Hayden Fry timeline: Legendary coach from Texas endeared himself in Iowa hearts

Iowa coach Hayden Fry is hoisted by his players above the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, after beating Washington in 1995.
Iowa coach Hayden Fry is hoisted by his players above the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, after beating Washington in 1995. (The Gazette)

A timeline of former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry’s life and career.

1929 — John Hayden Fry born in Eastland, Texas, on Feb. 28

1940s — Played football for Odessa High School (Texas)

1947 to 1950 — Played football at Baylor University

1952 to 1955 — Served in U.S. Marine Crops. Reached rank of captain

1955 — Became teacher and football coach in Odessa, Texas

1959 — Hired as assistnat coach at Baylor

1960 — Hired as assistant coach at Arkansas

1962 — Hired as head coach at Southern Methodist University. Went 49-66-1 in 11 seasons.

1966 — Jerry LeVias became the first black player to take the field in the Southwest Conference for SMU under Fry.

1973 — Hired at North Texas State (now known as the University of North Texas). Went 40-23-3 over six seasons.

1978 — Hayden Fry is introduced as the Iowa football coach on Dec. 9, serving under Chalmers “Bump” Elliott. His initial staff includes Barry Alvarez, Bill Brashier, Tom Cecchini, Howard Cissell, Clovis Hale, Dan McCarney, Carl Jackson and Bill Snyder. At the time, Iowa had 17 straight non-winning seasons.

1978 — Hired marketing group to create Tigerhawk.

1978 — Got permission from Pittsburgh Steelers to copy their uniform.


1979 — Iowa wins five games, including a three-game winning streak and a 58-6 laugher over Northwestern.

1980 — The Hawkeyes take a step backwards, finishing with 4-7 and suffering a 57-0 loss to Nebraska and a 58-13 pounding from Purdue.

1981 — Fry’s third season produced a Big Ten co-championship and Rose Bowl berth, Iowa’s first winning season in 19 years. Fry grabs wins over Nebraska (10-7) and UCLA (20-7) along the way. He also earns Big Ten, regional and national Coach of the Year honors.

1982 — Fourth straight first division Big Ten finish and a 28-22 Peach Bowl win over Tennessee.

1983 — Offense breaks 35 school records on way to 9-3 mark and third straight bowl trip (Gator).

1984 — Played in a postseason bowl game for the fourth straight year, defeating Texas 55-17 in the inaugural Freedom Bowl. Shut out Michigan for the first time since 1929 and won first game in 28 years at Purdue.

1985 — Won a school-record 10 games en route to the Big Ten championship and played in the Rose Bowl (vs. UCLA) for the second time in five seasons. Spent five weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation. QB Chuck Long (winner of the Maxwell Trophy and Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award) and Larry Station were consensus all-Americans.

1986 — Champion of the ninth annual Holiday Bowl with a 39-38 triumph over San Diego State. A 9-3 overall mark helped Hayden Fry’s Hawkeyes win at least eight games for the sixth consecutive season.

1987 — Ten victories tied the school record and included Holiday Bowl triumph over Wyoming (20-19). Six-game winning streak to end the year earned Iowa its fifth consecutive Top 20 finish.

1988 — Iowa played North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl, the school’s eighth straight postseason appearance. A 6-4-3 season set an Iowa record for ties. TE Marv Cook was a consensus all-American.

1989 — A natural grass playing surface (PAT) was installed in Kinnick Stadium.

1989 — Bill Snyder is hired as the head coach at Kansas State and, one year later, Barry Alvarez is hired as the head coach at Wisconsin. They are the first two of 13 Fry assistants who earned head coaching jobs (Bret Bielema, Bob Diaco, Kirk Ferentz, Jim Leavitt, Chuck Long, Dan McCarney, Jay Norvell, Bo Pelini, Bob Stoops, Mark Stoops, Mike Stoops).

1990 — The capacity of Kinnick Stadium was expanded to 70,220. Iowa earned its third Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth under Fry, posting an 8-4 overall record. Iowa’s “Road Warriors” earned the trip to Pasadena by defeating Michigan State, Michigan and Illinois, all on the road. Hawkeyes ended season ranked 18th nationally. RB Nick Bell was named Big Ten MVP.

1991 — Iowa tied the school record of 10 wins, posting a 10-1-1 record. Iowa’s only loss came at the hands of Big Ten champion Michigan as the Hawkeyes were 7-1 in league play. The Hawkeyes made their third appearance in the Holiday Bowl, which ended in a 13-13 tie with BYU. DE Leroy Smith earned consensus all-America status and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Iowa ended the season ranked 10th nationally by both the AP and CNN/USA Today.

1992 — Iowa appeared in its second Kickoff Classic and hosted No. 1 Miami (Fla.) in first night game ever played in Kinnick Stadium. Iowa’s fifth place Big Ten finish was the 13th first-division finish for Iowa in 14 seasons under Hayden Fry.

1993 — Iowa closed the regular season with four straight wins to earn an invitation to the inaugural Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Iowa lost to California (37-3) in the bowl game and ended the season with a 6-6 record. Iowa’s 21-3 win over Minnesota in the season finale not only assured the bowl invitation, but was also win No. 200 in Fry’s career.

1994 — Iowa again closed the season fast, earning three wins and a tie in the last four games to post a 5-5-1 mark. The Hawkeyes fought back from injuries at the quarterback position to score 98 points in the final two games, wins over Northwestern and Minnesota. Five Iowa quarterbacks were injured during the year.

1995 — Following the trend of the past few seasons, Iowa closed fast, winning its final two games of the regular season to earn an invitation to the Sun Bowl. Iowa ended the year racing past Pac-10 co-champion Washington, 38-18, in the Sun Bowl and finished with an 8-4 record, including a 4-4 Big Ten mark.

1996 — Iowa posted a 9-3 record, including a 27-0 win over Texas Tech in the Builder’s Square Alamo Bowl. The Hawkeyes posted a 6-2 Big Ten record, earning a tie for third place with Penn State. Tim Dwight and Jared DeVries earned all-American honors and Sedrick Shaw rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season.

1997 — Iowa posted a 7-5 overall record (4-4 in the Big Ten) and participated in the Norwest Sun Bowl, earning its third straight bowl invitation. But narrow road losses at national champion Michigan (28-24), Wisconsin (13-10) and Northwestern (15-14) put a damper on what could have been a great season. Tavian Banks, Tim Dwight and Jared DeVries earned all-American honors and Dwight led the nation in punt returns.

1998 — A youthful team, coupled with a series of injuries, doomed the Hawkeyes. Iowa finished 3-8, the worst record in Fry’s career in Iowa City, losing its final five games.

1998 — Fry announces his retirement on Nov. 23 following a 3-8 season, his 20th at Iowa. His overall record is 232-178-10, including 143-89-6 with the Hawkeyes.

2019 — John Hayden Fry dies in Dallas on Dec. 17 at the age of 90.