IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - University of Iowa officials, coaches, former players, and others are reacting to the news of the passing of legendary former Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry.
** FILE ** Iowa football coach Hayden Fry is carried off the field after his team defeated Minnesota giving him his 200th career victory in this file photo, Nov. 20, 1993, in Iowa City, Iowa. Fry, who retired after the 1998 season, was selected March 24, 2003, to the College Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Shirley and the entire Fry family as we mourn the loss of Hayden Fry; a great leader, an outstanding coach, and a man as genuine and loyal as they come.
Iowa Athletics has lost an icon, a man that raised the bar for every Hawkeye program, and every member of our athletics department. Hayden was respected by everyone who knew him. His passing creates a void for all those who played for, coached with, and supported his successful tenure as our head football coach.
Iowa football reached new heights under Hayden Fry, and has continued that success under Kirk Ferentz, one of the many outstanding coaches who served as a member of his staff. Hayden’s legacy not only lives on through Iowa football, but also through the coaches and players who had the privilege to be associated with his teams.
Hayden represented all that is good in college athletics, and did it “his way”. Iowa athletics, and college football, has lost a pioneer. He was a dedicated family man and he will be missed.”
Head football coach for the University of Iowa Kirk Ferentz:
“Hayden Fry is a college football icon and an Iowa legend. His Hall of Fame career is well known, but personally, he will always be the man who took a chance on me at the start of my coaching career. I was proud to coach with him and honored to succeed him when he retired. He’s been a great mentor and a true friend. I am forever grateful to him.
Mary and I send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Shirley, their children and the entire Fry family. We hope that Hayden’s legacy of integrity and high character will provide his family comfort during this difficult time.”
There are two men who played large roles in my coaching career: One is my mentor, Joe Moore. The other is Hayden Fry.
Back in 1981, I sent three job applications out: one went to Appalachian State – I never heard back from them; I sent one to Hawaii, had a phone interview, but they needed someone who knew the west coast; the third went to Hayden Fry at Iowa. Coach Fry hired me based on Coach Moore’s recommendation (and in spite of my lack of experience and local knowledge) and showed me how to build and maintain a winning program.
His vision included hiring coaches who would be forward thinking and challenge each other. If you look across college football, you will see a part of his legacy in the coaches who he hired and mentored – coaches like Barry Alvarez, Bill Snyder, Dan McCarney, Bob, Mike and Mark Stoops and many more.
Even before the Hawkeyes started winning on the field, Coach Fry was beloved by the fans and trusted by his players. He had a charisma and leadership style that created a championship and winning program that continues today. In 20 seasons at Iowa, Coach Fry showed us all that you can succeed at the highest level by playing by the rules.”
Hayden Fry's family:
"With our family at his side, Hayden Fry, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer. We are comforted in our faith and knowing that Hayden is no longer suffering and resides now in heaven with our Lord. Hayden passed on Dec. 17, at the age of 90.
We are proud to know that our father’s life had a positive influence on so many people, the players, the coaches, and the fans who played for, worked with, and supported his long and successful coaching career. His legend will live forever with the people he touched and inspired, and the programs he led to greater heights.
Though Hayden was born in Texas and moved there more recently to be closer to our family, his love for the University of Iowa, his players and coaches, the people of Iowa, and the state of Iowa, is well known. Hayden often shared, “I’ll Always Be a Hawkeye”.
Our family would like to pass along our heartfelt thanks to the caregivers who made Hayden’s comfort their priority.
We cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support. Your thoughts and prayers are truly appreciated.
Memorial Services are pending and will be announced at a later date."
Former quarterback Chuck Long:
Heaven is having a High Porch Picnic tonight. Coach Fry changed all of our lives forever. I love you Coach-RIP https://t.co/CQLfUTTrVC— Chuck Long (@ChuckLongIowa) December 18, 2019
Learfield IMG radio announcer for the Iowa Hawkeyes Gary Dolphin:
A special Marine passed tonight. A tear from the Tiger Hawk. RIP Hayden. pic.twitter.com/fpx0vRii6B— Gary Dolphin (@GaryDolphin) December 18, 2019
Former player Eppy Epenesa, father of current player A.J. Epenesa:
He gave me a chance to walk on at Iowa Football, he bestowed a nickname for me "Repeat" I love you coach Fry, thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime & for taking great care of this Island boy in Iowa City!! RIP Coach I will never 4get you! Pray��for his whole family! pic.twitter.com/j8J9cHdSnC— Eppy Epenesa (@EEpenesa) December 18, 2019
Kentucky head football coach and former Hawkeye defensive back Mark Stoops:
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my coach and mentor, Hayden Fry. He had a profound effect on the Stoops family, helping Bob, Mike and me grow as young men and then influence us in our coaching careers. Heartfelt sympathies go out to Coach Fry’s family and friends.— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) December 18, 2019
Senator Joni Ernst:
University of Nevada head coach and former Hawkeye defensive back Jay Norvell:
Today I lost my Coach. Passing at the age of 90, Hayden Fry changed my life. Much of what I have accomplished in life is because what he saw in me, that young kid from Madison Wisconsin. I keep his picture in my locker. I am so grateful he was my coach. Rest In Peace Coach. pic.twitter.com/PgYW7o9WJ8— Jay Norvell (@CoachJayNorvell) December 18, 2019
Former Wisconsin head coach and former Hawkeye player and coach Bret Bielema:
This man gave me an opportunity to walk on and join the Hawkeye Family. He gave me a scholarship, my first coaching job, and the coaching DNA for life. I love you Coach Fry. #Hawkeyes #MyCoach pic.twitter.com/3niQ53q04Y— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) December 18, 2019
Actor and Ottumwa native Tom Arnold:
Hayden Fry changed my life. He changed everything. A crazy confident but magical Texan who strutted into Iowa City when we were at our lowest & said I’m going to make you great. Let’s have some fun! Hayden Fry made us long suffering Iowa Hawkeyes great & fun. RIP my friend #Iowa— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) December 18, 2019
Former Hawkeye defensive back and assistant coach Bob Stoops:
For the entire Stoops family, our heartfelt condolences to Coach Fry’s family. A man that we all loved and revered. RIP Coach - our journey would have been much different without you. Thanks for the memories of a life time!!!!!! A ��if there ever was one! pic.twitter.com/MPhHcSXJQ4— Bob Stoops (@CoachBobStoops) December 18, 2019
Former Hawkeye assistant coach Frank Verducci:
The Iowa Farm Bureau:
Coach Hayden Fry gave Iowans a reason to cheer for the #Hawkeyes and gave Americans a reminder to rally around their farmers (when he introduced us all to ANF, America Needs Farmers, back in 1985).— Iowa Farm Bureau (@IowaFarmBureau) December 18, 2019
Thank you, Coach. You’ll be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/jCzrfANheu
Former Hawkeye safety Matt Bowen:
The best. RIP, Coach Fry. https://t.co/Rkl7MpnQps— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) December 18, 2019
Hawkeye men's basketball guard Jordan Bohannon:
This man sold a dream to my dad to play at Iowa, ended up changing the tide of the football program, and gave the chance for my father to meet my mom at Iowa. Without him, us four Bohannon brothers may not be here today. Crazy to think about! Thank you coach for changing my fam!! https://t.co/xkAjhKLLUQ— Jordan Bohannon (@JordanBo_3) December 18, 2019