CORALVILLE -- Hayden Fry spent his 84th birthday at his Mesquite, Nev., home, but he was beamed into a Coralville Marriott ballroom Thursday morning via Skype.
Fry was part of the press conference that announced plans for this year's FRY Fest. This year will mark the fifth FRY Fest, and it will be extended for the entire weekend. The event, dubbed "a celebration of all that is Hawkeye," will kick off on Friday, Aug., 30, at the Marriott with a trade show, autograph-signings, a concert, and more. Iowa's season-opening football kickoff is Aug. 31. On Sunday, Sept. 1, the gran Gable will debut. That's a gran fondo (long distance) bicycle race/ride of 25, 50 or 100 miles. Registration will begin in April.
By the way, Herky on Parade is returning in 2014. In 2004, sculptures of Herky the Hawk with a plethora of different designs and color schemes were displayed throughout Iowa City and Coralville (and the Eastern Iowa Airport). A sneak preview of the 2014 Herkys will be at this year's FRY Fest.
Fry retired as Iowa's football coach after the 1998 season. He had prostate cancer at the time. Recently, he has battled bladder cancer.
"I've had nine operations," he said. "The doctor told me I was too ornery to die."
Here's video from Fry's appearance Thursday: