Hawkeye Nation Mourns Loss of 1957 Rose Bowl Champion Frank Rigney

B.Senior Analyst IJuly 1, 2010

Former Iowa Hawkeye offensive lineman Frank Rigney died Tuesday morning at the age of 74, two days after suffering a massive heart attack. 

Rigney had battled health problems for years and was recovering from a recent surgery to remove bone spurs.

The former Iowa tackle was a member of the Hawkeyes' 1957 Rose Bowl Championship team and played in the 1958 Senior Bowl.  He played at Iowa along side CFL All-Star Kenny Ploen, Outland Trophy winner and Detroit Lions lineman Alex Karras, former Detroit Lion tight end Jim Gibbons, and former Iowa head football coach Bob Commings (1974-1978). 

Rigney was picked in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles but opted instead to follow his friend and Iowa teammate Ploen to Canada to play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

"He was just one hell of an athlete," Ploen said of Rigney.

The three-time CFL All-Star won four Grey Cups in ten years with Winnipeg and was named the Western Division Most Outstanding Lineman in 1960 and 1961. 

In 1984, Rigney was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. According to a few online sources, he only missed five games in his entire football career.

Following his football career, Rigney became a commentator for football broadcasts and the Winter Olympics for CTV.


Picture courtesy of Canadian Football Hall of Fame .