Hawkeyes Hit the Windy City

July 30, 2007

CHICAGO — Three Iowa football seniors and the head coach are in Chicago today (Monday) through Wednesday as sports media from the entire nation converge on the windy city for the annual Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon and media festivities.

Hawkeye defensive end Bryan Mattison, running back Albert Young and linebacker Mike Klinkenborg will join Head Coach Kirk Ferentz at the league’s 36th annual kickoff luncheon. Over 400 of the nation’s media will be in Chicago to interview and visit with coaches and players over the next three days.

The three Iowa players will be part of a group of 32 student-athletes scheduled to appear at the three-day affair. The group includes 19 all-conference selections and the past three Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award winners. The culmination of the event is a Wednesday luncheon for more than 1,700 Big Ten football fans. The event, held at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency, has been sold out since late June.

“There’s no question this is one of the premier pre-season events on the college football calendar,” said Ferentz. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the media and Big Ten fans to see the league’s top players and all the coaches up close. From the standpoint of the coaches and players, it’s a pretty busy and intense schedule. But the end result for the media and the fans make it worthwhile.”

RB Albert Young

Over the years some of the nation’s top collegiate football players have taken part in the kickoff luncheon. Some of the Iowa players who have attended the event have included Chuck Long, Brad Banks, Colin Cole, Robert Gallery, Bob Sanders, Marv Cook, Ronnie Harmon, Chad Greenway, Aaron Kampman and Tim Dwight.

The list of former Kickoff Luncheon attendees also includes coaching legends Hayden Fry, Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes. Also in attendance have been Heisman Trophy winners Archie Griffin, Desmond Howard, Eddie George, Charles Woodson, Ron Dayne, and last year’s winner, Troy Smith. In all, 600 of the Big Ten’s finest players, more than 50 head coaches and 38,000 supporters have made the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon a yearly stop on their preseason college football schedules.

The players and coaches are scheduled for media interviews Tuesday and Wednesday. Those interviews involve representatives from print, website, television, and virtually every other type of media you can think of. Both players and coaches are subjected to one-on-one interviews and mass press conferences during the ordeal. It’s a tiring couple of days for the coaches and players attending.

Adding to this year’s schedule are the festivities surrounding the launch of the newly formed Big Ten Television Network. Press conferences and tours of the Network facilities are part of the three-day program. The Big Ten Network is set to go on the air for the first time, August 30th.

LB Mike Klinkenborg

Following a grueling 72 hours in Chicago, players and coaches get set for the return to Iowa City (and other Big Ten campuses) and the start of practice. Iowa’s football media day is scheduled for next Monday (August 6th). At that event the entire Iowa team and coaching staff will be subjected to interviews and photos from over 150 members of the Iowa media corps.

By the time Iowa coaches and players get through the hectic schedule in front of them the next 10 days, preseason practice, including two-a-days, will be a breeze.

Click HERE to learn more about the Big Ten Network.