Kinnick Stadium Facts

Oct. 7, 2004

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every weekday through the football season, will bring readers a Kinnick Stadium factoid compiled for the 75th Anniversary of Kinnick Stadium.

FACT 29: In 1932, area children were able to buy Iowa football tickets for 10 and 25 cents by joining a newly-created organization. “The Knothole Club” allowed boys and girls between the ages of five and eight to purchase discounted tickets for games played inside Kinnick Stadium.

FACT 28: In 1930, Iowa played its opening game against Bradley Tech at the old Iowa Stadium to save the mud soaked turf of Kinnick Stadium for three upcoming home games against Oklahoma A&M, Centenary and Purdue. A 30-foot cinder and crushed brick track was installed around the stadium to cut down muddy paths outside.

FACT 27: Willis Glassgow, captain of the 1929 Hawkeye team, scored the first touchdown in Kinnick Stadium. Glassgow, who was a three-year letterwinner and the first Hawkeye to win Big Ten MVP, scored on a 30-yard run.

FACT 26: The Hawkeyes shut out Penn State 19-0 in front of 24,000 homecoming fans in 1930. This visit by an east coast school marked the first in Kinnick Stadium history.

FACT 25: Kinnick Stadium gained national recognition in 1963 when it became the first stadium in the nation to install permanent plastic coverings over all seats in the regular stands.

FACT 24: Construction began on Kinnick Stadium on March 6, 1929. Concrete was made from over 64,000 sacks of cement, and 250 men were on the construction crew. It only took seven months to build the stadium.

FACT 23: Kinnick Stadium was designed by the same architects that designed the general hospital and field house plans. Proudfoot, Rawson, Souers and Thomas from Des Moines did the work.

FACT 22: Kinnick Stadium’s playing field is placed roughly 30 feet below ground. The east and west grandstands are 50 feet tall.

FACT 21: After being tabbed a 7-point underdog, Iowa defeated Indiana 27-7 on homecoming 1947. Emlen Tunnell led the Hawkeyes, catching six passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the Hawkeyes in rushing with 44 yards on 11 carries.

FACT 20: Iowa recorded victories against both Ohio State and Michigan in 1962 inside Kinnick Stadium. The Buckeyes, coming off an undefeated 1961 season, marched into Iowa City and were handed a 28-14 defeat. On November 17, Iowa defeated Michigan 28-14. This victory marked the first time an Iowa team had beaten the Wolverines inside Kinnick Stadium.

FACT 19: In 1939, Nile Kinnick scored on a one-yard touchdown run off of a left tackle, bouncing off four Notre Dame tacklers to give the Hawkeyes a 7-6 victory over the highly touted Irish inside Kinnick Stadium.

FACT 18: Proving that sometimes it just doesn’t matter what you do, the Hawkeyes held Notre Dame to 1-of-8 passing for minus-7 yards, which is a school record for net passing, and also tallied three interceptions inside Kinnick Stadium en route to a 27-12 loss in 1948.

FACT 17: In 1948, undercover United States government agents were called into Iowa City to detect the “scalping” of tickets. The agents were looking for people selling their tickets above the $3.50 face value for Iowa’s game against second-ranked Notre Dame.

FACT 16: Kinnick Stadium first hosted a night game against Miami, FL, on Sept. 5, 1992. Only four games have been played under the lights at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes faced Northern Illinois in a night matchup in 1999, Iowa State in 2002 and Arizona State in 2003.

FACT 15: The five-floor press box was originally constructed in 1958 at a cost just less than $500,000. The press box has been expanded twice between 1995 and 1999. Prior to the current facility, one-storied press boxes were at the top of both sides of Kinnick Stadium.

Nile Kinnick, the Heisman Award-winning namesake of the Iowa stadium

FACT 14: Kinnick Stadium has 20 miles of bleacher seats inside four grandstands and includes 79 rows in the east and west grandstands.

FACT 13: The original capacity of Kinnick Stadium was 53,000. The stadium has been expanded four times and now has a capacity of 70,397. After the renovation of Kinnick, which will be completed in 2006, the capacity will vary again.

FACT 12: Eighteen different Iowa teams that have played their home games inside Kinnick Stadium ended the season ranked in the Associated Press top 25. The list includes both the 2002 and 2003 Hawkeye squads coached by Kirk Ferentz. As of Sept. 14, 2004, the Hawkeyes were ranked 16th in the nation by the AP.

FACT 11: Kinnick Stadium has been the home of 19 Iowa football teams that have advanced to post-season bowl games including the 2003 team that defeated Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL.

FACT 10: Iowa will take on Iowa State for the 52nd time on Saturday, Sept. 11. Iowa holds a 34-17 advantage in the series and a 19-12 advantage in games played inside Kinnick Stadium. But the Cyclones have won the last three games in Iowa City. However, Iowa won the previous seven inside Kinnick dating back to 1984.

FACT NINE: Dennis Mosley became Iowa’s first player to rush for 1,000 yards or more in a season against Purdue inside Kinnick Stadium in 1979. Mosley carried the ball 21 times for 88 yards and a touchdown. He ended the season with 1,276 yards.

FACT EIGHT: Iowa posted a 46-0 victory over Monmouth in the first game played in Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes and Illinois played to a 7-7 tie in the dedication game on Oct. 19, 1929.

FACT SEVEN: Iowa football teams in the 1970s and 1980s played most of their home games at Kinnick Stadium on an artificial surface. Kinnick’s playing field returned to grass in 1989 and was re-sodded prior to the 1997 season.

FACT SIX: The Iowa field hockey team played its home games inside Kinnick Stadium from 1981-1988 when artificial turf was in place. The field hockey team moved into their current facility, Grant Field, in 1989.

FACT FIVE: Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry introduced “the swarm” upon his arrival at Iowa in 1979. When entering Kinnick Stadium, players jog slowly onto the field, hands locked and with the captains in front. On why he had his players enter the stadium this way, Fry said, “Let’s save it for the game.” The “swarm” is still used today.

FACT FOUR: Ten athletes who called Kinnick Stadium their home have won national awards.

Cal Jones, Alex Karras and Robert Gallery won the Outland Trophy, Nile Kinnick and Chuck Long the Maxwell Award, Long and Brad Banks won the Davey O’Brien Award, Banks also won the AP Player of the Year Award, Nate Kaeding was awarded the Lou Groza Award, and Dallas Clark won the John Mackey Award.

FACT THREE: While Nile Kinnick is the only Iowa player to have won the Heisman Trophy, four Heisman Trophy runners-up have played for the Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium. Alex Karras finished second in the voting in 1957, Randy Duncan in 1958, Chuck Long in 1985 and Brad Banks in 2002.

FACT TWO: Only two Iowa players that have played inside Kinnick Stadium have had their jersey number retired.

Halfback Nile Kinnick, who wore No. 24, won numerous awards in 1939 including the Heisman Trophy. Cal Jones, a lineman from 1953-1955, donned No. 62. He was awarded the Outland Trophy in 1955 and was a two-time consensus all-American.

From Steubenville, OH, Jones earned the praise of Head Coach Forest Evashevski who said Jones was “the greatest lineman I ever coached.” Kinnick’s accomplishments are outlined below.

By surprising coincidence, both Kinnick and Jones had their lives cut tragically short by airplane crashes.

FACT ONE: Finished on Oct. 5, 1929, Iowa Stadium was the completion of a six-month, $497,151.42 project. But in 1972, Iowa Stadium was rechristened Kinnick Stadium in honor of Iowa’s 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick. But the name of the stadium is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated elements of the 75-year-old edifice.

“I love the fact that we play in Kinnick Stadium,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said recently. “It’s an awesome venue – the stadium itself, and to play in a stadium named after such a legendary individual. To me, there’s some added significance to that and something we all take for granted too often.”

“It’s an awesome venue – the stadium itself, and to play in a stadium named after such a legendary individual. To me, there’s some added significance to that and something we all take for granted too often.”
Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

Nile Kinnick, who played halfback, was the nation’s top player in 1939, winning the Heisman, Walter Camp and Maxwell Trophies. He was on virtually every all-America team and was the Big Ten’s MVP.

Off the field, Kinnick was senior class president, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with a 3.4 GPA from the College of Commerce.

Kinnick was going to be a member of the Iowa Law School when World War II broke out and he served as an ensign in the US Navy. And just four years after he led the historic Ironmen team of 1939 to a 6-1-1 record, Kinnick died when the plane he was piloting crashed in the Caribbean Sea in a training mission.

Barry Pump,