Tributes have been pouring in for Hayden Fry in the wake of his passing yesterday; we've rounded up some of the best below.
Heaven is having a High Porch Picnic tonight. Coach Fry changed all of our lives forever. I love you Coach-RIP https://t.co/CQLfUTTrVC— Chuck Long (@ChuckLongIowa) December 18, 2019
For the entire Stoops family, our heartfelt condolences to Coach Frys family. A man that we all loved and revered. RIP Coach - our journey would have been much different without you. Thanks for the memories of a life time!!!!!! A if there ever was one! pic.twitter.com/MPhHcSXJQ4— Bob Stoops (@CoachBobStoops) December 18, 2019
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my coach and mentor, Hayden Fry. He had a profound effect on the Stoops family, helping Bob, Mike and me grow as young men and then influence us in our coaching careers. Heartfelt sympathies go out to Coach Frys family and friends.— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) December 18, 2019
Hayden Fry was an icon. He touched the hearts of all he coached. His impact on my family and me will always be cherished. We are all saddened by this news but forever grateful for his contributions to college football. I am so fortunate to have played & coached for him. pic.twitter.com/ccOLETm048— Mike Stoops (@Mike_Stoops41) December 18, 2019
This man gave me an opportunity to walk on and join the Hawkeye Family. He gave me a scholarship, my first coaching job, and the coaching DNA for life. I love you Coach Fry. #Hawkeyes #MyCoach pic.twitter.com/3niQ53q04Y— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) December 18, 2019
I was very fortunate to be part of changing the culture at the University of Iowa. Coach Fry said, said we would change things in the program.. We started with a passion, purpose and all the right people.. At Iowa https://t.co/1r9UBmfeMc— Andre Tippett (@AndreTippett) December 18, 2019
Cant help but think of Coach Hayden Fry on National Signing Day. Almost 24 years ago today I accepted his offer to be a Hawkeye, which changed my life forever. I am eternally grateful he took a chance on a small town kid from Alvord, Iowa. Rest In Peace, Coach. #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/bqliOqHQrp— LeVar Woods (@LeVarWoods) December 18, 2019
Amazing Coach w/great integrity! In my NJ living room, in front of my parents, he made a PROMISE to this NJ kid to allow me to play baseball & football at Iowa & kept his word! We trusted him & his word! He never waivered!— Danan Hughes (@dahughesguy83) December 18, 2019
Allowed me to achieve my dreams! Love u Coach, RIP! pic.twitter.com/XYUX6OTuqD
R.I.P to one of the greatest mentors I ever had. I love you coach! I know I speak for so many! You will be missed. Rest well. You did good... @HawkeyeFootball @LegacyHawks @HawksChronicles #iowafootball #hawkeyefootball #iowahawkeyes #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/y0IOvpXqq1— Quinn Early (@QuinnEarly) December 18, 2019
Today I lost my Coach. Passing at the age of 90, Hayden Fry changed my life. Much of what I have accomplished in life is because what he saw in me, that young kid from Madison Wisconsin. I keep his picture in my locker. I am so grateful he was my coach. Rest In Peace Coach. pic.twitter.com/PgYW7o9WJ8— Jay Norvell (@CoachJayNorvell) December 18, 2019
He gave me a chance to walk on at Iowa Football, he bestowed a nickname for me "Repeat" I love you coach Fry, thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime & for taking great care of this Island boy in Iowa City!! RIP Coach I will never 4get you! Prayfor his whole family! pic.twitter.com/j8J9cHdSnC— Eppy Epenesa (@EEpenesa) December 18, 2019
Coach Fry gave this skinny walk-on kicker a chance to play at Iowa, I am forever grateful for what he saw in me, and the values he instilled in me. Love you Coach, RIP.— Rob Houghtlin (@robhhawkeye7) December 18, 2019
The picture captures a cool moment in time...but the words he wrote on it mean the most.— Paul Burmeister (@PaulWBurmeister) December 18, 2019
RIP Coach Fry.
I love you right back. pic.twitter.com/hU0LA27Hqx
And Voice of the Hawkeyes Gary Dolphin:
A special Marine passed tonight. A tear from the Tiger Hawk. RIP Hayden. pic.twitter.com/fpx0vRii6B— Gary Dolphin (@GaryDolphin) December 18, 2019
And several more players and former coaches:
Some more quotes from former Hayden Fry players and assistants: pic.twitter.com/3T6b20My6d— Quinn Douglas (@Quinn_Douglas_) December 18, 2019
Even players who didn't play for Fry were moved by his impact on the game:
Authentic Football legends lead beyond the white lines of a football field. Their influence is seen and felt behind societys lines of scrimmage! Hayden Fry Intergrated the Southwest Conference when he signed SMUs Jerry Levias. I wore #23 as a pro as a result of his influence. pic.twitter.com/S9rpJcVcim— Spencer Tillman (@SpenceTillman) December 18, 2019
We remember Hayden for his impact at Iowa, but Iowa was only the final stop on his incredible journey in football and his other teams paid tribute to him as well:
RIP to Hayden Fry. He was the QB on the 1946 state championship team and coached the Bronchos from 1956-1958. He went on to win an SWC championship at SMU and three Big 10 titles at Iowa. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.— Odessa High Bronchos (@odessafootball) December 18, 2019
The game lost a legend today. Thoughts and prayers to the family of the beloved Coach Fry. pic.twitter.com/RXnUyGzstm— SMU FootbaII (@SMU_Football) December 18, 2019
Famous Iowans chimed in too, like Tom Arnold:
Hayden Fry changed my life. He changed everything. A crazy confident but magical Texan who strutted into Iowa City when we were at our lowest & said Im going to make you great. Lets have some fun! Hayden Fry made us long suffering Iowa Hawkeyes great & fun. RIP my friend #Iowa— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) December 18, 2019
And Zach Johnson:
Current Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon penned a beautiful tribute to Fry, too, noting that he might not even exist if not for Hayden luring Gordy Bohannon to Iowa City:
This man sold a dream to my dad to play at Iowa, ended up changing the tide of the football program, and gave the chance for my father to meet my mom at Iowa. Without him, us four Bohannon brothers may not be here today. Crazy to think about! Thank you coach for changing my fam!! https://t.co/xkAjhKLLUQ— Jordan Bohannon (@JordanBo_3) December 18, 2019
There were great photo tributes:
And great video tributes as well:
A great leader. A legendary coach. A better man.— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 18, 2019
You left a lasting legacy, not only at Iowa but across college football and beyond.
RIP Coach Hayden Fry pic.twitter.com/fKnapC6w4I
The perfect video, on this sad day, before you head to bed. pic.twitter.com/zm0CKA0Qdn— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) December 18, 2019
There have been a lot of excellent tributes written about Hayden Fry over the last 24 hours; one of my absolute favorites was penned by Scott Dochterman at The Athletic ($):
There never will be another Hayden Fry. Not in Iowa. Not in college football. Not anywhere.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) December 18, 2019
He integrated the Southwest Conference. He delivered Iowa from the FB wilderness. He broke the Michigan-OSU headlock. He designed the TigerHawk.
He's the king.https://t.co/gUiiYS891f
Don Doxsie wrote a good one for The Quad City Times as well:
Remember back in high school when you had to write an essay about the most unforgettable person you’d ever met?
Some of us probably had trouble deciding who to write about back then but now, after the better part of a half century kicking around sports journalism, it’s an easy choice.
Hayden Fry was easily the most unforgettable person I’ve come across through all those decades.
Mike Hlas nailed what was so special about Hayden for The Gazette:
His legend was built on winning, of course.
Without the three Big Ten championships and three Rose Bowl trips, without the consistent and colorful winning for most of his 20 years as the head football coach, the Hayden Fry story is just another footnote in University of Iowa sports history.
Instead, it was one of Iowa’s best all-time stories.
The whole thing almost seemed out of the movies. A down-in-the-dumps football program gets a coach no one in Iowa knew, and he enters like a west Texas whirlwind with a language and style totally alien to the locals.
In his third season, Pasadena. And away the Hawkeyes went, with their football image forever changed.
Hawk Central's Mark Emmert wrote a beautiful obituary for Fry at Hawk Central that's chock full of great quotes and anecdotes from his amazing life:
Fry was introduced as the Iowa football coach on Dec. 9, 1978, flashing a self-assured smile and making fans believe the swagger would return to a Hawkeye program starved for success.
Iowa endured 17 consecutive non-winning seasons before Fry’s arrival. He brought the Hawkeyes to three Rose Bowls. He also brought pizzazz to a Big Ten Conference known for stodgy offenses and stingy defenses.
“I looked at film when I first took the job, and what I saw was a bunch of teams that liked to run the ball,” Fry said. “Being an old quarterback, I knew that it’d take a while for Big Ten defenses to catch up to us.”
Hawk Central also re-upped an old story that explained origins of several of Hayden's favorite sayings, which is certainly worth revisiting today:
“High porch picnic.” A West Texas expression for having some fun.
“Covered the waterfall.” Preparation for the next game is now complete.
“Only thing I’ve got going for me are my day dreams.” Injuries are piling up, fans are grumpy and the media is second-guessing.
Chad Leistikow also wrote a great piece for Hawk Central about Fry and his incredible influence:
Fry's mind games translated into how Iowa moved the football, too.
Under Fry (who called the plays) and offensive coordinator Bill Snyder, Iowa brought an aggressive, pass-happy style to the black-and-blue Big Ten.
Three decades before RPOs took over college football, Fry’s Hawkeyes were cutting-edge innovators.
“It was a bomb here or a draw on third-and-15,” said Hartlieb, whose 3,738 passing yards in 1988 are far-and-away a school record. “He just knew you had to take chances sometimes and keep your opponent off kilter. Again, it’s that psychology of don’t stay between the rails, don’t be vanilla. That stuff rubbed off on us.
“Every single time we took the field, we felt we were going to win.”
And I know there are many many more Tweets and stories out there; if you see any, feel free to drop them in the comments.