NILE CLARKE KINNICK, Jr.
Nile Kinnick is the Iowa Hawkeyes' greatest football player of all time.
Kinnick was born July 9, 1918 in Adel, Iowa. At IOWA, he won the 1939 Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Knute Rockne award and was a consensus All-American.
In his football career, he gained 1,674 yards. In his senior year, he completed 31 passes for 638 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 106 rushes netted 374 yards, and his 71 punts over three years were good for 2,834 yards, an average of 39.9 yards per kick. His kickoff and punt returns totaled 604 yards, and he made 11 of his 17-drop kick attempts.
To this day, Kinnick proudly stands as IOWA's only HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER, receiving the 5th edition of this famed award in 1939.
In his acceptance speech at the Heisman Dinner, Kinnick concluded by saying, "I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest and not on the battlefields of Europe. I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country would much more, much rather, struggle and fight to win the Heisman award than the Croix de Guerre." Tragically, Kinnick died June 2, 1943 in The Gulf of Paria, Venezuela during a training flight while serving as a naval pilot during World War II.
Kinnick was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1951. The University of Iowa renamed the football stadium in Iowa City "Kinnick Stadium" in his honor in 1972 and dedicated a life-sized statue of Kinnick at the stadium's entrance in 2006.