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Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday he's been in touch with the families of two former players who are overcoming life-threatening situations.
Former safety Brett Greenwood remains hospitalized following an apparent heart attack Sept. 9 at Pleasant Valley High School. Fans have started a Facebook page called "Wear Green For Greenwood" encouraging Iowa fans to wear green for this Saturday's game against Louisiana Monroe to support Greenwood.
Former player Kyle Spading suffered a broken neck and bruising of his spinal cord during a one-vehicle accident July 22 south of Belle Plaine. Supporters have scheduled a benefit four-person, best shot, nine-hole golf tournament Oct. 1 at the Belle Plaine Country Club. Cost is $30 a person ($120 per team) and there are auctions to help him with his rehabilitation.
"It's been a tough year," Ferentz said. "We had a lot of unfortunate things happen. Gary Dolphin, the players you mentioned. All linked together. So we're supporting them all. It's hard. It keeping everything in perspective. No matter how the game came out Saturday, at the end of the day those things are real-life things that are really tough."
Dolphin, the radio voice of the Hawkeyes, is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Iowa has its non-conference football schedules nearly completed through the 2017 season, when the Big Ten goes from eight to nine regular-season games.
Iowa will open the 2015 season at home against Illinois State, then play at Iowa State, at home against Pittsburgh and host North Texas. In 2016, Iowa opens at Kinnick Stadium against North Dakota State, then hosts both Iowa State and Central Michigan. In 2017, Iowa plays at Iowa State and hosts North Texas again.
Iowa still is looking for an opponent in 2016 (likely on the road) and 2017 (a home game).