two games (1933-1934) featured the very first Cy-Hawk Trophy – a Victory Bell that has a long, entertaining history in Iowa City. On Iowa! Go Hawks!

John Holladay – Hawkeye Artist at Heart. In 1975, a graphic arts school teacher from Davenport, Iowa sold a Nebraska Cornhusker sports cartoon at an Omaha art show. That began a successful career in cartooning for the Hawkeye artist, John Holladay, who went on to sell five million sports posters as he worked a day job as staff artist at The Quad Cities Times.

Remembering 1985 – Kinnick Stadium’s “Top-Five” Football Match-Up. In October of 1985, the #1 Hawkeyes lined up against the #2 Michigan Wolverines – a game for the ages. No true Hawkeye fan can ever forget the last 2 seconds of this thriller in Kinnick Stadium.

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