Ray Nagel, former Iowa football coach, dies at 87

Register staff report

Ray Nagel, Iowa's football coach through some turbulent times that included a feud with athletic director Forest Evashevski and a black boycott, has died at age 87.

The Honolulu News-Advertiser reported that Nagel had been in deteriorating health since 2013 and died of natural causes Jan. 15 in San Antonio, Texas. Services are pending.

Nagel was 38 when Iowa hired him out of Utah as the school's 21st head coach, replacing Jerry Burns in 1966. Nagel had a 16-32-1 record overall and an 11-22-2 mark in the Big Ten during his five seasons in Iowa City, coaching players such as Eddie Podolak, Larry Lawrence and Dennis Green. His best seasons were 1968 and 1969, when the Hawkeyes went 5-5.

His teams were known for offense — the 1968 team broke 20 school and Big Ten offensive records — and the Hawkeyes won four league games for the first time since 1960. Better things were expected in 1969, but a black boycott played a factor in another 5-5 season.

Both Evashevski, who had coached Iowa to three Big Ten titles and Rose Bowls from 1952-60, and Nagel were fired after an investigation of padded expense accounts in May of 1970. Nagel would eventually be rehired to coach the final season of his contract, and Iowa was 3-6-1.

After leaving Iowa, Nagel became athletic director at Washington State and then Hawaii before becoming executive vice president for the Los Angeles Rams in 1983. He returned to Hawaii in 1984 and was vice president of public relations for Bank of Hawaii until 1989. He was then executive director of the Hula Bowl until retiring in 1995.