Flashback to 1980
Hayden Fry was in his second year as head football coach, Lute Olsen had coached the basketball team for seven seasons and Dan Gable was leading the Hawk wrestlers to their third straight national championship in 1980.
Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter to become the 40th president of the United States and Mount St. Helens erupted in Montana, with ash falling like snow on Montana towns.
Home computers were in their infancy, but there were people that predicted in the year 2000, nearly every home would have a computer.
Some of the top songs in 1980 were “Call Me” by Blondie, “Another Brick on the Wall” by Pink Floyd and Olivia Newton-John’s “Magic.”
The top TV shows were “Dallas,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “60 Minutes.”
“The Empire Strikes Back” was one of the top movies in 1980.
“Airplane,” “The Blues Brothers” and “Caddyshack” were also big movies that year.
Alfred Hitchcock, Jesse Owens and Steve McQueen passed away in 1980. I’ll never forget the Monday night football game when Howard Cosell announced John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York.
The average income in 1980 was $19,500, the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.19 and a stamp went for 15 cents.
You could buy a pound of ground beef for $1.39 an a new Pontiac Firebird was $5,992.
1980 was the first year Ted Turner started CNN.
Can you believe it was 34 years ago that the United States beat the Russians in hockey and then beat Finland to win the gold medal? I’ve seen the movie “Miracle” about the 1980 team staring Kurt Russell and still get excited about the victory.
Other sports winners included the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the LA Rams 31-19 in the Super Bowl. The Steelers were the first team to win four Super Bowls. Terry Bradshaw was the MVP, completing 14-21 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 to win the NBA title.
Magic Johnson, in his rookie season for the Lakers, started at center replacing an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Magic scored 42 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out seven assists in game six. He was named MVP of the series.
The Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series ever beating the Kansas City Royals four games to two. Mike Schmidt was named the MVP.
The Georgia Bulldogs, led by freshman sensation Herschel Walker, won the national championship in football.
George Rogers, running back from South Carolina, won the Heisman trophy.
The Louisville Cardinals won the NCAA basketball championship.
Iowa made it to the Final Four and lost to the Cardinals, 80-72, in the semifinals.
There were 48 teams in the tournament that year.
Back in Iowa City on July 15, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the new Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The new 15,500-seat basketball arena would replace the Iowa Fieldhouse, which opened in 1927.
The Hawkeye football team was coming off a 5-6 season in Hayden’s first year.
On offense, Phil Suess was back at quarterback, with Jeff Brown and Dwayne Williams the top running backs.
The offensive line included All-Big Ten center Jay Hilgenberg, Bruce Kittle, Matt Petrzella and Dave Mayham.
Mike Hufford and Lon Olejniczak were the tight ends.
Keith Chappelle, Doug Dunham and Ivory Webb would be the top receivers.
The defense was led by future All-American Andre Tippett at defensive end.
Other defensive lineman included Brad Webb, tackles John Hardy and Mark Bortz, plus nose guard Pat Dean.
Linebackers included Mel Cole and James Erb, while the defensive backs had Bobby Stoops, twins Kent and Kevin Ellis, Lou King and Tracey Crocker.
The punter was sophomore Reggie Roby, who averaged 43.5 yards per punt as a freshman, second in the Big Ten.
Iowa traveled to Indiana for its opener. The Hawks had lost six of the last seven games with the Hoosiers and were seven-point underdogs.
Iowa was led by Jeff Brown, a 5-10, 156-pound sophomore running back from Fremont, Ohio. Jeff rushed for 176 yards and caught five passes for 35 yards and the Hawks won, 16-7.
Phil Suess hit Doug Dunham for the first score, Reggie Roby missed the extra point but kicked a 44-yard field goal right before half giving Iowa a 9-0 lead.
Fullback Dean McKillip scored a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and the Hawkeyes were 1-0 for the first time since 1978, Bob Cummings’ last year.
The Hawks were in Lincoln the next weekend to play the sixth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.
I was at the Nebraska game for the first and only time as one of my homeboys from Moville, Kim Clark, lived in Lincoln and got tickets.
What a nightmare!
The Huskers scored on the third play from scrimmage, a 69-yard touchdown run by Jarvis Redwine, and went on to crush the Hawks, 57-0!
It was Iowa’s worst loss in 30 years, as Ohio State beat Iowa 83-2 in 1950.
“We just got blown out of the tub,” said a dejected Hayden Fry after the game. “We played extremely poor football.”
Iowa hosted the Cyclones the following week.
The Hawkeyes lost 10-7, but had the ball on the ‘Clone 10-yard line with a little over a minute left.
Phil Suess threw four straight incomplete passes.
Some of the fans thought Iowa should have tried a field goal and went for the tie but Hayden told reporters, “It would have taken the heart out of my club to have played for a tie.”
Phil Suess threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Doug Dunham in the first half for Iowa’s only score, while Jeff Brown rushed for 143 yards on 32 carries. Andre Tippet and John Hardy helped Iowa’s defense hold Dwayne Crutchfield to 84 yards on 24 carries.
Reggie Roby averaged 44.8 yards on six punts and the Hawks were 1-2.
The Arizona Wildcats came to Kinnick the next week and the Hawkeyes lost by the depressing score of 5-3.
Reggie Roby’s 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was Iowa’s only score.
The Hawks had 371 yards in total offense and 20 first downs but couldn’t score a touchdown.
“It was like being in a funeral two successive weekends,” said coach Fry. “We’re disheartened and we’re disappointed.”
Illinois was up next at Kinnick Stadium and Iowa lost its fourth straight game, 20-14.
The Hawkeyes trailed 20-0 in the third quarter when Phil Suess threw two touchdown passes to Keith Chappelle.
Keith almost had one more, but he fumbled into the end zone on a hard tackle and Illinois recovered for a touchback.
Keith tied an Iowa record with 12 receptions. Al Bream set the record 13 years earlier.
The Hawkeyes dropped to 1-4.
This is the first of a two part story on 1980.
Next week I’ll look at the final six games, plus look at the basketball and wrestling seasons.
Once again I’d like to thank the late, great Al Grady for his book “25 Years with the Fighting Hawkeyes.”
It was a great book, Al, and even though I remember most of these games, I couldn’t have done this story without you.