Former Hawkeye All-American Kenny Ploen Passes

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa All-American quarterback Kenny Ploen passed away earlier this month at the age of 88.

Ploen was a first-team All-American in 1956, his only year as a starter. He led Iowa to the 1956 Big Ten Championship and a 35-19 win over Oregon State in the 1957 Rose Bowl. He was named the Big Ten and Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player following his senior campaign. He was Iowa’s 1956 team leader in rushing, passing, scoring and interceptions (he also played defensive back).

He was named to Iowa’s all-time team as a defensive back. Ploen served as an honorary captain prior to Iowa’s 2006 Homecoming game against Purdue.

Ploen, who was born in Lost Nation, Iowa and raised in Clinton, went on to a distinguished 11-year career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. He led the Blue Bombers to the Grey Cup (equivalent to the NFL’s Super Bowl) six times, winning four. In 1959 he set a record of 10 interceptions. He retired in 1967 as the all-time leading passer, completing 1,084 passes for 16,470 yards and 119 touchdowns.

“Ken Ploen was the face of the Blue Bombers for years and then became a part of the fabric of this community following his playing days,” said Winnipeg Football Club President & CEO Wade Miller in a statement. “He was a four-time Grey Cup champion as a player and a great ambassador for our franchise and our city.”

He is a member of the CFL’s Hall of Fame, the National Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame, the Quad City Hall of Fame and Clinton High School Hall of Fame.

A Celebration of Ploen’s life was held on Feb. 28, in Fort Garry, Winnipeg.