Being a Hawkeye Sticks in Gill's Heart

Sept. 5, 2014

  • Hawkeye Football Game Day
  • 2014 Fall Camp Central
  • Read the September 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

    fbgold.jpg twitgold222-bluebird.jpg fbblack.jpg twitblack-whitebird.jpg


    IOWA CITY, Iowa — Owen Gill was 16 years old before he picked up a football. Did he ever make up for lost time.

    Gill played soccer and rugby while growing up in London. Then, in high school, he moved to Brooklyn, New York with his father, and Gill tried American football. Because of his size, his peers thought he should be a lineman.

    Gill had another idea.


    His first carry resulted in a touchdown. So did his second. From then, no one second-guessed his decision to play fullback and running back.

    Gill is honorary captain for Iowa’s game Sept. 6 against Ball State. He will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game, and on the sidelines during the contest.

    “It is another great honor,” Gill said of being named honorary captain. “You get certain things in life that are true memories and this is one of those. Getting drafted is one, getting a scholarship to come to Iowa is one, being voted team captain is one and being an honorary captain to represent the Hawks once again is a great honor.”

    “There were a lot of memories. I don’t take just one game, I take the whole career and all the memories that come with it and the people that helped me get there is what made it more special.”
    Owen Gill
    UI honorary captain

    Gill was recruited by Hawkeye assistant coach Bernie Wyatt, and after a few successful seasons in New York, he accepted a scholarship to the University of Iowa in 1981.

    “I always loved what coach Wyatt had to say,” Gill said. “He was honest. He was one of us and that’s what made it great. He was from where we were from, so he knew how to speak to us. He told us what to expect, we took that and ran with it.”

    By the time Gill left the UI, he was the school’s all-time rushing leader with 2,556 yards (he is currently seventh). He played in the Rose, Peach, Gator, and Freedom Bowls, winning team MVP honors in the 1983 Gator Bowl.

    “There were a lot of memories,” Gill said. “I don’t take just one game, I take the whole career and all the memories that come with it and the people that helped me get there is what made it more special.”

    Gill was selected by Seattle in the second round of the 1985 Draft, playing three seasons with the Colts and Rams.

    When he was in high school, fans were not allowed at games. Two other players off his Tilden High School team — Nate Creer and Devon Mitchell were the others — joined Gill and played for the Hawkeyes.

    “Three of us came at the same time, but the weekend we came on our recruiting trip it was 75 degrees and it was January, so I think they kind of tricked us,” Gill said with a laugh. “Coming here and seeing the coaches and people that opened their arms and treated us great was something we wanted to be a part of.”

    From 1981-84, the Hawkeyes compiled a record of 33-15-1 — the first four in a string of eight consecutive winning seasons for Hayden Fry’s staff.

    “We came from winning programs and we expected to win regardless of who we were playing,” Gill said. “To be a pioneer and help build the program back up is a great blessing and I was glad we were able to be part of those teams.”

    Gill resides in Kansas City where he works as a surgical sales consultant, calling on oral surgeons and periodontists.

Print Friendly Version