By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Amy Dahlin probably isn’t alone in thinking her husband, Brian, is a bit off his rocker because of his passion toward University of Iowa athletics.
At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. Brian was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and works in Nichols, Wisconsin, as vice president of sales and marketing for Nichols Paper Company.
So why, after living the majority of his life in a state that favors the colors green and gold of the Green Bay Packers and the cardinal and white of the Wisconsin Badgers, would Dahlin be so invested in Hawkeye black and gold?
“In my era, the Badgers weren’t real good to say the least,” Dahlin said. “I always liked (former head football coach) Hayden Fry and admired the Hawkeye teams from the early 1980s.”
Dahlin’s first fulltime job was working for the now defunct television station KDUB channel 40 in Dubuque, Iowa. One of his assignments was providing coverage of the Hawkeyes.
“I got roped in as a fan as well as being able to cover them and it hasn’t left me,” Dahlin said. “I still follow them on a regular basis. I was a season ticket holder before our kids started to grow up and I didn’t have as much time to hit all the games. I still support the I-Club and Holden Cancer Center.”
Dahlin’s most recent act of his Hawkeye allegiance will result in a full day of University of Iowa athletics programming on ESPNU on Tuesday, April 16.
Here’s how it happened: A year ago, during what is known as ESPY Day Auction, Dahlin bid on a package that allowed the winner to schedule a day’s worth of content featuring a college of their choice. It was a win-win situation for Dahlin. His financial bid went to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research; the 10 events he selected will make for an entertaining Tuesday for Iowa fans around the world.
It also gives the Hawkeyes a continuous 24-hour commercial on the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Since all times are Eastern, the first game will technically air April 15 at 11 p.m. (CT) with the Hawkeyes’ 55-24 football victory over Ohio State on Nov. 4, 2017. Also being shown will be Iowa’s 14-13 football win over Michigan on Nov. 12, 2016, the 101-95 men’s basketball overtime victory against Connecticut in the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 11, 1995, the 42-35 overtime football victory against Penn State on Sept. 28, 2002, the 1997 NCAA Wrestling Championships where the Hawkeyes scored 170 points and crowned five individual champions, the 21-20 football victory over Penn State on Oct. 19, 1996, the 96-90 men’s basketball overtime win against Michigan State on Jan. 28, 1993, and the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
Of course, Dahlin included two Iowa men’s basketball victories over his home-state Badgers: the first on Feb. 23, 2012, when Matt Gatens scored 33 points, the second on March 7, 2017, when Jordan Bohannon sank a game-winning 3-point field goal.
“I have nothing against Wisconsin, I was just drawn more toward Iowa and once I started working (in Dubuque) and getting to know the lay of the land, I liked Iowa better, especially wrestling,” Dahlin said. “I wasn’t a wrestler, but I have always admired (former head coach) Dan Gable and what he was able to do, not just for the Hawkeye program, but for the sport of wrestling itself. That was amazing to me.
“You have to experience a match in Carver-Hawkeye to understand why it’s a big deal.”
Not all of Dahlin’s programming choices were accepted. He wanted to re-run the 1993 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four, but ESPN would only offer events it had rights to or permission to use.
It was at UW-Platteville where Dahlin not only met his wife, but he earned an A in a physical education/basketball class taught by then head men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan. Ryan went on to coach Wisconsin from 2001-15.
“I’m proud of that A,” Dahlin said. Then he’s quick to recognize a famous UW-Platteville alumnus. “But (UW-Platteville is) also home of Tom Davis.”
Davis coached the Iowa men’s basketball team from 1986-99.
The monetary donation for cancer research strikes a personal chord with the 49-year-old Dahlin. More than five years ago he was diagnosed with Stage 4 testicular cancer (he is now cancer-free). While going through a 12-week treatment program, he befriended Dr. David Groteluschen, who grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Iowa.
“He said he doesn’t get to talk about the Hawkeyes much, especially with a lot of people in Wisconsin,” Dahlin said. “It was nice to talk about Iowa athletics during treatments.”
Dahlin’s office at Nichols Paper includes an autographed photograph of Fry and a Kinnick Stadium souvenir brick. His favorite Hawkeye is Tim Dwight, which explains the selection of the 1996 Iowa-Penn State football game. In that game, Dwight scored his third collegiate touchdown with an 83-yard punt return in the first quarter. He also caught two passes for 77 yards.
So how will Dahlin pass the time on April 16?
“I would love to say I will be spending 24 hours non-stop watching the games and drinking pots of coffee,” Dahlin said. “I will definitely stay up for the first game, then DVR some of them while I am sleeping or working.”
Brian and Amy have been married 25 years. They have three sons — Brysson (19 years old), Drew (17), and Blake (14).
|IOWA DAY ON ESPNU|
|11 p.m. – 2 a.m.||Nov. 4, 2017||Ohio State at Iowa football|
|2 a.m. – 4 a.m.||Feb. 23, 2012||Wisconsin at Iowa men’s basketball|
|4 a.m. – 7 a.m.||Nov. 12, 2016||
|7 a.m. – 9 a.m.||Nov. 11, 1995||Iowa vs. Connecticut men’s basketball|
|9 a.m. – noon||Sept. 28, 2002||Iowa at Penn State football|
|noon – 2 p.m.||March 7, 2017||Iowa at Wisconsin men’s basketball|
|2 p.m. – 4 p.m.||March 22, 1997||NCAA Wrestling Championships|
|4 p.m. – 7 p.m.||Oct. 19, 1996||Iowa at Penn State football|
|7 p.m. – 9 p.m.||Jan. 28, 1993||Iowa at Michigan State men’s basketball|
|9 p.m. – 11 p.m.||Jan. 1, 2005||Capital One Bowl|