#oniowapod scratches where it itches and talks the man, myth, legend Hayden Fry

A bust of former Iowa football head coach Hayden Fry is seen at the Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building in
A bust of former Iowa football head coach Hayden Fry is seen at the Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Fry passed away Dec. 17 in Texas at 90. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Hayden Fry was the parent who would allow you to jump your Big Wheel over the pit full of nails and broken glass. Fry would imbue with the confidence. He would push the buttons that would motivate you and allow you to believe the Big Wheel was going to fly.

Kirk Ferentz is the parent who would tell you to dream about jumping the Big Wheel over the pit of ultimate darkness, but he would mostly tell you to focus on your homework and that Big Wheels don’t fly.

Fry brought idealism. Ferentz brought pragmatism.

Iowa needed an infusion of big ideas when Fry arrived with 17 consecutive nonwinning seasons as the program’s recent history. (People were still going to games? Blows my mind.) Ferentz took over the program in the midst of big internet dreams and kept Iowa focused on the actual and physical steps it would take to compete at a Big Ten championship level.


The #oniowapod went long today on Hayden Fry reminiscence. Scott and I heard you all week. This is a big deal for our generation. College football woke up during our years with Hayden Fry. He cracked the bowl code, probably for everyone and for sure everyone in the Big Ten.

I have a Twitter friend who said this week that Fry was the most consistent male presence in his life as a teen. My friend didn’t play for the Hawkeyes. This was from the distance of being a fan and he still felt the stability and swagger Fry brought.

I think a lot of Iowa fans saw a bit of their childhood slide away with Fry’s passing.

Maybe I’m getting too deep.

We talked recruiting and other fun stuff, too. We made some points and had some laughs, like usual. I kinda wanted to do a shot to say farewell to Fry, but we got kicked out of the podcast room. Oh yeah, we ran long.

Also attached to the #oniowapod post:

— Put up the video from last night’s Holiday Bowl news conference. Kirk Ferentz was in Iowa City around 1 p.m. and then in San Diego by about 9 for this deal.

In a way, I think that was perfect. Ferentz got to say a public farewell with a deadline, a plane waiting to take him to California. This didn’t allow rumination, which can get messy and deep. Ferentz hit all of the right notes and didn’t have to expand. Also, there wasn’t enough time for someone to ask something weird.

We might try to podcast in California. We will let you know if that does work out.

Thanks for listening! And merry Christmas!

You can listen to the podcast via Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle PlaySoundcloud and other services. The On Iowa Podcast is brought to you by ELITE Sportsbook.

Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com