Fry Gains Another Honor

Feb. 24, 2004

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Hayden Fry, a highly successful head football coach for 37 seasons, has been selected to receive the 2004 Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to college football.

Fry, 75, will accept the award at a banquet on April 22 at the Kellogg Center on Michigan State University’s campus.

The event will recognize Fry’s contributions on and off the playing field as a leader at Southern Methodist (1962-72), at North Texas State (1973-78) and, most prominently, at Iowa (1979-98).

It will also salute Daugherty’s success and influence as a 19-year head coach at MSU (1954-72).

“I can’t express how happy I am to be chosen to receive this award – Duffy’s award,” Fry said. “The two of us became very close friends. He helped me develop my sense of humor. And I accompanied him to (Coach of the Year) clinics all across the country.”

The two men shared a strong sense of justice, especially concerning racial integration, and were two of most charismatic characters ever to stroll a Big Ten sideline.

Daugherty and Fry are both enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. And both have taken multiple teams to the Rose Bowl, with Daugherty’s 1965-66 teams winning national titles and 14 of Fry’s Iowa teams advancing to bowl games.

Their first important interaction came in 1962, when Fry, who had just been hired at SMU, referred a player from Beaumont, Texas, to Daugherty as a future star.

“I was the guy who actually called Duffy in regards to Bubba Smith,” Fry said of a two-time All-American and Hall of Fame defensive end. “When I accepted the job at SMU, I was promised I could take one African-American a year. But when I couldn’t get Bubba in right away, I gave Duffy a call. The rest is history.”

If Daugherty opened doors for minorities by playing black quarterbacks and winning with fully integrated teams before most coaches got the message, Fry was just as important to the movement for equality when he integrated the Southwest Conference with receiver Jerry Levias in the late 1960s.

“Jerry Levias was a great player and a better person,” Fry said of a fellow Hall of Fame enshrinee in 2003. “He paved the way for a lot of players who followed. And so many of them still owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

“But I’ll never forget what happened after our team with Jerry and quarterback Chuck Hixson went to Michigan State and lost a tough game (23-15 in 1969). After the players showered and we started to roll away from the stadium, this little guy ran out and flagged down the bus. It turned out to be Duffy Daugherty. When he came on the bus, he gave one of the most inspiration speeches I’d ever heard. I really think that helped turn our program around at SMU.”

Fry’s greatest success came at Iowa, where he recorded 143 of his 232 wins, the 10th-highest total in NCAA Division I history. He led the Hawkeyes to their first winning season in 21 years, took the program to three Rose Bowls and had three 10-win seasons.

The Eastland, Texas, native and former Baylor quarterback helped develop head coaches like Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin, Bill Snyder of Kansas State, Dan McCarney of Iowa State, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Kirk Ferentz, his successor at Iowa.

Fry also coached players like linebacker Larry Station and quarterback Chuck Long, a runner-up by the slimmest of margins for the 1985 Heisman Trophy and now the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.

Fry will join a distinguished array of past Daugherty Award recipients, including coaches Bud Wilkinson, Bob Devaney, Eddie Robinson, Ara Parseghian, Joe Paterno, Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes and Frank Kush and broadcaster Keith Jackson.