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The Iowa Hawkeyes football team is the football team at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. The team is currently coached by Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes have competed in the Big Ten Conference since 1900, and are currently a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) member of the NCAA. Since 2011, Iowa has competed in the Big Ten's Legends Division. The Hawkeyes play their home games at Kinnick Stadium, with a capacity of 70,585.
Football was first played as a club sport at Iowa in 1872, with intramural games against other colleges played as early as 1882, but it was not until 1889 that the University of Iowa first officially recognized a varsity football team. In 1899, Iowa completed its first undefeated football season, which led to an invitation to join the Western Conference, now known as the Big Ten Conference, the following year. In 1900, the Hawkeyes secured another undefeated season and won a share of the Western Conference title in their first year in the league. In 1907 Iowa helped form the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association. They participated in football in the league, while still holding membership in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa would tie with Nebraska in 1907 for the league championship. They would leave the conference after the 1910 football season.
Iowa claimed consecutive Big Ten titles in 1921 and 1922. The Hawkeyes won 20 straight games in the early 1920s under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Howard Jones. Jones soon left Iowa and established a powerhouse at Southern California, and the Hawkeyes were abysmal for most of the 1930s. As a result, little was expected of Iowa’s 1939 team, led by new coach Eddie Anderson. Nicknamed the “Ironmen”, the 1939 Hawkeyes scored several upset victories and vaulted into the national rankings. Though Iowa fell a game short of the Big Ten title, team MVP Nile Kinnick won almost every major national award, including the 1939 Heisman Trophy.
Forest Evashevski was hired as Iowa’s head coach in 1952. He lured Calvin Jones to Iowa, where Jones became the first Hawkeye – and the first African-American – to win the Outland Trophy in 1955. From 1956 to 1960, Evashevski led Iowa to four finishes in the top five of the national rankings, three Big Ten Conference titles, two Rose Bowl victories, and the 1958 FWAA national championship. After the 1960 season, Evashevski left coaching to become Iowa’s athletic director. The result was nineteen consecutive non-winning seasons for the Hawkeyes from 1962 to 1980.
Four head coaches after Evashevski were hired and left without success. Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry was hired after the 1978 season to try to reverse Iowa’s fortunes. After decades of losing, Fry revived the Iowa program. In 20 years at Iowa, he led the Hawks to 14 bowl games, three Big Ten titles, and three Rose Bowl appearances. Fry retired in 1998, turning the program over to former assistant Kirk Ferentz. Ferentz led Iowa to three consecutive top ten finishes from 2002 to 2004 and two Big Ten titles. The Hawkeyes have played in eight bowl games in the past nine seasons and in 22 bowl games over the last 29 seasons. Iowa has cracked the top 25 at the end of the season five times during the Kirk Ferentz era - No. 8 in 2002–04, No. 20 in 2008, and No. 7 in 2009. Iowa began its 122nd season of football, and its 111th season in the Big Ten, in 2010. Among the legends that Fry left behind is the iconic pink visitors locker room, as well as a statement he made the day he started as Iowa Head Coach that he would take the team to a bowl game within four years, or he would step down. He would not only succeed in his boast, by sending Iowa to the 1982 Rose Bowl, he would do it in three years, coming in one year under his statement.