A Brief History of Iowa's Rivals' Commemorative Currency

By Patrick Vint on May 25, 2018 at 10:30 am
Scott Frost coinage
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BREAKING NEWS OUT OF NEBRASKA:

There's a Scott Frost Commemorative Coin available for purchase.

SCOTT FROST COIN

As our good friend, Twitter's Salt Creek and Stadium, found yesterday, this isn't exactly the first time Nebraska has minted currency for its new head coach.  They did one for Mike Riley, too.

There's also a Bill Callahan coin.

You can buy a Bo Pelini/Tom Osborne coin.  One side is heads.  The other is fails.

There is a whole series, commemorating such things as:

  • Ndomukong Suh and his zero conference championships;
  • The 50th seasons of the "Blackshirts" defense in 2013, a season in which the vaunted Blackshirts did this:
  • Frank Solich, who was summarily fired because the 1990s were over and now might come back because the 1990s are never actually over in Lincoln;
  • Legends and Leaders, a dark period in our conference history that only happened because we let Nebraska into the Big Ten;
  • The sellout streak, because of course.

While the market for commemorative coinage appears to be white hot in Nebraska, the Cornhuskers are hardly the first of Iowa's rivals to issue coins commemorating a coach or specific moment.  Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard minted Gene Chizik coins to commemorate the time when the longtime assistant was duped into taking a job in Ames.

GENE CHIZIK COIN

Chizik, of course, left Ames as soon as he could for Auburn, which is like the Ames of Alabama.  AlabAmesa, really.  One of these coins sold on an obscure auction website for $2 three years ago, so while the exchange rate isn't great, they are still in circulation.  Iowa State also issued a Greg McDermott coin in far smaller quantities, but at least those will get you a free hot dog at a Creighton game.

Surprisingly, Minnesota did not issue a commemorative coin upon hiring P.J. Fleck.  They likely melted down the coins previously created and used the material to pay Western Michigan for that Row the Boat thing

There is a Pat Fitzgerald coin, issued after his induction to the College Football Hall of Fame, and it's exactly what you would expect:

FITZCOIN

On the coin, Coach Fitz is wearing his trademark four-sizes-too-big windbreaker and holding up one finger, signifying the number of Rose Bowls he was kept out of due to injury against Iowa.

You would think that commemorative coins would be right in the wheelhouse of programs like Ohio State and Michigan, what with their crotchety front-runner fanbases so steeped in tradition, but alas, I could not find Jim Harbaugh or Urban Meyer coinage.  There's a Bo Schembechler coin, but that's cool, because Bo was a badass.  Ohio State minted a commemorative coin when Jim Tressel won the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award:

TRESSEL COIN

And that's kind of weird, but it explains why Ohio State fans are always so irate over coach of the year awards.

Michigan State was down when Mark Dantonio was hired, and there wasn't much demand for a coin to commemorate the occasion, but Sparty is nothing if not practical.  Rather than give out commemorative currency, Dantonio hands out something of real value to those who need it:

DANTONIO GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD

 

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