Monday, February 23, 2009
Iowa's Mount Rushmore
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten Mount Rushmore series concludes today with Iowa, Indiana and Illinois (reverse alphabetical order, remember). Iowa is up first.
Unlike other long-standing Big Ten members, Iowa has some strong candidates from both the distant past and recent memory. There's at least one slam-dunk choice on my list, though I'm sure Hawkeye Nation will have some opinions of its own to share. That's what makes it fun.
Iowa also produced one of the more controversial candidates for selection, former head coach and athletic director Forest Evashevski, who didn't make the final cut.
Here's Iowa's rundown.
Others considered for Iowa's Rushmore included: Evashevski, Alex Karras, Tim Dwight, Bump Elliott, Calvin Jones, Randy Duncan, Kirk Ferentz and Duke Slater.
- Nile Kinnick -- His name is on the stadium, and no figure means more to Iowa football. Kinnick is undoubtedly the greatest Iowa football player of all-time, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1939 after a dominant performance running, throwing and punting the football. He was an All-American both on and off the football field, and his moving Heisman acceptance speech and wartime death added to his legend.
- Hayden Fry -- Fry not only resurrected a sputtering Iowa program, but he changed the culture around the team. From the pink visitors' locker room to the Pittsburgh Steeler-like uniforms to the way Iowa players entered the field, Fry shaped the Hawkeyes program into a winner again. He coached Iowa to three Big Ten championships, three Rose Bowl appearances and 14 bowl games. The College Football Hall of Famer went 143-89-6 at the school and mentored numerous assistants who went on to lead other programs.
- Chuck Long -- Long rewrote the record books at Iowa and remains one of the program's most beloved players. A four-year starter at quarterback, Long led Iowa to a 35-13-1 record and four bowl appearances (he actually played in five bowls total). In 1985, he won the Maxwell Award and Big Ten Player of the Year honors, and was the runner-up to Bo Jackson for the Heisman Trophy. The College Football Hall of Fame selection was the first Big Ten player to eclipse 10,000 passing yards.
- Cal Jones -- One of only two Iowa players to have his number retired, Jones dominated the line of scrimmage in his three seasons as a Hawkeye. He was the first black player to earn the Outland Trophy in 1955 and won first-team All-Big Ten honors in all three seasons he played. Jones, who died in a plane crash in 1956, is one of only two two-time consensus All-Americans at Iowa and a College Football Hall of Fame selection.