Meet the woman who helped make 'The Wave' happen

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- If you're a Hawkeye fan, even if you're not, you probably know "The Wave" has a new meaning at Kinnick Stadium.

In between the 1st and 2nd quarter of home football games, the near 70,000 at Kinnick wave to pediatric patients in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, which peers over the top of the stadium.

In between the 1st and 2nd quarter of home football games, the near 70,000 at Kinnick wave to pediatric patients in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, which peers over the top of the stadium.

It's been called the best new tradition in college football, gaining national attention the last few weeks. But how did it start?

University officials said they'd been discussing doing something like The Wave, about a year ago as the Children's Hospital neared completion.

"The idea started there," said Charlie Taylor with UI's strategic communications department. "But, candidly, it took off with the fantastic fan base we have."

That's in part due to a woman that didn't even attend school at the UI, Krista Young. She's largely been credited with getting the ball rolling amongst the black and gold masses. The mom of three, from the small town of Anita, posted to Hawk fan page "Hawkeye Heaven" in May.

"I think with the new U of I hospital addition open," the post read, "Kinnick should hold a "wave to the kids" minute during every game."

"It wasn't a big drawn-out process," said Young. "I just kept seeing the photos when they opened up the addition. I just kept seeing sweet little bald heads staring down. I just thought, 'Hey, wouldn't this be cool.'"

Cool enough Levi Thompson, who manages the Facebook fan page, decided to promote the idea to his near 100,000 followers months before the first game.

"I put a post out on Hawkeye Heaven reaching out to people who were in the hospital," said Thompson, "actually, seeing if they'd send me photos of their children overlooking Kinnick stadium."

Thompson used the pics to make a bunch of online posts giving the idea momentum. The posts were shared thousands of times, perhaps reaching millions of people.

"It's cool," said Young. "But, really, I almost feel like a phony. I didn't put a lot of thought into it. It was just a whim."

A whim that's now a wave, meaning so much to the fans and especially the kids taking part.

Plans are to keep it that way for years to come. The UI is fully embracing it, designating a specific time to officially wave during each home game.

Hawkeye Heaven is trying to make Saturday's game extra special. Being an evening game, Hawkeye Heaven has asked fans to turn on their cellphone flashlights during the wave.

Iowa faces Penn State during the first night game of the season. It's set to begin at 6:30 p.m. You can watch on KCRG-TV9.


Mom of three, Krista Young from the small town of Anita, posted to Hawk fan page "Hawkeye Heaven" in May.