Unlikely Hawkeye roommates form lasting bond

Chad Leistikow
Henry Krieger Coble (80) is greeted first by his roommate and best friend, Jordan Walsh, after he scored a touchdown in Kinnick Stadium for the first time on Nov. 21 against Purdue.

LOS ANGELES — Henry Krieger Coble and Jordan Walsh had never met until they were assigned to be roommates as college freshmen at Iowa in August 2011.

They've never lived apart since.

“This is going to sound weird,” Walsh said, “but I won’t know how to live without him in the same building.”

Friday’s Rose Bowl will be the last time this pair plays a football game together. Walsh is a starting right guard from Glendale Heights, Ill.; Krieger Coble is a starting tight end from Mount Pleasant.

“It was like the first day we were living together was the first day we met,” Krieger Coble said. “And then we have just been close ever since. He's an awesome roommate and awesome friend.”

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Normally, roommates are assigned on the road, too. But on this trip, Iowa players got to choose who they roomed with in the team hotel. A lot of players chose different roommates — C.J. Beathard and Jordan Lomax are sharing a room; so are Greg Mabin and Tevaun Smith.

Krieger Coble and Walsh, naturally, stuck with each other.

Despite coming from different backgrounds and playing different positions, they actually have a lot in common. They are both terrific NFL prospects, too.

“He's a really reserved, soft-spoken guy,” Krieger Coble said. “And I think I'm kind of the same way.

“He's an extremely hard worker and he's just — I haven't seen anybody work their tail off like he does in school and in football.”

And in a magical 12-1 season that has been built around togetherness and family, Krieger Coble and Walsh are a perfect representation of that.

Both were dynamic on the field as fifth-year seniors. Walsh was off-and-on as a junior, but he was downright dominating as a senior and was Iowa’s only offensive player to be named first-team all-Big Ten Conference.

Krieger Coble certainly could have been all-Big Ten after a breakthrough season of 32 catches (after having seven in his first three seasons). But his name was omitted from the media ballot.

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One of the quietly touching moments of this Iowa season came Nov. 21 at Kinnick Stadium. With Iowa leading Purdue 27-13 in the fourth quarter, Krieger Coble hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard. The first person to greet him in the end zone was none other than Walsh.

“That was definitely a good moment,” Walsh said. “I’m glad I was there with him in that moment, too.”

It was Krieger Coble’s first touchdown at Kinnick Stadium in his last game there.

“The goal of the game was to win, but being able to get in there and for Jordan to come and celebrate it, it was an awesome thing,” Krieger Coble said. “And it's something I won't forget.”