By Patrick Vint on June 5, 2018 at 10:17 am
Brian Ray (Twitter @HawkeyeBRay)

After quite literally 40 years of effort, going back to the earliest days of Hayden Fry's tenure in Iowa City, they finally did it.

There is finally a Tigerhawk on the water tower outside Kinnick Stadium.

The water tower has been in its present location for...well, a long time, long enough to get mentioned in Hayden Fry retrospectives.  Hayden Fry tried to get a Tigerhawk pained on the tower in the early 1980s; despite being the most popular man in the state at that time, he couldn't get it done.

Painting the water tower has always been a cause célèbre of the Iowa message board class, going back as long as I've been writing about the program.  A 2008 post from some guy chronicling water towers notes that "attempts to get it painted black with a fluorescent gold Tiger Hawk logo on the side facing the stadium have apparently so far fallen on deaf ears."  In 2009, the issue came up for review, and was quickly shot down as too expensive.

University of Iowa officials have discussed painting the water tower near Kinnick Stadium but have no plans to make a decision in the immediate future.

A recent online petition, created by UI graduate Derek Yoder, urges the painting of the white water tower near Kinnick. The petition had more than 3,400 signatures Tuesday....

"Right now one of the key issues is paying for the project, especially given the current economic climate," Moore said. "Would this be seen as a necessity or not?"...

The tower is repainted for maintenance every 10 to 15 years, Moore said. It was last painted in 2006 at a cost of $370,000.

We later learned that the $370,000 price tag was used to scare away the petitioners.  Barta said this year that the Tigerhawk would cost less than a tenth of that.  He also said the "paintbrushes would have to move quick," and then it went up in about two hours.

So why, after three decades of open begging from Iowa fans, coaches and players, did this finally happen?  How did the myriad difficulties and miles of red tape suddenly vanish?  My guess -- and it's simply that -- is that Iowa Athletics is probably happy for easy PR wins at the moment, what with the stream of bad news coming out of the athletic department in recent years.  It's how you get a Tigerhawk at midfield.  It's how you get a Tigerhawk on the water tower.  And, as we will discuss later, it's how you get a Tigerhawk everywhere else you might have imagined.


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