Drew Connects

Dec. 31, 2004

Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes gathered in the Ocean Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel at SeaWorld – the team headquarters for the LSU Tigers – were ever so briefly at a loss for words.

Kirk who?

Kirk Fairintay?

Who in the world is Kirk Fairintay?

Kirk Fair-in-TAY?

Then it hit `em.

Kirk who?

Kirk Fairintay?

Kirk Fair-in-tay?

Who in the world is Kirk Fairintay?!

Then it hit `em.

Unfortunately, the emcee for the 2005 Capital One Bowl Game Kickoff Luncheon was just another guy in a long list of guys who hadn’t done his homework and was stumped when he looked at his notes when it was time to announce the 2004 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year to a crowd of well over a 1,000 who gathered for the final celebration of the Capital One Bowl before the game itself.

Of course, the emcee righted himself, the head coach barely blinked, and into the ballroom marched the 2004 Big Ten Conference champion Iowa Hawkeyes. They proceeded to break bread with their fans, their opponents, and their opponents’ fans.

Arguably the highlight of the event was the pass completion that featured quarterback Drew Tate tossing a tight spiral from the podium to a fan who had the winning number assigned to the souvenir football in the UI quarterback’s possession. In fact, Tate almost was good on both of his tosses, but the mother of LSU Head Coach Nick Saban – yes, winners were selected randomly — couldn’t handle Tate’s 10-yard toss cleanly.

Dr. Jerry Punch, ABC-TV’s sideline reporter for the game, had the best line of the afternoon when he noted that he hoped the efforts by the game’s two starting quarterback wasn’t an indication of what’s to come on Saturday.

“Think about it. LSU’s guy didn’t complete a pass and Drew’s only completion was to a guy who was wearing purple and gold,” chuckled Punch.

The Night Before

They came. They saw. They huddled…at the Hawkeye Huddle, of course. UI officials estimate as many as 18,000 fans and friends of the 2004 Big Ten Conference champions found their way to the Orlando Convention Center for what has become an annual celebration of all that is good in the world of college football.

“I can’t believe this. It’s remarkable,” said Jenny Short of West Des Moines who was accompanied by her two sons and husband.

“Isn’t this just great! What a great event,” added John Davenport, who made the trip of Elkader with his wife and son and their neighbors.

The Huddle was like all others…a great night of performances by the UI Marching Band, the UI cheerleaders and dance squad, and appearances by a bunch of black-and-gold celebrities ranging from team captains to UI President David Skorton.

The game plan was also the same: Have a good time and get ready for the real thing.

Couldn’t get to the Huddle in Orlando? Click HERE for a collection of photos from the special event.

And, here’s few more galleries for your enjoyment.

Capital One Bowl KidsFest
The Hawkeyes Enjoying Orlando
The Hawkeyes Visit SeaWorld
The Hawkeyes Visit Universal Studios
The Hawkeyes Visit DisneyWorld
Team Practice