IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - One of the most important figures in University of Iowa athletics history, as well as college football overall, has passed away.
Hayden Fry, who was the head coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team from 1979 to 1998, has died. He was 90 years old.
Fry had health issues at various stages of his life, including prostate cancer in the late 1990s, for which he successfully received treatment. His family said that he passed away after a renewed long battle with cancer.
"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's family said, in a statement.
Fry amassed a record of 143–89–6 overall while coaching at Iowa, including a 96–61–5 record in the Big Ten conference. The Hawkeyes won three conference titles in 1981, 1985, and 1990.
"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," Gary Barta, athletics director for the University of Iowa, said, in a statement.
Fry has a legendary coaching tree, with 13 previous coaches of his having achieved the role of Division 1A head coach in collegiate football. Current Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz was a former assistant under Fry in the 1980s.
“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," Ferentz said, in a statement.
Fry previously coached at Southern Methodist University and North Texas State prior to arriving at the University of Iowa in 1979.
Fry was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Memorial services will be announced at a later date.
Read the full statement from the Fry family below:
"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."