Good Morning, Hawk Fans

Sept. 2, 2005

The fans of the nationally ranked University of Iowa football team who got out of bed a little early this morning and joined more than 600 other friends and fans of the Hawkeyes at the Johnson County I-Club’s first Friday Morning Breakfast of the college football season were treated with a real treat.

Sure. There was door prizes.

Sure, there was the usual dry preamble from this year’s Johnson County I-Club president – a local banker by the name of Wade Shriver.

And, sure, Iowa’s head coach Kirk Ferentz spoke to the group eloquently, thanking the UI Marching Band and cheerleaders and the Golden Girl for their appearance, encouraging Iowans to take a moment to reflect on their comforts and give whatever they can to those less fortunate who were dealt misery by Hurricane Katrina, and suggesting that his Hawkeyes – including the group of freshmen he introduced – were eager to hit the gridiron of historic and refurbished Kinnick Stadium.

However, this morning belonged to current UI President David Skorton. He had the group right where he wanted – captive, awaiting his introduction of their beloved football coach. And, as any superior administrator would, he took full advantage of the situation.

And he scored a touchdown.

Skorton spoke of his 20-plus years on campus, his role in the first turnabout of the fortunes of the football program at Iowa back in the early `80s – “Hayden (Fry) and I started the same year. Of course, he gets all the credit,” Skorton smiled.

“Freshmen…you’ve made three great choices. First, you’ve selected a great academic institution. Second, you’ve selected each other. And, third, you’re part of a great football program.”
UI President David Skorton

He pointed to the ring on his right hand. “Freshmen. You guys know what this is?” he asked with a wide grin. “It’s a Big Ten championship ring. Presidents like these,” he chuckled before adding, “I checked with my wife. I’ve got this ring and my wedding ring. That means I’ve got eight fingers left!”

Skorton, who is also a member of the UI faculty and has been for his more than two decades on the campus, also poked a little fun at his predecessor. “Mary Sue who?” he asked with an even wider grin.

The Hawkeye faithful loved every minute of it. And, then, he turned serioius…and they loved that, too.

“Freshmen…you’ve made three great choices,” Skorton said. “First, you’ve selected a great academic institution. Second, you’ve selected each other. And, third, you’re part of a great football program.”

Skorton’s introduction of Ferentz was punctuated by the fact that he was like his peers in one respect: Very knowledgeable about the game of football. However, Skorton said, what separated Ferentz from the field was his devotion to the development of the young people he touches on a daily basis.

“He does it with the five at his home and the 100-plus on campus. I’m so proud to have Kirk as our head football coach,” Skorton said…and the ballroom in the Iowa City Sheraton erupted.

Allied Insurance “Kirk’s Kids” Program

Speaking of Ferentz, the UI’s head football coach has lent his support to a special opportunity for young boys and girls participating in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs in eatern and central Iowa.

Prior to each home game of the Iowa Hawkeyes, two youngsters — one represting each area — will be introduced pre-game as “Kirk’s Kids” for that game. The activity is a result of a partnership with Allied Insurance, a long-time corporate sponsors of the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI.

Each “Kirk’s Kid” receives four game tickets, a souvenir football autographed by Kirk, four tickets to ride the Hawkeye Express to and from the game, and a pre-game tour of historic Kinnick Stadium.

The youngters who will be introduced prior to Iowa’s season opener on Saturday are David Shupert representing central Iowa and Terrance Campbell of representing eastern Iowa.