May 23, 2016
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By MATTHEW WEITZEL
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fifty years after playing his final University of Iowa football game, Dave Long was presented his “I” Ring on May 12 at the Carroll Area I-Club. An emotional Long, who played defensive end and tight end, received his well-deserved ring from UI head coach Kirk Ferentz.
“I’m not an emotional guy but when Tom Moreland (director of development) gave my introduction, I couldn’t hold back my emotions,” said Long. “Good things happen for good reasons, no matter how long it takes. There is so much warmth in my heart.”
Long, who was born in Jefferson, Iowa, was a three-year letterman from 1963-65. After his Hawkeye career, Long was selected with the 43rd overall selection of the 1966 NFL Draft by St. Louis. Iowa’s 1965 Most Valuable Player was unable to receive his “I” Ring because he left for the Cardinals’ training camp before the ceremony occurred in the spring of 1966.
Long’s professional career spanned seven seasons for the Cardinals and New Orleans Saints.
The National Iowa Varsity Club provides the funding for the “I” Rings, which are presented to UI student-athletes at the culmination of their collegiate careers. The “I” Ring symbolizes the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication it takes to be a Hawkeye.
A couple years ago, Long made the trip from his current residence near Tucson, Arizona, to Coon Rapids, Iowa, and befriended locals and UI graduates Charlie Nixon and Dan Pomeroy during his visit. Upon hearing Long’s story of missing the “I” Ring ceremony, Pomeroy, a national I-Club board member, spearheaded efforts in getting Long his ring.
“Last month, I got an email from Dan asking if I was going to make the trip North this year,” Long said. “Dan said the I-Club was going to have a huge event and Kirk Ferentz was going to be the main speaker. That was all he had to say.”
Long says the four years at the University of Iowa was an exciting time in his life, but one of the things he has regretted over the years was not coming back to receive his “I” Ring.
“Being on the National I-Club Board I knew who to contact,” said Pomeroy. The athletics department and foundation responded because they are a great university. They have compassion for their former players, graduates, and athletes like Dave Long. They showed that in a sense of obligation to make things right for Dave.”
As much as Long was grateful for receiving his “I” Ring, he was thankful for having the opportunity to meet and speak with coach Ferentz.
“I can’t say enough about coach Ferentz,” Long said. “Kirk’s a great coach, who runs a tremendous program. I see why he’s so successful with the student-athletes. It was a superb experience to have the opportunity to meet him.”
When the announcement was made, over 500 Hawkeye fans erupted and gave Long a standing ovation.
“It was a great, emotional Hawkeye moment,” said Pomeroy.
Long is thankful for everyone who made it possible for him to receive his “I” Ring. It’s a moment that he will endlessly cherish.
“May 12 is a calendar day for me for the rest of my life,” Long said.