Iowa Alumni Magazine | December 2006 | Features

Recalling Kinnick

By Our Readers

Your feature on Kinnick Stadium (IAM, October 2006, p. 18) brought back some memories. I attended Iowa from 1937 to 1940, during Nile Kinnick's time as a Hawkeye, and I have many memories of him leading our team to victory. As you can see from my enclosed photographs of the Iowa vs. Notre Dame game in 1939, the stadium looked quite different then.

I am originally from Cherokee, and, though I now live in California, I was happy to return to Iowa for my 60-year class reunion in 2000.
Paul Popma, 40BSC
Tustin, California

Kinnick Stadium
Kinnick Stadium
Kinnick Stadium
In scenes from the 1939 Iowa vs. Notre Dame game, Fighting Irish coach Elmer Layden and his aides cross the field to congratulate victorious Iowa coach Eddie Anderson; the Highlanders perform their traditional scottish music; the antiquated scoreboard at Kinnick Stadium shows the Hawks' 7-6 victory.

Back in the 1960s, when I was a student at Iowa, I sold pennants at the home football games for two seasons. I had to lug around a huge board with all kinds of pins and other Hawkeye paraphernalia on it. On the morning of the 1967 Homecoming Saturday, when I showed up at the stadium, Ken Weller [66BA, 68BS], who managed the Hawkeye Enterprises franchise, asked me how many dozen gold mums with black trim I wanted to take out to sell.

"What do you mean, dozens?" I remember saying to him in astonishment. "Ken, nobody in his right mind is going to pay $1.50 for one of those gaudy looking flowers!"

Ken insisted that the mums would move quickly and strongly advised me to take at least a dozen.


In order to appease Ken's ruffled feathers, I took six.

"You'd better take at least a dozen," he said.

"Ken, I'm going to feel and look absolutely ridiculous standing out there holding a bunch of flowers!" I replied. "You may as well ask me to wear a dress! Please, just give me six and let it go at that."         

My chosen spot was way down at the northern corner of the stadium, and it took me a good 15 or 20 minutes to lug all the merchandise down there. I was beginning to wonder if there were some way to disguise the mums when a man approached and asked "Hey, fella, how much are those mums going for?"

"Um," I replied with slight embarrassment, "a dollar and a half a piece, sir."

"I'll take 'em all," he said, handing over a ten dollar bill and telling me to keep the change.

After less than five minutes, I had not only sold out but made a dollar tip! I had to get back to the Hawkeye Enterprises concession and get more of these little moneymakers! My next customer was a kid who couldn't have been more than 15 years old and wanted to know how much the various items were on the board. I suddenly came up with a brilliant idea.

I told him that if he watched my board for about ten minutes, I'd give him a good price on anything he wanted and throw in a free Iowa pennant.

"I don't have any more mums," Ken said when I got back to the office and told him about the sale. "They're all gone. They went out with the other sales people. I warned you-you can't say that I didn't."

I walked most of the way back to the stadium in a glum mood. As I got closer to the corner, my mood changed to panic. The kid wasn't anywhere to be seen. He was gone-and so was a good portion of stuff on the board. The cost of all the missing items would have to come out of my own pocket. Some Homecoming!
Joel D. Dressler, 70BA
Washington, DC