University of Iowa

1946 - 50 Hawkeyes
(Authentic Reproduction)




Dr. Eddie Anderson was an Iowa native who played at Notre Dame for Knute Rockne and was captain of the 1921 Irish team. He had the unusual distinction of playing pro football for the Chicago Cardinals while earning a medical degree from Chicago's Rush Medical College. He coached at a number of schools but took Holy Cross to an incredible 47-7-4 record with two undefeated seasons. He became the Iowa coach in 1939 and led a team that had gone 1-13-1 in the previous two seasons to a 6-1-1 mark. This small squad that suited up thirteen to seventeen players became the famed "Iowa Ironmen" who won crucial games with last-minute heroics and featured Iowa's greatest player, Nile Kinnick, All American and Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp Trophy winner. He was truly the personification of the All American boy, giving full credit for his individual success to his coaches and teammates and eschewing professional football. He stated that "I would be lacking in appreciation for all America has done for me did I not offer what little I had to her" and entered the U.S. Navy. Ensign Nile Kinnick, Jr. was lost at sea when his Navy fighter plane crashed in the Gulf Of Paria. In 1972, the Iowa stadium was named in his honor and he remains the greatest of Iowa's players to this day.


Unlike many universities Iowa maintained a football team during the War years, but it was a team that consistently lost. The flamboyant Edward P. "Slip" Madigan had agreed to coach the Hawkeyes on an interim basis when Anderson entered the military service. He was another of Knute Rockne’s excellent players who starred at Notre Dame, earned a law degree, and took a down-in-the-dumps St. Mary’s program in California to national heights and maintained a level of excellence for years. His 1943 and ’44 Iowa teams were made up of those students too physically infirm to be accepted for active duty and he could push them to no better than a 2-13-1 record. He retired before the 1945 season, became a successful building contractor, and was later inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame for the success he had at St. Mary's College. Calling upon yet another of Rockne’s boys, Anderson convinced former All American Clem Crowe to fill in for him in 1945 despite Crowe’s appointment as head coach of the Notre Dame basketball team. Crowe was outstanding as both a basketball player and as one of the “Seven Mules” linemen made famous at Notre Dame and he became a very successful basketball coach at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He also coached the football team there but basketball was his focus and he returned to his alma mater at Notre Dame to take over the basketball program, yet demonstrated loyalty to Anderson. Crowe’s 2-7 mark was scant improvement upon the work done by Madigan. In 1946, Dr. Anderson returned from duty after serving as a Major in the Army Medical Corps and he placed his Iowa squad in new Riddell RT model plastic helmets. These featured a gleaming Old Gold shell with a black one-inch center stripe and the team wore these through the 1950 season with the exception of 1947, when they reverted to their old leather helmets for that one season. Fans were hoping for a miracle with Anderson back at the helm but instead received a decent 5-4 effort from a squad consisting of WW II veterans and green youngsters. Future pro great and Hall Of Fame pioneer Emlen Tunnell led the team from his QB position and posted the squad's best passing statistics. HB Dick Hoerner who played for the Rams and Dallas Texans and freshman Earl Banks lent support. In 1947 Tunnell displayed his great athletic talent and versatility as 1946’s leading passer became the Hawkeyes’ leading receiver! Tunnell would graduate to a Pro Football Hall Of Fame career in the NFL, spending eleven years with the Giants and then joining Vince Lombardi's first four Packer teams. He followed his spectacular career as a defensive back and return man with many more as an NFL assistant coach. The 3-5-1 record led to the resignation of Anderson prior to the season-ending contest against Minnesota. Iowa however rallied to beat the powerful Gophers 13-7 and the athletic board refused to accept the head coach’s resignation. 1948 welcomed "the birth" of Herky The Hawkeye, the beloved Iowa mascot, a creation of journalism instructor Richard Spencer III and named in a state-wide "name-the-mascot" contest by alumnus John Franklin. Herky himself, dressed in military fatigues, gained a bit of fame as the official insignia and mascot for the 124th Fighter Squadron during the Korean War. At 4-5, the Hawkeyes finished at the tail end of the Big Nine conference with Al DiMarco passing for more than 1000 yards and end Jack Dittmer making most of the receptions. The 1949 season would be Anderson's last, another 4-5 year that featured the rushing of Jerry Faske who ran for a record 183-yards against Northwestern, and the reliable receiving of end Dittmer. Soph Bill Reichardt provided some excitement with his kick and punt returns. Dr. Anderson returned to Holy Cross where he coached from 1950 through 1964. Winning more than 200 collegiate games, the highly respected head coach was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame. Anderson’s freshmen team coach and former Hawkeye player Leonard Raffensperger was handed the reins. A successful high school coach, Raffensperger made his 1950 varsity debut with a great victory over nationally-ranked USC. The thrill of this victory was chilled by the 83-21 stomping delivered by Ohio State four weeks later, leaving the Hawkeyes to struggle for a 3-5-1 season slate. Bill Reichardt played well enough to be named All Big Ten.

If interested in any of these IOWA helmets please click on the photos below.