The Iowa football program will wear a patch on its right sleeve this season in honor of legendary coach John Hayden Fry, who passed away last December at the age of 90 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Fry, who also spent time as the head coach at SMU and North Texas State, compiled a 143-89-6 record in 20 seasons in Iowa City. He led the Hawkeyes to 14 bowl appearances and at least a share of three Big Ten titles (1981, 1985 and 1990) before he retired in 1998.
In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Fry – who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 – has a lengthy coaching tree that includes the likes of former Kansas State coach Bill Snyder; former Wisconsin coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez; former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops; former Arkansas and Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema; and current Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, among others.
“Coach Fry is just a really impressive person. Truly unique. Truly charismatic,” Ferentz said following Fry’s death. “A guy that did an unbelievable job here, but more importantly the way he impacted so many people. Certainly, in the football family, that’s evident, but it’s hard to go anywhere and not run into people that somehow, someway have a coach Fry story. His reach was really unbelievable.”
It’s unclear at this time if Iowa – which also honored Fry by removing the Tigerhawk logo from its helmet for its 2019 Holiday Bowl victory over USC – will wear the patch beyond the 2020 season. However, its placement does bring to mind the Chicago Bears’ and Detriot Lions’ tributes to their late owners, George Stanley Halas and William Clay Ford, whose initials have become a permanent part of their respective sleeve stripes.
The uniform patch will make its on-field debut when Iowa travels to Purdue on Oct. 24.
Photos courtesy of @HawkeyeFootball on Twitter.