Iowa Alumni Magazine | February 2009 | Features

High Porch Picnic

By Shelbi Thomas
Do you think you know pink? Hawkeye fans get an insider's look at the Fry era.

Iowa's pink locker room for visiting teams One of the biggest myths in Hawkeye football history has been busted.

Legend has it that former coach Hayden Fry ordered the visitors' locker room at Kinnick Stadium painted pink to pacify the opposing team. At a UIAA Lifelong Learning event this past fall, former Iowa sports information director George Wine revealed otherwise.

Fry's close friend told audiences at "Black and Gold Memories: An Evening with George Wine" that the color was actually a fluke: the locker room urgently needed painting, and pink was the only color that facilities management had available at the time. "Hayden Fry had a lot of fun with [the myth] over the years," says Wine. "The more visiting coaches worried about the color, the more it played into his hands psychologically."

The tale of the pink locker room was one of many behind-the-scenes stories that Wine, 56BA, shared about the Fry era with more than 60 people packed into the Presidential Suite in Kinnick Stadium. Wine says that while Hawkeye fans typically remember Fry for turning Iowa football into a national powerhouse, his most impressive legacy is the number of college football head coaches whose careers he helped launch, including Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and Oklahoma's Bobby Stoops, 83BBA.

photo of the book High Porch Picnic

Wine took questions from the crowd at the event and spoke candidly about the four football coaches he worked with in his 28 years at Iowa. At the end of his presentation, Wine signed and sold out of copies of his books, Black & Gold Memories: The Hawkeyes of the 20th Century and Hayden Fry: High Porch Picnic.

More Lifelong Learning events—free to UIAA members—are already planned for 2009. These programs include visiting assistant sociology professor Christine Whelan's "A Modern Couple's Guide to Making It Work" in Iowa City in February; a career development workshop in April in Kansas City with Steve Langerud, assistant dean for career serves in the UI College of Law; and a lecture at Lake Okoboji in July in conjunction with sculptor David Roger;'s "Big Bugs" exhibit.