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Kinnick Stadium
Kinnick Stadium press box.jpg
Former names Iowa Stadium (1929-1972)
Location 886 Stadium Dr, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242
Coordinates 41°39′31″N 91°33′4″W / 41.65861°N 91.55111°W / 41.65861; -91.55111Coordinates: 41°39′31″N 91°33′4″W / 41.65861°N 91.55111°W / 41.65861; -91.55111
Broke ground March 6, 1929
Opened October 5, 1929
Owner University of Iowa
Operator University of Iowa
Surface FieldTurf
Construction cost $497,151.42 (initial construction)
Capacity 70,585
Tenants
Iowa Hawkeyes football (NCAA) (1929-present)

Kinnick Stadium, formerly known as Iowa Stadium, and known in the area simply as Kinnick, is a stadium located in Iowa City, Iowa. It is the home stadium of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, in the sport of college football. First opened in 1929, it currently holds up to 70,585 people, making it the 6th largest stadium in the Big Ten, and one of the 20 largest university owned stadiums in the nation. It is named for Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner and the only Heisman winner in university history, who died in service during World War II. It was named Iowa Stadium until 1972, when longtime lobbying by Cedar Rapids Gazette sportswriter Gus Schrader successfully convinced the UI athletic board to change the name.

Contents

Construction

Kinnick Stadium was constructed in only seven months between 1928 and 1929. Groundbreaking and construction began on March 6, 1929. Workers worked around the clock using lights by night and horses and mules as the primary heavy-equipment movers. There was a rumor for many years that horses that died during the process were buried under what now is the North end zone.[1][2] Historians report this is a myth and the animals were disposed of in the nearby Iowa River.[3] The round-the-clock construction came to an end in July. Despite several problems to overcome, including the athletic director's resignation and a slight redesign, the stadium was completed and the first game was played October 5, 1929 against Monmouth College. Iowa won the game 46–0. The stadium was dedicated two weeks later, when the Hawkeyes tied Illinois 7–7.[4]

Features

The playing surface is currently synthetic Field Turf, although it was AstroTurf from 1972 until grass was reinstalled for the 1989 through 2008 seasons. The installation of artificial turf came at the same time that Iowa Stadium was renamed Kinnick Stadium in honor of the Heisman winner who had perished 29 years earlier.

When filled to capacity, Kinnick Stadium would be the fifth-largest city in Iowa (after Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City).[5]

The stadium does not have field lights; the school contracts Musco Lighting's portable light trucks for night games. By capacity, Kinnick Stadium is the 27th largest college football stadium, the 42nd largest sports stadium in the United States, and the 86th largest sports stadium in the world.

Kinnick Stadium is well-known for its pink visitors' locker rooms, a tradition started by emeritus Iowa coach Hayden Fry.[6] Believing that pink would put opponents in a "passive mood", and because he thought that some believed pink was a "sissy color", Fry had the visiting locker rooms decorated completely in the color pink.

One thing we didn't paint black and gold was the stadium's visitors locker room, which we painted pink. It's a passive color, and we hoped it would put our opponents in a passive mood. Also, pink is often found in girls' bedrooms, and because of that some consider it a sissy color.
Hayden Fry , Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic, p. 102[7]

The pink locker room tradition has been continued with the newly renovated locker rooms, which include everything from pink urinals to pink lockers. Controversy flared during the 2005 season when a visiting law professor, along with other university faculty and students protested the pink coloration as demeaning to women and homosexuals.[8][9] Despite these protests and with lots of student support, however, the locker room remains pink.

A more recent feature is the 20 foot tall bronze statue of Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, the statue depicts Kinnick dressed as a scholar, rather than in his football uniform. The bronze statue is placed near the team entrance to the stadium. When the renovation of the stadium was completed, and the statue unveiled, a tradition among the players began, when one player, before entering the locker room, reached out, and touched the helmet that was placed at Kinnick's feet, from that point, until this day, all Iowa players, before entering the locker room, and after getting off the bus, walk up to the statue, and rub the helmet, as a token of respect for Kinnick, the only Iowa player to ever win the Heisman Trophy.

The on field entrances to the stadium all have one thing in common, a picture of Nile Kinnick is placed above the tunnel before exiting the tunnel to the field.

Renovation

The new scoreboard in the south end zone at Kinnick Stadium.

After 75 years of operation, the Iowa Board of Regents endorsed a major renovation of Kinnick Stadium on March 10, 2004. The US$86.8 million project was to build a new state of the art press box, a new scoreboard with a new sound system, replace the "temporary" south endzone bleachers with permanent seating, triple the restroom facilities, and more than double the number of concession stands, as well as smaller changes such as new locker rooms, a bronze statue of Nile Kinnick and the dedication of the Krause Family Plaza to which Kinnick Stadium is now adjacent. Every brick for the renovation came from the Glen-Gery Brickyard in Redfield, Iowa, which is located near Nile Kinnick's boyhood home in Adel, Iowa.[10] At the end of August 2006, the project was nearly completed and was rededicated on September 1, 2006 with only finishing touches to the new Paul W. Brechler press box remaining. Among other things, the re dedication featured a flyover by a F4F Wildcat, the aircraft that Kinnick flew in World War II.[11]

The stadium also underwent major renovations in 1956, 1983 and 1990 where capacity was gradually taken from 53,000 to 70,397. The most recent renovations in 2004–06 pushed the capacity to its current level at 70,585.

In the spring of 2009 the grass turf and 20 year old drainage system were replaced with a new state of the art synthetic Field Turf playing surface.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ http://iagenweb.org/johnson/Postcard80.htm
  2. ^ Stadium Stories: Iowa Hawkeyes, by Buck Turnbull (ISBN 0-7627-3819-7), Pages 42-43
  3. ^ http://iagenweb.org/johnson/Postcard80.htm
  4. ^ "Kinnick Stadium". Ballparks. 2005. http://football.ballparks.com/NCAA/Big10/Iowa/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-25.  
  5. ^ "Iowa Almanac". NETSTATE.com. 2007-06-06. http://www.netstate.com/states/alma/ia_alma.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-24.  
  6. ^ Keeler: Hayden lives on: Visitors' quarters still pretty in pink, Des Moines Register.com article
  7. ^ Fry, Hayden; Wine, George (1999). Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 102. ISBN 1582610339.  
  8. ^ Opponents seeing red over Iowa's pink locker room, Associated press article at MSNBC with photo.
  9. ^ Iowa pink visitors' locker room under fire, article at Gay.com
  10. ^ http://www.gass.com/colleen/CI_Update/CI_summer06_ebook.pdf
  11. ^ Kinnick set to reopen The Daily Iowan, 2006-08-30

External links

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