IOWA CITY, Iowa – – Four members of the media, who covered University of Iowa athletics over the past 40 years, will be inducted into the Kinnick Stadium Media Wall of Fame on Sept. 16-17, in conjunction with Iowa’s home football contest against North Dakota State. The group will be honored on the field prior to the game.
The inductees are Rick Brown, a member of the Des Moines Register sports staff from 1978-2015; Blean Calkins, who covered Iowa games for KWPC radio in Muscatine (1962-92); Hal Lagerstrom, sportswriter and sports editor at the Dubuque Telegraph Herald (1959-1991); and Ed Podolak, current radio analyst for Iowa football games for Learfield Sports. Calkins and Lagerstrom are being honored posthumously.
Brown, a native of Fort Dodge, earned both his bachelor’s degree (1976) and master’s degree (1977) from Iowa and worked in the UI sports information office as an undergraduate. He served as a sportswriter and columnist at the Des Moines Register from 1978 until his retirement in December, 2015.
Brown was named Iowa Sportswriter of the Year honors 11 times during his career. He also claimed six first-place writing awards from the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME), and was a three-time national finalist.
Brown joins his father, Bob Brown, longtime sports editor of the Fort Dodge Messenger, as the only father-son duo in the Kinnick Stadium Media Wall of Fame.
Calkins was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, and graduated from Vancleave High School in 1938. He worked at Newton Manufacturing in Newton, and owned and operated Skelly Service Station before beginning his radio career.
Calkins began his broadcasting career at KCOB radio in Newton (1957-62) prior to moving to KWPC, where he broadcast Iowa football and basketball games throughout his career. He was named Iowa Sportscaster of the Year in 1969, 1974, 1975, and 1976. He served as president of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association from 1979-81. He passed away on March 16, 2003.
Lagerstrom, a native of Elgin, Illinois, attended Coe College, where he was a member of the baseball team while earning his degree in journalism (1952). He later served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Lagerstrom began his newspaper career at the Courier News in Elgin before joining the staff at the Telegraph-Herald in 1959.
Lagerstrom covered Iowa football in three Rose Bowl appearances. He earned the Outstanding Sportswriter Media Award from the Iowa Press Association in 1986. Lagerstrom retired from the newspaper in 1991. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 75, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, son Steven, and daughter, Ann Pickel.
Podolak came to Iowa City as a Hawkeye football player following his prep career in Atlantic, Iowa, lettering for the Hawkeyes from 1966-68. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors as a senior, served as team captain and was named Most Valuable Player. His single-game rushing record of 286 yards in a 68-34 win over Northwestern in 1968 was not broken until 1997, and remains as the second-best single-game total in school history.
Podolak played quarterback and running back for the Hawkeyes. He ranks 18th in both career rushing (407-1,710-14 TDs) and passing (172-398, 2,316 yards, 8 TDs), and 11th in total offense (4,026 yards).
Podolak was selected by Kansas City in the second round of the 1969 NFL Draft and played nine seasons in Kansas City. Podolak retired as the Chiefs all-time leading rusher with 4,451 yards and 34 touchdowns and ranks second in team history with 8,178 career combined yards. The Chiefs won Super Bowl IV in his rookie season and he is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame (1989). Podolak continues to hold the NFL record for All-Purpose Yards in an NFL playoff game, totaling 350 yards against Miami on Christmas Day, 1971.
Following his playing career Podolak moved to the announcing booth, joining WHO radio broadcasts of Iowa football games in 1982 after initially serving as an NFL color commentator for NBC, and college football commentator at ESPN. He worked for WHO radio until joining with Learfield Sports in 1997. Podolak has been a part of over 400 Hawkeye football games as a radio analyst.
The inaugural class of 20 members was recognized in 2006, the first year the Paul Brechler Press Box was in use following the Kinnick Stadium renovation. Four additional members were added in 2011. The Wall of Fame, located in the media section of the press box, recognizes individuals who have covered Hawkeye football with integrity, accuracy, and fairness over a long period of time.