Hayden Fry – A Man’s Man — and Not Crazy About Pink, Either

800px-Hayden_Fry_2Hayden Fry was the iconic coach of the Iowa Hawkeye Football team from 1979 to 1998. He compiled a career record of 143-89-6 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. He led the Hawks to 14 Bowl Games, 3 Big Ten Titles, and 3 Rose Bowl appearances. His legacy also is in mentorship. He has more than 11 assistants who went on to become head coaches in their own right. Oh yeah, and he beat cancer.

His famous smile and mustache became synonymous with the black and gold. Hayden’s no nonsense way and Texas accent made him by all appearance’s a man’s man. He was the kind of coach that liked to grind you down with big lineman and great defense. Needless to say, he is still revered in Iowa City and always will be. However, if he were coach today he would be labeled a sexist, a homophobe, and discriminatory, even intolerant!

What did Hayden do to cause such a backlash? Hayden was also a strategist and not afraid of playing a few mind games on his opponents. The Big Ten has some pretty tough boys and exploiting any advantage can be the difference. In an attempt to calm his opponents or outright mess with their heads he ordered the visiting locker room painted pink. It’s gone so far as to have pink urinals!

Over the years rival coaches have complained about the pink locker room. Their complaints were met with a chuckle from the University and Hawkeye faithful. No one ever thought of getting rid of it.

Leave it to the most unhappy minority group on the planet who thinks stringing letters together makes them something. Recently in Des Moines at a LGBTQ conference several speakers took it upon themselves to attack Hayden’s pink locker room. I’m afraid to ask what the Q stands for. I assume it rhymes with steer, just the first time I’ve seen it added on there.

Anyway, two lawyers said the University was setting itself up for a lawsuit because the pink locker room was discriminatory. They went on to say the pink locker room sends a sexist message and is an attempt to humiliate their opponents. Duh? It’s called football; you know a contact sport with blood and pain. Men love it.

They went on, “The pink locker room is harmful because the message to male athletes is that it is bad to be associated with any female traits,” said Lisa Stratton, a co-founder of Gender Justice, a non-profit advocacy organization. I wonder if Lisa has ever seen a football game. It’s not good to have female traits when trying kick the @#!! out of your opponent. This isn’t a hug fest! It’s not a beauty contest. The biggest, strongest, fastest, meanest team wins. Kind of like in nature.

Where is Hayden when we need him? This country is getting circus-elephant-bat-crap-crazy! They went on to say that, “the pink locker rooms are about shame, implying that a football team’s opponents are girlish, dainty and weak!” Again … duh! Hayden wanted some 320 pound tackle from Ohio to feel like he was in a little girl’s bedroom. Maybe he would start to think about his little sister or his momma, so when he came out the field our Hawkeyes dressed in black could decimate them and win another Big Ten Title. Yeah, go Hawks!

About the author: S.C. Sherman

S.C. Sherman grew up a farm kid in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. Steve is a business owner, and recently ran for Iowa State House of Representatives.. S.C. enjoys political commentary and great stories. He has written three fiction novels found at scsherman.com. He currently lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.

View all articles by S.C. Sherman

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