Named the Gatorade Iowa Football Player of the Year in 1985 at Urbandale, then a co-captain of the 1989 Iowa Hawkeyes, Jeff Koeppel feels long removed from his playing days. The defensive tackle and nose guard was an all-state performer with the J-Hawks, started his last two years in Iowa City, and is now living in North Liberty with his wife Traci and their dogs. At 43, Koeppel works as vice president of operations for AAA Mechanical Contractors, his family’s business. Koeppel keeps busy with work and travels with his wife in his spare time.
What memories stick out from playing at Iowa?
Traveling across the country, you bond with guys, and I had a lot of great teammates. Iowa City is a great college town, and I’m sure I’m biased, but I think Kinnick Stadium has one of the greatest atmospheres in the country. Running out of the tunnel at Kinnick, I used to get chills.
Are you still an active Hawkeye fan?
I’m a big fan. I go to probably two or three football games a year, some basketball games and other times I’ll just get in front of the TV. It’s a little more comfortable sitting on the couch.
Do you miss playing?
Definitely on game days I miss it. I don’t miss two-a-days, and my body is beat up. Both my knees are shot and my shoulder isn’t good, but it was a lot of fun, no doubt about it.
How good was the Iowa coaching staff?
We had some unbelievable coaches. Hayden Fry of course, but Dan McCarney was my D-line coach, Bill Snyder was the offensive coordinator, Barry Alvarez was the linebackers coach and Kirk Ferentz was the O-line coach when I played. It’s easy to look back and see they were one of the best coaching staffs in the country. I loved playing for Dan McCarney.
Have you ever thought about offering advice to coach Ferentz?
I think he knows what he’s doing. Kirk does a heck of job, he knows what he’s doing with the media, and he runs a straight and clean program. I think Iowa is lucky to have him. His teams typically get better week by week.
— Chris Cuellar
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football