Holiday Bowl: Hawkeyes reveal plans to honor late Hayden Fry

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

SAN DIEGO — Iowa’s football team is planning to remove the Tiger Hawk decals from its black helmets for Friday’s Holiday Bowl matchup against USC, a move designed to honor the late Hayden Fry.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to remove the logo that Fry brought to the university when he was hired prior to the 1979 football season, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz cited the fact that Fry twice had the decals removed from the team’s helmets to honor the dead — in 1991 at Ohio State, following the Gang Lu shooting rampage that killed six on the UI campus; and in the 1996 Alamo Bowl, when the mother of player Mark Mitchell was killed in a car accident on her way to the game.

“The precedent was set,” Ferentz said following Iowa’s practice Monday at Mesa Community College. “He did that twice in his time, and it was well-received by his children.

“It just seemed fitting.”

Fry, who won 143 games in 20 seasons at Iowa and led the Hawkeyes to three Rose Bowls, passed away Dec. 17 at age 90 after a long battle with cancer.

Ferentz added that the Hawkeyes will wear commemorative patches during the 2020 season to honor Fry.

“It’s just a big loss for everybody in the state of Iowa,” Ferentz said. “And we’ll do all we can to respect that.”

Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry, who passed away recently, waves to the Kinnick Stadium crowd in 2009.

Also on Friday, Iowa will wear a decal on the back of its helmet that simply says, “BUMP.” That will honor the late Bump Elliott. The longtime Iowa athletics director, who hired Fry, passed away Dec. 7 at the age of 94.

Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistikow has covered sports for 25 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.