University of Iowa

1979 -  Hawkeyes
(Authentic Reproduction)





Odessa, Texas' Hayden Fry had been an All State QB that led his high school team to the state championship, starred at Baylor, served in the Marine Corps as a captain, and worked under SWC legends John Bridgers at Baylor and Frank Broyles at Arkansas. Fry was the head coach at both SMU and North Texas State, best known for integrating the SWC by recruiting Jerry Levias at SMU and rebuilding two moribund football programs. Without a winning season in seventeen years, Iowa needed rebuilding! JC transfer Keith Chapelle (twenty-two receptions for 340 yards) was a find at WR, teaming with Brad Reid to snare passes from QB Phil Suess. The offensive improvement was immediate with the team rolling up 3799 total yards and 230 points. RB Dennis Mosley became the school's first 1000-yard rusher with 1267 yards running behind All Conference center Jay Hilgenberg. The defense also improved with DT Mark Bortz and LB's Todd Simonsen and Levin Weiss leading the way. Punter Reggie Roby was an immediate freshman sensation. Fry's first team produced a 5-6 record and lots of hope for the future. Emulating the success of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers, Fry adopted the jersey and helmet design of the multiple-time Super Bowl champions. He returned to the black helmet, added a Green Bay gold one-inch center stripe, and put a distinctive logo on both sides of the head gear. The abstract Iowa “Tiger hawk” design, in Green Bay gold, immediately became associated with Iowa athletics and has become an everlasting symbol of Iowa football and the school’s overall athletic program and its excellence. Fry “finished” the helmet with a black face mask and white three-inch block style numerals placed in the rear.


There was a bit of a slump to 4-7 in 1980, in part due to ten players lost to surgery, but Fry was stockpiling talent. Wideout Keith Chapelle broke a number of Iowa receiving records with an offense tipped towards the run, a very "un-Fry-like" trend. With second-team All American RB Dennis Mosley running behind big O-linemen like John Alt who was switched to OT from TE and center Jay Hilgenberg who graduated to the Chicago Bears and was a key in their great lines from 1981 to '91 and then finished his pro career with the Browns and Saints, running the ball was a good strategy. DE Andre Tippett was a terror making All Big Ten with twenty sacks and DT Mark Bortz provided good run support. Tippett also mirrored the change in Iowa recruiting as Fry went all the way to Newark, N.J. for him and began to seek national high school talent for the Hawkeyes. These athletes provided the foundation for a Renaissance in Iowa football that would lead to regular bowl appearances beginning in 1981 and the Big Ten Championship in 1985, with a Rose Bowl visit. Of those early stars, Bortz was switched to offense and joined Hilgenberg on the Bears line, playing there from 1983 through '94 and John Alt became a first-round choice of the Chiefs, anchoring their offensive line at OT for thirteen years. Tippett had an All Pro career with the Patriots, and among Fry’s early stars, Bob and Mike Stoops would play with distinction, both brothers named as All Big Ten defensive backs and both going on to coaching success on the collegiate level. Mike is currently the head coach at Arizona while Bob has achieved tremendous success as Oklahoma’s mentor. Punter Roby broke a thirty-two year old NCAA record in his junior season of 1981, averaging 49.8 yards-per-punt and was named as a consensus All American. He achieved similar success in the pro ranks for Miami, Washington, and Tampa Bay.


 Fry would remain at Iowa, mentoring many players and assistant coaches to successful head coaching positions, including present Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and the Stoops brothers at Oklahoma and Arizona. He retired in 1998 with a terrific 143-89-6 record as Iowa remains a power and in the national picture every season.

If interested in any of these IOWA helmets please click on the photos below.