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Nine former Hawkeyes to enter new Wall of Honor on Saturday

[ 0 ] August 29, 2013 |

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Chuck Long wasn’t sold on the play call.

“I tried to talk Hayden out of it,” Long said, 28 years later.

With his top-ranked Hawkeyes trailing Michigan State, 31-28, the ball on the Spartan 2 and just 31 seconds remaining in the game, Iowa coach Hayden Fry told his quarterback to run a bootleg.

“We didn’t have any timeouts left, and I knew I wasn’t the fastest guy on the team,” Long said. “I said, “Are you sure? What if I don’t make it in?’ He said, “Hey, Charlie – he always called me Charlie – don’t worry about it. You’re going to get in. just run the play.’ ”

Iowa coach Hayden Fry and quarterback Chuck Long are pictured in this file photo from 1983.

Iowa coach Hayden Fry and quarterback Chuck Long are pictured in this file photo from 1983.

Long faked a handoff to Ronnie Harmon on Oct. 5, 1985, ran around the right end and scored easily for a 35-31 victory.

Long will again be at the center of attention Saturday in Iowa City, taking the field as one of nine inaugural inductees into the Kinnick Stadium Wall of Honor. The other two living inductees, Larry Station and Randy Duncan, will join Long.

Also honored will be 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, Aubrey Devine, Calvin Jones, Alex Karras, Gordon Locke and Duke Slater.

Their names and jersey numbers will be displayed on the lowest ribbon adjacent to the letters of the Paul W. Brechler Press Box inside Kinnick Stadium.

“To be part of that nine-man group in the history of Iowa football, it’s a great honor,” Long said. “We were at a golden age of Iowa football. This honor is a culmination of those great teams we had.”

Long had a legendary career for the Hawkeyes as a four-year starter. Fry called him “destined for greatness” on the eve of his redshirt freshman season in 1982. As a senior, he was a runner-up to Auburn’s Bo Jackson in the closest race (at the time) in Heisman Trophy history, and became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 10,000 yards. His final college game came in the Rose Bowl.

A first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 1986, Long transitioned from a player to a college coach to businessman. He recently became a business development executive for Holmes Murphy in Cedar Rapids.

“I just turned 50,” Long said, “and what better way to spend the second half of your life than in a great state, with great people.”

Long is also working for the Big Ten Network. He was originally assigned to work the Wisconsin-Massachusetts game Saturday, but BTN let him switch to the Iowa-Northern Illinois game so he could take part in the Wall of Honor ceremony.

That Iowa-Michigan State game ranks No. 2 on Long’s list of the most memorable games he played at Kinnick Stadium. No. 1 took place two weeks later, when the top-ranked Hawkeyes beat No. 2 Michigan on Rob Houghtlin’s last-second field goal, 12-10.

“The way we won it, it was like a Hollywood ending,” Long said. “Just the euphoria of the crowd after that kick. Not only that, but the buzz and the euphoria in the parking lot, and in downtown Iowa City that night. I’ll never forget it. I know it will stay with me for as long as I live.”


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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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