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IOWA CITY - Coralville immortalized former University of Iowa football coach Hayden Fry with the renaming of a prominent avenue and creating an annual trade show in his honor.
On Sept. 2 at FRY Fest along the Hayden Fry Way, Coralville will unveil a bronze statue of the iconic coach. It's yet another way for the community to celebrate one of college football's most beloved coaches.
'It's something that's been in the discussion since the FRY Fest concept was originated, then you had the Hayden Fry Way,” UI Athletics Director Gary Barta said Friday morning, 'It was just a natural discussion about one day having a statue.”
The life-size image is based on Fry's mid-1980s look and dimensions. Kalona company Max-Cast, which sculpted the Irving Weber statue in downtown Iowa City, is commissioned for Fry's depiction. The statue includes a hat and pullover jacket with the Tiger-Hawk logo, glasses, sansabelt slacks and old Pony shoes but it does not include a mustache.
Fry met with Max-Cast representatives during last year's FRY Fest and provided input on the design. Fry offered up one request, UI licensing director Dale Arens recalled. Fry deadpanned that the statue needs to rest on a pedestal so dogs can't do their business on his pant legs. Then, as usual, Fry started laughing.
It's unknown whether Fry, 87, will attend this year's event. Fry returns to about one football game annually but has battled health issues since retiring in 1998 and relocating to Mesquite, Nev.
Fry coached the Hawkeyes for 20 years, leading the team to three Rose Bowls, three Big Ten championships, a No. 1 ranking in 1985 and 14 bowl games. Fry owns the Iowa coaching wins mark with 143 (16 wins ahead of current coach Kirk Ferentz) and his record is 232-178-10. Fry's 96 conference victories rank fourth in Big Ten history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the cost is around $35,000 to $40,000 with funding coming from Coralville's hotel/motel taxes, not property taxes. While the statue will be introduced at FRY Fest at the Iowa River Landing, its final location is undetermined.
'Somewhere on Hayden Fry Way,” Schamberger said. 'I've suggested we put it out in front of our building since we have a lot of visitors coming and they can take photos.”
UI athletics boasts two other sculptures on its grounds. A statue of Nile Kinnick, the school's only Heisman Trophy winner who was killed during World War II, stands outside the south plaza at Kinnick Stadium. A full-sized replica of wrestling coach Dan Gable, who guided the program to 15 national titles, appears outside a west entryway at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Barta said he has no problem with the statue not residing on Iowa's campus.
'With the Hayden Fry Way, it just makes sense when you come into town for it to represent the entry into the campus, not just the campus, but the whole community,” Barta said.
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