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Former Hawk, Bill Anderson, 44, passes away

[ 4 ] May 26, 2011 |

Trudie Anderson received a phone call Thursday afternoon that helped ease her pain and suffering for just a little bit.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz called to offer his sympathy following the recent death of her son, Bill Anderson, a former all-Big Ten center at the University of Iowa in the late 1980s.

“Oh, that was very special and I was not one bit surprised because he is just such a compassionate and caring person,” Trudie Anderson said of Ferentz, who was Bill’s position coach in college for all four of his seasons.

Trudie said her son, who was 44 years old, fell down a flight of stairs in his house and suffered a fatal head injury.

“We got the medical examiner’s report (Wednesday), and yes, he fell down a small flight, five stairs,” Trudie said. “And he died from a blunt force injury.”

Bill Anderson was living in the Minneapolis area at the time of his death and worked for a circuit supply company.

He never married, but he had numerous relatives that also lived in the Minneapolis area.

“It’s unbelievable,” Trudie said of her son’s death. “We’re coping. That’s what we’re going to have to do.

“We’ve got a strong family here, and we’ve got so many friends.”

Bill Anderson played at Iowa from 1985-89 under coach Hayden Fry and was a three-year starter and team captain, earning all Big Ten recognition.

Anderson graduated from Columbia Heights High School, which is near Minneapolis in 1985. He earned all-America honors in high school and picked Iowa over Minnesota even though his parents wanted him be a Gopher.

Lou Holtz was the Minnesota coach at the time and there was growing enthusiasm around the program.

“Holtz came to town and you said, ‘Oh, my gosh, this could be a program turner,’ and I think it would’ve have been if he had stayed,” Trudie said.

But instead of staying at Minnesota, Holtz resigned after the 1985 season to become the Notre Dame coach.

Iowa, on the other hand, won the Big Ten title in 1985 and played in the Rose Bowl when Anderson was being redshirted as a true freshman.

Trudie said Ferentz, who coached the Iowa offensive line from 1981-89, played a key role in convincing her son to be a Hawkeye.

“He was just so down to earth,” Trudie said of Ferentz.

In addition to spending time with his family, Bill Anderson also liked to fish, hunt and play golf.

He is survived by his parents, including his father, Dick, and by his three brothers.

A memorial service will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Washburn-McReavy Chapel in Columbia Heights. A memorial visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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