Levi Mitchell
Levi Mitchell was the first Iowa running back to carry the ball over 200 times in a season. At the end of his career, he became Iowa's all-time rushing leader with 1,927 yards in three seasons.

The up-and-down Hawkeyes ended the season fifth in the Big Ten, but the real football news was the feud between Nagel and Evashevski.

From the beginning of December until nearly the end of May, the state’s newspapers would be full of the conflicts between the two men. An assistant coach was fired, some players walked off the team, an alumnus acted improperly in recruiting an athlete, an investigation of athletic department expense accounts revealed improprieties, and allegations as to who was at fault multiplied. In the midst of public sniping between the coach and the athletic director, almost everyone took sides.

In the end, the athletic board announced that both Evy and Nagel would complete their work for the university on June 30, but then the board reversed itself, rehiring Nagel on May 22.

“Ray Nagel being fired on Tuesday, then rehired on Friday, may rank as the most startling reversal since the discovery of the boomerang,” wrote columnist Maury White in the Des Moines Register.

“It was shocking, it was messy, but it was also heartening as a stubborn, gutty guy—who has never approached the folk hero status that Forest Evashevski once enjoyed in this state—suddenly came up with hordes of vocal friends.

“I think the board in control of athletics is to be commended for having the courage to reverse the first decision. It’s never easy to publicly eat crow in such a turnabout….”

As part of the Big Ten’s 75th anniversary celebration, the Skywriters named their all-time conference football team. They identified four Hawkeyes—tackles Duke Slater and Alex Karras, guard Calvin Jones, and halfback Nile Kinnick—to take their place on the 22-man squad.

December 1
In a surprise announcement at the annual team banquet, Ray Nagel told a crowd of 500, “I think the sands of time have run out on my coaching career at Iowa. I will no longer be a part of that program. I will not ask for an extension of my contract.”

Next into Iowa’s coaching lineup would come Francis X. Lauterbur.

Copyright 2009

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Gridiron Glory - 100 + Years of Iowa Hawkeye Football