PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Eddie AndersonRecord: 6-1-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

August

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

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University Archives
1939 Iowa Football Squad

In "An Open Letter to Hawkeye Football Fans," the University of Iowa Bulletin warned graduates: "Don't go wild over Iowa football this fall. Don't expect Dr. Anderson, smart and resourceful as he is, to effect any miraculous cures for Iowa's football ailments in one year, although he will make good progress....

"The important thing is that the material must run deep. There's no escaping that fact. The iron man days, with an occasional isolated exception, are over. Maybe they played and won with 15 good men in 1921—but they don't in 1939.

"...For this year at least, there simply are not enough really good men to justify high-scoring optimism. Now next year, or the year after, this material shortage may be overcome.

"But always, on the other hand, is the chance for surprises. Athletes may rise to the occasion. Those indefinables which make a team 'click' may be present. Iowa may get some football luck for a change. But don't pitch your hopes too high; it is those swift falls which are disillusioning.

"Alumni and other Iowa followers have a marvelous chance to come through this fall and thereby to shake off their reputation for 'making it tough for coaches.' It's really very simple. Just use your good sense, school your mind in some of the conservative thoughts you have been reading in this story, and keep your head out of the clouds and your feet solidly planted on the ground.

"Let's have a vast company of Alumni With The Sensible Attitude Toward Iowa's 1939 Football."

A TEAM OF DESTINY AND ONE GLORIOUS YEAR

For less than $21, football enthusiasts could see every Iowa game in 1939, the golden year in Hawkeye sports history. Though Iowa would fail to win the conference championship, fans barely noticed. The Iowa Hawkeyes seemed indomitable. (Read More)

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Irl TubbsRecord: 1-6-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

October 15

In the midst of another dismal year for Iowa football, the Hawkeyes won their first conference game in three years, defeating Chicago 27-14.

November 29

Dr. Edward Anderson, a native Iowan who played high school football in Mason City and went on to polish his game under Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame, was approved as Iowa's new football coach.

Seventeen years earlier, Anderson had played on the Notre Dame team whose string of 20 consecutive victories was snapped by the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. After only one defeat in three years of Notre Dame football, Anderson went on to coach, later playing Sunday professional football in Chicago and earning his medical degree.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Irl TubbsRecord: 1-7-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

March 1

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University Archives
1937 Iowa Football Squad

Irl Tubbs, head coach at the University of Miami in Florida, began his duties as the Hawkeyes' head coach, replacing Ossie Solem who had moved on to Syracuse University. Described as a likeable man and a thorough teacher, Tubbs was also known as a "clever inventor of football equipment, including elastic insert in football pants, inner valve type of balls, special cleats, [and] seamless ball." During the two seasons he coached at Iowa, his teams tallied two wins, 13 losses, and one tie.

1937

Homer Harris was elected captain of the Hawkeyes, becoming the first black to lead a major college football team.

September 10

For the sixth consecutive year, Iowa alumni in all of the state's 99 counties marked the opening football practice with dinners and a special program. Radio stations around Iowa broadcast messages from the coaches and selected members of the squad. The alumni bulletin alerted fans that "this broadcast will be on the air from 8:45 to 9 o'clock and those 15 minutes will be packed with information of interest to every football enthusiast."

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Ossie SolemRecord: 3-4-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

August

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University Archives
1936 Iowa Football Squad

A report in the University of Iowa News Bulletin informed alumni that old Iowa Field, abandoned as a football gridiron in 1929, "now becomes a part of the open campus along the river front." Home of Iowa track meets until 1935, the site was last used by the 1936 baseball team.

October 17

Nearly 40,000 spectators watched the stalemate of Iowa's 25th Homecoming game, this one versus Illinois. Final score: 0-0.

While the action on the field yielded a disappointing result, much of the activity surrounding the game added to the Homecoming festivities. Many of the fans wore badges "to catch more of the spirit and to contribute to the success of the Iowa Homecoming celebrations."

A notice in the alumni newsletter advised graduates that "Professor R.A. Kuever of the College of Pharmacy, who originated the idea of selling badges for Homecoming in 1924, is in charge of their sale and will mail badges postpaid for ten cents apiece to anyone sending him a request for them."

Though the game itself was scoreless, alumni who returned for Homecoming must have noticed that Iowa's band members were wearing new uniforms: "scarlet coats, caps with black chin straps, black trousers with trimmings of gold braid—the latest thing in band uniforms this fall...."

Homecomers in 1936 also saw a 40-piece drum and bugle corps arrayed in Scottish uniforms. Organized by the commandant of the military department, the purpose of the group was "to co-operate with the band in entertaining Homecomers at the game."

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Ossie SolemRecord: 4-2-2 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University Archives
1935 Iowa Football Squad

Coach Solem, who had received assurances from Big Ten Commissioner Griffith that it was all right to allow athletes to sign notes for their tuition, told his players to go home when university officials reneged on the plan. Only a last-minute door-to-door effort by members of the athletic board raised enough money to keep the team in school.

"It was an experience," Solem recalled later. "I've never seen such double-crossing."

October 26

The Hawkeyes traveled to Illinois, where they soundly defeated their conference opposition 19-0, but the game wasn't all positive for the Iowa team.

November 9

To defuse the rabid enthusiasm of fans prior to Iowa's Homecoming game in 1935, the governors of Iowa and Minnesota agreed to add some levity to the contest. The victor would take home Floyd of Rosedale, brother of the famous Blue Boy in the movie State Fair. Though Iowa lost the game 13-6 and the prize Iowa hog headed north, a longstanding football rivalry would soon be cast in bronze and an autumn tradition begun—the battle for Floyd.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Ossie SolemRecord: 2-5-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

FANCY FOOTWORK

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University Archives
1934 Iowa Football Squad

Halfback Oze "Ozzie" Simmons gave Hawkeye fans something to cheer about in a year when the team won only two contests. In one of those, a 20-7 victory over Northwestern, Simmons rushed for 304 yards and earned the nickname "the Ebony Eel."

Sports fans compared Simmons to "Red" Grange, but "this slithery, rubbery, oozy flyer with his gyrating balance, cool, masterful mental poise, sleek, smooth, fluid weaving hips and the most perfect open-field pivot probably in the game today, can make his legs talk more languages than even Grange's could when he was a sophomore."

Simmons had a style all his own, "a dead stop bluff followed by a rapid hip bluff and flirt, topped off with a few mincing steps or a sideways leap, and a final streak to the goal line."

In spite of repeated losses on the field, fans were coming back to the stadium, with 53,000 Homecomers present to watch Minnesota whip Iowa 48-12 on October 28. So many Iowa fans were having a good time that officials expressed concern about the "uncurbed drinking" that was fueling the merrymaking. Some 300 ushers were charged with controlling the situation.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Ossie SolemRecord: 5-3-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

Summer

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University Archives
1933 Iowa Football Squad

A report in the University of Iowa News Bulletin alerted alumni that ticket prices were being reduced by the Board in Control of Athletics. "Federal amusement tax included, reserved seats for each of the two major home games will be $1.50. The general admission price of $1.00 will be charged for the Bradley Tech game.... The year book admitting the holder to every home football and basketball game will sell for $5.00."

In the same story, it was announced that "the Iowa State contest of Nov. 4...marks the renewal of football relations after a 13-year lapse." Iowa would win that game. Final score: 27-7.

1933

Even the media were defending Iowa after a year when more commotion erupted about athletes' eligibility—this time on the Hawkeye basketball team. Writing for the Minneapolis Journal, sportswriter-columnist Dick Cullum asserted that "Iowa is not getting a fair break! Either the conference has got into the habit of persecuting the Hawkeyes of Hawkeye officials are too timid or contrite.

"In any event, Iowa is getting much the worse of it for, in spite of the fact that it is as clean in its athletic administration as the average in the league and always was less defiant on the rules than some of the worst offenders, it has been the butt of more than its share of disciplinary action."

Coach Solem filed his own charges about the way things were run at Iowa. "There is discrimination used in the employment of students," he claimed. "Athletes cannot find jobs!"

Apparently the academic community was bending over backwards not to give athletes an unfair advantage—only the compensation for past mistakes was too extreme. The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools investigated Solem's charges and found that athletes as a group were indeed being discriminated against in Iowa City.

In spite of the hubbub surrounding athletics, the Hawkeyes ended the season in the upper division of the Big Ten—for the first time in four years.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Ossie SolemRecord: 1-7-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

March 12

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University Archives
1932 Iowa Football Squad

Oscar Martin Solem signed a three-year contract to coach Iowa football. Described as big and genial, "Ossie" Solem was a Minnesota graduate who had been a successful coach and athletic director at Drake for 11 years.

Years after his Iowa career was over, Solem remembered its beginnings: "I don't know of anyone who stepped into a more unfortunate situation. I got my first paycheck and it was just one half a check. So I said, 'Gee, what's this all about?" and they said, 'Well you know the athletic fund is exhausted, hasn't been able to meet expenses in over a year.' It was a pretty discouraging thing, I'll tell you."

1932

For the third straight year, Iowa failed to defeat a Big Ten opponent, but mid-season something different did happen. The Hawkeyes played their first night game ever against George Washington University in Washington, D.C., losing 21-6.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Burt IngwernsenRecord: 1-6-1 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University Archives
1931 Iowa Football Squad

Iowa was shut out in seven of eight games, scoring only seven points during the entire season. The Hawkeyes' one touchdown came against George Washington University. According to Chuck Bright, "contemporary writers called the Hawkeyes in 1931 'the worst team Iowa has ever produced, physically and psychologically.'"

Following the disastrous regular season, one more obligation awaited the Iowa team. Iowa traveled to Chicago to play Amos Alonzo Stagg's Maroons in what the Hawkeye called "a prelim of the 'Tournament of Losers,' a Big Ten charity affair. Unemployment relief benefited $15,000 by the tournament."

December 10

Burt Ingwersen resigned as head coach.

PHOTO CREDIT: University Archives

Coach: Burt IngwernsenRecord: 4-4-0 Audio: Audio Video: Video

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University Archives
1930 Iowa Football Squad

When the two men appointed as captains of the team turned out to be ineligible at the beginning of the season, Coach Ingwersen resorted to the "boss-a-week plan, naming a pilot directly before each contest.

"At the end of the season, at the annual banquet given by President and Mrs. Walter A. Jessup, the letter winners selected Grover Higdon as honorary pilot for the 1930 season."

Though Iowa had been reinstated in the conference, it was difficult to schedule any Big Ten games, since most schools had already filled out their program. Iowa played only one conference game in 1930, losing to Purdue by a score of 20-0.

The bottom line showed losses, too. Football income fell from more than $200,000 in 1929 to only $42,000 in 1930.