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Legendary Iowa Football Coach Hayden Fry Dies at Age 90

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

15 Nov 1997: Head coach Hayden Fry of the University of Iowa during the Hawkeyes 15-14 loss to Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry died from cancer Tuesday at the age of 90, the school announced.

His family provided a statement:

"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."

Fry spent 37 years as a Division 1 head coach, including 20 seasons at Iowa, 11 at SMU and six at North Texas.

The Texas native had 230 wins during his career, which ranks 13th in NCAA history.

He is best known for his time with the Hawkeyes, taking over in 1979 before turning the squad into a Big Ten power. He led Iowa to the Rose Bowl three different times and was named the conference's Coach of the Year after three seasons.

Fry was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

"Hayden Fry is a college football icon and an Iowa legend," current Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "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 has been a great mentor and a true friend," Ferentz added. "I am forever grateful to him."

Fry is survived by four sons and a daughter.