Feb. 28, 2014
- Read the March issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
CORALVILLE, Iowa — You can’t think of Hayden Fry’s quarterbacks at the University of Iowa without thinking Chuck Long. And you can’t think of Long without thinking of the bootleg touchdown run against Michigan State in 1985.
There will be plenty of time to reminisce about your favorite quarterback of the Fry Era between now and Aug. 29: the theme of Fryfest VI will be “Quarterbacks of Hayden Fry.”
From Phil Suess, Pete Gales, and Gordy Bohannon in 1979 to Kyle McCann, Randy Reiners, and Scott Mullen in 1998, Fry, his quarterbacks, and the Hawkeyes won 143 games and six bowl games. They will be celebrated — along with all things Hawkeye — the day before Iowa opens the 2014 football season against Northern Iowa in Kinnick Stadium.
“One of the great things that stood out to me as a quarterback was that (coach Fry) always made it fun and he always had you prepared,” Long said Friday at a news conference at Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. “Those are things I have carried on for the rest of my life in my career.”
Long, runner-up to Bo Jackson for the Heisman Trophy in 1985, spoke on behalf of the Fry Era quarterbacks. He called his former coach one of the great play-callers of all time, and admitted that he tried to talk Fry out of running the famous bootleg-for-touchdown that gave Iowa a 35-31 Homecoming win against the Spartans on Oct. 5, 1985.
“He said, “Charlie, we’re going to run this isolation play. Ronnie Harmon is in the backfield, but you’re not going to give it to him. Don’t tell anybody. You’re going to keep it and go around the right side,” recalls Long. “I looked him in the eye and said, “Coach, we’re out of timeouts, what if I don’t make it? I’m not that fast.
“(Fry) said, Charlie, we’re going to run this isolation play. Ronnie Harmon is in the backfield, but you’re not going to give it to him. Don’t tell anybody. You’re going to keep it and go around the right side. I looked him in the eye and said, ‘Coach, we’re out of timeouts, what if I don’t make it? I’m not that fast.'”
Remembering ‘the bootleg’
“He took his glasses off, like he did when he always wanted to make his point. He said. “Charlie, just run the play, you’re going to get in.”
Also speaking at the news conference were Josh Schamberger of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, John Lundell, mayor of Coralville, Charlie Funk, CEO of MidWestOne Bank, and Gary Barta, director of athletics at the University of Iowa.
Barta revealed that during the 2014 football season, the UI will recognize and celebrate 125 seasons of Hawkeye football, as well as the 75th anniversary of the 1939 UI football team coached by Dr. Eddie Anderson and nicknamed the Ironmen.
Schamberger announced the return of Herky on Parade, one of the area’s largest public art projects. The program originated in 2004 and this year it will begin May 5 with 80 six-foot tall Herkys hitting the streets until the end of August. All 80 will be together for one day only — Fryfest 2014 at Iowa River Landing.
An announcement of a concert for Fryfest will come in early April, Schamberger said. The cycling event granGable will be held Aug. 31.
At the beginning of the Fryfest news conference, a phone call was placed to Fry, who turned 85 on Friday. The mix of representatives from University of Iowa athletics, City of Coralville, and the Iowa City-Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as various sponsors, serenaded Fry with an off-tune, yet heartfelt version of Happy Birthday.
“The good lord has something in store for me by keeping me around,” Fry told the group. “I still have the most remarkable memory in the world. I can remember every game we won and I can’t remember one we lost.”
When it came to UI athletics, football wasn’t the only topic of conversation. Funk, who spoke on behalf of Fryfest sponsor MidWestOne Bank, gave a shout out to head coach Lisa Bluder and the Hawkeye women’s basketball team that won its 22nd game of the season Thursday.
“We ought to take a moment to recognize our women’s basketball program,” he said. “Picked to finish in the middle or the bottom in the Big Ten Conference; here they are with a great chance to finish fourth in the Big Ten with a great recruiting class coming in. If you think about graduation rate, the role model her student-athletes embody every single year — there isn’t a one of them you wouldn’t want as your daughter.”