No single player or team captured the imagination of Hawkeye fans more than Nile Kinnick and his legendary Ironmen team of 1939. Kinnick, a stalwart on the playing field and in the classroom was THE model Iowa football player.
As a student, Kinnick was senior class president. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the national scholastic honor society.
Maintaining a 3.4 GPA while participating in two sports, Kinnick earned a degree from the College of Commerce in 1940. He enrolled in the Iowa Law College.
As a player, his achievements are unmatched in Hawkeye history. He culminated a brilliant career in 1939 by winning the Heisman, Walter Camp and Maxwell Trophies as the nation’s top player.
He made virtually every all America team and was the Big Ten MVP. Nile is a member of Iowa’s all time football team and was named its outstanding player.
Kinnick was the spirit of Coach Eddie Anderson’s Ironmen unit of ’39. The Hawkeyes’ 6 1 1 mark included a 7 6 upset of Notre Dame when Kinnick scored every point. He also punted 16 times for 731 yards, both Iowa records, versus the Fighting Irish.
Kinnick died in the Caribbean sea in a crash of his fighter plane while on a training flight June 2, 1943 as an ensign in the United States Navy.
Jersey No. 62 was never worn more proudly than the three seasons Cal Jones donned it at Iowa.
One of the most intimidating linemen to wear the old gold and black, Jones was a three time first team all Big Ten guard. He made 22 all American teams during his career, including a record 15 in 1954.
As team captain in 1955, Jones earned the prestigious Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman. He was a consensus all American twice, one of only two at Iowa. Cal is an elected member of the National Football Foundation and Helms Athletic Foundation Halls of Fame.
Jones most recently was inducted into the inaugural class of Iowa Lettermen’s Club Hall of Fame. He was also chosen to the Iowa all time football team in 1989.
A physical education major at Iowa, Jones earned a 3.0 grade point average. He earned praise from Coach Forest Evashevski, who called him “the greatest lineman I ever coached.”
The two way guard was part of the “Steubenville Trio” (along with Frank Gilliam and Eddie Vincent) to come to Iowa from Steubenville, Ohio in the mid 1950s.
Jones died as a result of a plane crash in Canada on Dec. 9, 1956.