Brad Gade - Head Writer
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Cedar Rapids Gazette sportswriters Scott Dochterman and Marc Morehouse will be blogging live from tonight's Iowa-Wisconsin basketball game. Tip-off is set for 7:35 PM, and the game can be seen on Big Ten Network. For those into such things, the live blog will start around 7:15 tonight and can be accessed here.
Chris Street passed away on this day 16 years ago at the age of 20. Street was a junior on the Iowa basketball team, and one of the most popular Hawkeyes ever. Street’s car was struck by a snowplow while he was leaving the Highlander Inn after a team meal. Iowa postponed their game against Northwestern scheduled for the next day.
Iowa won their first two games after Street’s death, January 28th at Michigan State 96-90 (OT), and January 31st at home against Michigan, 88-80. Hawkeye guard Val Barnes scored 27 points in that win over 5th-ranked Michigan which started after a moment of silence in honor of the late Street. Street’s parents sat in the front row across from the Iowa bench and were handed the game ball after Iowa’s win. The Hawkeyes would finish that season 23-9 and tied for 3rd in the Big Ten.
Street played in 28 games as a freshman and averaged 5 points per game. He was voted honorable mention All-Big Ten as a sophomore after he averaged 10.6 points per game and finished 3rd in the Big Ten in rebounding. Through the first 15 games of the 1992-93 season, Street averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His final game as a Hawkeye was a 65-56 loss to Duke. In that game, Street scored 14 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. He also made his 33rd and 34th consecutive free throws, setting a school record that still stands to this day.
"I cannot begin to describe the deep feelings of Chris Street's teammates and coaches. We all loved him and we will miss him very much. We hope his family will remain part of our family. He was open, caring, honest, loving and lived life to the fullest. We want to remember everything Chris represented. He was one of the greatest Hawkeyes of all time."
- Dr. Tom Davis, Jan. 20, 1993
"Chris had a great future and was one of the real outstanding kids and players in the Big Ten. What could be more tragic than to have something like this happen? He played hard every minute of the game and because of that he was one of my favorite players in the Big Ten."
Here is the official release from the U of Iowa Athletic Department on Ed Podolak's decision to leave the broadcast booth:
Long time Iowa football color analyst Ed Podolak has decided to retire from Iowa’s football broadcasts. Over last weekend Podolak visited with Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta indicating his desire to leave the radio booth. Below are statements from Podolak and Barta.
Ed Podolak statement:
I have notified Learfield Sports and the Iowa Athletic Department of my retirement from the Iowa Football broadcasts. My multi-year contract with Learfield has expired and I will be 62 this year so it seems like a good time for a younger ex-hawk to fill the spot. I have been wrestling with retirement through last fall as I have relocated my real estate business to northern California. The resulting commute to the Midwest each weekend has been challenging. I wish the Hawkeyes the best and will attend as many games as my schedule allows. It has been a pleasure working with so many great Hawkeyes over the last 27 years. I want to especially thank Jim Zabel and Gary Dolphin for helping to make my football Saturdays even more rewarding. I hope to pen some memoirs in the near future. Go Hawks!!!!
Gary Barta statement:
Over the weekend Ed Podolak shared with me his desire to retire as our football color analyst, a position he has held for over 25 years. He indicated he felt the time was right for him to step aside and devote more time to his business and other personal interests.
It’s hard to put into words what Ed has meant to Iowa football, both as a player and a radio personality. His knowledge, insight and wit will be sorely missed when Hawkeye football is on the air. He has the unique ability to talk to Iowa fans in a way they clearly understand. He never hid his passion for the Hawkeyes and for that we’ll be eternally grateful. It’ll be a challenge to fill the shoes of such a great radio personality, but we’ll work hard to find a color analyst who exemplifies the on-air qualities we’ve become accustomed to with Ed. We thank him for his years of service and wish him good luck and health in his retirement from the radio booth. He’ll always be a Hawkeye and we cherish the memories he has left us.
While ESPN and others are busy stirring the Kirk Ferentz to Cleveland Browns rumor mill, the return of Iowa Football prominence is being overlooked. After last season’s 6-6 season which finished with the embarrassing home loss to Western Michigan, and 3-3 start to the 2008 campaign, how many would have predicted the Hawkeyes celebrating a huge New Year’s Day Bowl victory today?
The lackluster finish in 2007, coupled with off the field issues, had some calling for Kirk Ferentz to resign. For some, this year was seen as a “make or break” season for Ferentz at Iowa. No one quite knew what to expect going into the season. The defense figured to be strong, but offensively there were more than a few question marks. The quarterback position was up in the air until the final day of fall practice. Iowa had no clear option at running back. Shonn Greene was a player who looked good his freshman year, but that was a few years ago. He spent last season, not in a Hawkeye uniform, but rather delivering furniture for MacGregor’s. Thirteen 100-yard rushing games later, and Shonn Greene is the 2008 Doak Walker Award winner on his way to the NFL.
Greene and the Hawkeye’s solid offensive line helped rotating QB’s Christensen and Stanzi lead Iowa to three straight wins to start the year. Then 3-straight losses by a combined 9 points to Pitt, Northwestern, and Michigan State dropped Iowa to 3-3 in early October. It appeared at the time that Ferentz may have reached his peak at Iowa, and the Hawkeyes were looking at another year of disappointment. Stanzi took over full time after the Pittsburgh loss, the team struggled with turnovers, and fans were getting restless. Thankfully, better days were soon to come.
In the next 3 games, Iowa took care of business against over-matched Indiana and Wisconsin but dropped a tough one in Champaign to Illinois after the bye week. At 5-4, #3 ranked Penn State was coming to town and it looked as though the Hawks were headed back to .500. Instead, Iowa gave Penn State their only regular season loss of the season in one of the all-time great games at Kinnick Stadium, thanks to this kick by Daniel Murray:
After a home win over Purdue, Iowa headed to the Metrodome one last time and sent it off as only the Hawkeyes could with a 55-0 pummeling of Minnesota. Suddenly, Iowa had won their last three games and five of their last six. The Hawkeyes finished 8-4 on the season and 5-3 in conference play. The Outback Bowl came calling, and Iowa was invited to play in their 5th New Year’s Day bowl since 2002.
It was business as usual in Tampa today, as Shonn Greene again rushed for over 100-yards (121 on 29 carries with 3 TDs), and the Iowa defense held South Carolina scoreless for 3+ quarters of football. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. It was domination is every aspect of the game.
Get ready to hear more about Kirk Ferentz possibly leaving for the NFL in the hours and days to come, but for now Hawkeye fans should sit back and enjoy the 31-10 whipping Iowa gave South Carolina in today’s Outback Bowl. Whether Ferentz takes that job in Cleveland or not (and for the record, HSN’s gut tells us he won’t), what he has done in his 10 years at Iowa should be applauded. This 2008 season ranks up there with his best.
On the field after the Outback Bowl, Ferentz told ESPN’s Rob Stone, that he feels “fortunate” to be coaching at such a great place as Iowa. We think we speak for all Iowa fans when we say that WE are fortunate to have Kirk Ferentz as our coach. It certainly makes it easier to be proud to be a Hawkeye with Ferentz at the helm. Kirk, please stick around and give us some more reasons to be proud in the future.
As for now, Happy New Year and enjoy 2009 Hawk fans! It couldn’t have gotten off to a better start!