Hawkeyes remember coaching legend - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hawkeyes remember coaching legend

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by Brady Smith

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - As the Hawkeyes continue their record run this season, they're mourning the loss of a legend in Iowa coaching. Forest Evashevski died Friday at his Michigan home.

Evashevski led the Hawkeyes to two Rose Bowl victories and a national championship in 1958. "Evy" was one of several coaches honored at kKnnick Stadium back in 2006. The legendary coach was hired in 1952, when the Hawkeye football program was at the bottom of the Big Ten. But in four years time, his team won the Rose Bowl game. Two years later, they returned to California to play in the Rose Bowl again.

That team was named National Champion by the Football Writers of America. In his eight years at Iowa, he won three Big Ten championships. We spoke with former players and the former UI sports information director, who worked with Evy. They say he was an inspiration both on and off the field.

"He's still my idol," said former player Barron Bremner. He says Coach Evashevski was a man respected by fans and players alike. "They respected him for being a blocking back at Michigan, and for being All-American himself."

Bremner says Evy was focused, and demanded hard work from his players. He remembers Evy expressing disgust during one practice, yelling at the team and coaches to get off the field. "We were looking around like, you know, 'what are we going to do?' and he turned around and went inside, and the coaches went inside, and we had a pretty good practice after that on our own."

Evy had a reputation for being tough and demanding, but also considerate. "He was very creative, and he was a powerful motivator," said George Wine, former sports information director.

Wine says Evy's time as head coach was what many consider to be one of the most exciting times in Hawkeye football history.

"1956 to 1958; it was three years, and his teams won 24 games and lost only three."

Wine says Evy was also an innovator, as one of the first Big Ten coaches to recruit African-American players.

"We were as good as any program in the country, and he was as good as any coach in the country."

Evy led his 1958 team to a Big Ten championship title, and national championship and Rose Bowl victories. Ending a long dry spell for the Hawkeye football program would become part of his legacy.

Along with Coach Hayden Fry, Evy is credited with shaping Iowa football into what it is today.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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