Kirk Ferentz was one of the guests who received the privilege to talk about Hayden Fry during the Texas memorial service for the late Iowa head football coach. Over the last month, Ferentz has shared plenty of stories about his longtime friend.
During Ferentz’s speech about Fry in Texas on Saturday, he decided to share just how much of a sense of humor Fry had, as well as his expertise in psychology. That combination, according to Ferentz, helped Iowa defeat Michigan on two separate occasions — once in 1984 and again in 2016.
The famous pink locker rooms for the visiting team were an idea of Fry’s, hoping to give Iowa a little extra edge at home against opponents. In 1984, Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler attempted to put paper and other things along the wall, hoping his Wolverines wouldn’t be able to see the pink on the wall. But it didn’t work, and Iowa defeated Michigan 26-0.
Three decades later in 2016, Jim Harbaugh attempted to do the same thing, when his third-ranked and undefeated Wolverines made the trip to Kinnick Stadium. Once again, Michigan came up short.
“Bo Schembechler wanted to put paper on the walls, all that stuff, so the players wouldn’t see [the pink locker room],” Ferentz said. “[Hayden] said, ‘Bo is worried about the pink locker room, we got him.’ We beat them 26-0. It was the worst loss Coach Schembechler ever experienced. In 2016, we play them again. One of Coach Schembechler’s disciples, the quarterback in the ’85 game, is the head coach (Jim Harbaugh). They papered the walls again, and we beat their ass one more time.”
Iowa defeated Michigan 14-13, thanks to a game-winning field goal from Keith Duncan. That was the first loss the Wolverines suffered that season, hurting their College Football Playoff hopes.
It just goes to show how much of an impact Fry had on the program, even after he was done coaching the Hawkeyes.