Legendary Hawkeye Football Coach Hayden Fry Passes Away at 90

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Hayden Fry

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IOWA -- Legendary Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry has passed away. He was 90 years old.

The Fry family confirmed he died Tuesday following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Fry served as Iowa's head coach for 20 seasons from 1979 to 1998. He is regarded as the man who turned around the Hawkeye football program.

Iowa had not been to a bowl game since 1958 and hadn't posted a winning season in 17 seasons before Fry took over. He led Iowa to 14 bowl games during his tenure and earned a record of 143-89-6 overall.

Fry was born in Texas and coached at SMU and North Texas before his time at Iowa. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Other Hawkeye greats are sharing their thoughts on Fry. Kirk Ferentz acknowledged the large role Fry played in his coaching career.

"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," said Ferentz.

In addition to Ferentz, Bill Snyder, Barry Alavrez, Bob Stoops, Bret Bielema and Dan McCarney were among the 13 Fry assistants who became college head coaches.

Former Iowa quarterback Chuck Long, who Fry coached from 1981 to 1985, praised his abilities as a coach.

"I have to give him all the credit for getting my personal career launched among others. I speak for many of the Hawkeye football past players. He had a special way of making you feel good all the time even in the tough games and in the tough moments. For me it was after an interception. He had a way of getting you back up and confident. That feeling … not every coach has that ability and I’ve been around a bunch of them. Not every coach has that ability to make you feel confident and be positive even in the negative situations," said Long.

Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta recognized Fry's legacy with the program.

"Iowa football reached new heights under Hayden Fry, and has continued that success under Kirk Ferentz, one of the many outstanding coaches who served as a member of his staff. Hayden’s legacy not only lives on through Iowa football, but also through the coaches and players who had the privilege to be associated with his teams," said Barta.

Memorial services for Fry are pending and will be announced at a later date.

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