Former Iowa Football Coach Hayden Fry Has Died
Hayden Fry, legendary Iowa football coach has died at 90.
Texas native, Fry was head coach at the University of Iowa from 1979-1988 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2003.
Hayden Fry was hired as Iowa's 25th head football coach, and was impressed at the fan support for a program that had struggled for so long.
He hired a marketing group to create the Tigerhawk, a logo to represent the University of Iowa's athletic programs. Since both shared the colors of black and gold, Fry gained permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the dominant NFL program of the time, to overhaul Iowa's uniforms in the Steelers’ image.
Fry had the team "swarm" onto the field together as they left the locker room, holding hands in a show of solidarity. He also had the visitors’ locker room painted pink.
Fry Family on the passing of Hayden Fry:
With our family at his side, Hayden Fry, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer. We are comforted in our faith and knowing that Hayden is no longer suffering and resides now in heaven with our Lord. Hayden passed on Dec. 17, at the age of 90.
We are proud to know that our father’s life had a positive influence on so many people, the players, the coaches, and the fans who played for, worked with, and supported his long and successful coaching career. His legend will live forever with the people he touched and inspired, and the programs he led to greater heights.
Though Hayden was born in Texas and moved there more recently to be closer to our family, his love for the University of Iowa, his players and coaches, the people of Iowa, and the state of Iowa, is well known. Hayden often shared, “I’ll Always Be a Hawkeye”.
Our family would like to pass along our heartfelt thanks to the caregivers who made Hayden’s comfort their priority.
We cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support. Your thoughts and prayers are truly appreciated.
Memorial Services are pending and will be announced at a later date.
Gary Barta Statement on Hayden Fry:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Shirley and the entire Fry family as we mourn the loss of Hayden Fry; a great leader, an outstanding coach, and a man as genuine and loyal as they come.
Iowa Athletics has lost an icon, a man that raised the bar for every Hawkeye program, and every member of our athletics department. Hayden was respected by everyone who knew him. His passing creates a void for all those who played for, coached with, and supported his successful tenure as our head football coach.
Iowa football reached new heights under Hayden Fry, and has continued that success under Kirk Ferentz, one of the many outstanding coaches who served as a member of his staff. Hayden’s legacy not only lives on through Iowa football, but also through the coaches and players who had the privilege to be associated with his teams.
Hayden represented all that is good in college athletics, and did it “his way”. Iowa athletics, and college football, has lost a pioneer. He was a dedicated family man and he will be missed.”
Kirk Ferentz on the passing of Hayden Fry
“Hayden Fry is a college football icon and an Iowa legend. His Hall of Fame career is well known, but personally, he will always be the man who took a chance on me at the start of my coaching career. I was proud to coach with him and honored to succeed him when he retired. He’s been a great mentor and a true friend. I am forever grateful to him.
Mary and I send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Shirley, their children and the entire Fry family. We hope that Hayden’s legacy of integrity and high character will provide his family comfort during this difficult time.”
“There are two men who played large roles in my coaching career: One is my mentor, Joe Moore. The other is Hayden Fry.
Back in 1981, I sent three job applications out: one went to Appalachian State – I never heard back from them; I sent one to Hawaii, had a phone interview, but they needed someone who knew the west coast; the third went to Hayden Fry at Iowa. Coach Fry hired me based on Coach Moore’s recommendation (and in spite of my lack of experience and local knowledge) and showed me how to build and maintain a winning program.
His vision included hiring coaches who would be forward thinking and challenge each other. If you look across college football, you will see a part of his legacy in the coaches who he hired and mentored – coaches like Barry Alvarez, Bill Snyder, Dan McCarney, Bob, Mike and Mark Stoops and many more.
Even before the Hawkeyes started winning on the field, Coach Fry was beloved by the fans and trusted by his players. He had a charisma and leadership style that created a championship and winning program that continues today. In 20 seasons at Iowa, Coach Fry showed us all that you can succeed at the highest level by playing by the rules.”