Kinnick Stadium will be changing following Saturday’s home finale against Purdue. The north grandstand that has been in place since 1983 will be torn down over the next few weeks as part of the Kinnick Edge project.
Today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes, looks back and ahead as the bulk of the three-phase project nears its beginning.
1. The north end zone grandstand at Kinnick Stadium opened in 1983 and provided Iowa with the opportunity to expand the stadium’s seating capacity from 60,000 to 66,000.
The boost came following the Hawkeyes’ 1982 Big Ten championship season and was designed to meet growing demand for tickets at the time.
The grandstand being torn down next week has remained virtually unchanged since it was erected in 1983.
It replaced a small set of bleachers built into a hillside which had ringed the stadium since its construction in 1929 as a 53,000-seat facility at a cost of $497,151.42.
As Iowa struggled on the field throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the end zone bleacher seats became known as the home of the Hawkeyes’ “knothole’’ seating sections, a cheap ticket that provided young fans an inexpensive way to frequently watch over-matched Iowa teams during a string of 19 consecutive non-winning seasons.
2. Knothole tickets at Iowa before the north grandstand were built were typically sold at $5 or less per game.
Today as construction nears on an $89 million renovation project, Iowa is marketing outdoor club seats in the same area.
To secure one of those seats, fans have been asked to make a $1,000 seat reservation gift to guarantee access and then make a $1,958 annual contribution in addition to the cost of a football season ticket to secure the seat on an annual basis.
Iowa is offering club seat agreements in three-to-five contracts.
3. In addition to blocking northerly winds on a blustery November game day, the north end zone sits in front of one of the spot of most legendary stories about Kinnick Stadium.
It's a story that is purely fiction, but lives on.
For years, it was said that horses that died during the construction of Kinnick Stadium during the summer of 1929 were buried under what is now the north end zone.
Historians have been able to disprove the story although several horses did die during the round-the-clock construction of the stadium and its still-standing east and west grandstands.
Those horses were actually disposed in the nearby Iowa River.
4. The most memorable kick in the history of Hawkeye football played out in front of the north grandstand on a late October day in 1985.
That was the day that Rob Houghtlin drove a last-second, 29-yard field goal through the uprights and into Hawkeye lore, allowing No. 1 Iowa to beat No. 2 Michigan 12-10.
The kick capped a 16-play drive which started at the Iowa 22-yard line and ended at the Wolverines’ 12, where coach Hayden Fry called a timeout with 2 seconds remaining and Michigan clinging to a 10-9 lead.
Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler burned a timeout as well in hopes of icing Houghtlin.
Snapper Mark Sindlinger of Bettendorf delivered to holder Mark Vlasic, whose placement allowed Houghtlin to craft a stunning conclusion.
5. Rob Houghtlin’s kick wasn’t the only memorable moment that played out in the front of the north grandstand at Kinnick during a 1985 season which ended in the Rose Bowl.
Two weeks earlier, it was also the scene of the most famous bootleg in Hawkeye history.
Iowa, already positioned at number one in national polls, trailed Michigan State 24-13 in the second half after was still down 31-28 with 31 seconds remaining in the game.
Facing a third-and-1, quarterback Chuck Long faked a handoff to Ronnie Harmon and took off on a boot leg around the right side.
Long raced into the end zone with the ball above his head and wrapped his arms around then-Iowa sports information director Phil Haddy, who was standing on the sideline ready to celebrate the 35-31 win.
6. Looking for more recent drama in that played out in the front of the north end zone?
Marshall Koehn delivered just two years ago with a game-winning 57-yard field goal kick that sent the Hawkeyes on their way to an unbeaten regular season and a 27-24 victory over Pittsburgh.
The second-longest field goal in Hawkeye history came after Pitt had tied the game at 24-24 in the game’s final minute.
7. Fans in the north end zone have had an up-close view for a number of other moments that will remained etched in the memories of the players who made it happen.
From Drake Kulick’s first career touchdown against Ohio State this season to a 77-yard touchdown reception Riley McCarron celebrated there a year ago to help Iowa finish off a 40-10 rout of 16th-ranked Nebraska, moments recent and from the past remain vivid to those who participated and watched them.
8. In addition to celebration, heartbreak has played out in front of the fans in the north end zone as well.
Iowa’s only loss at home this season provides an example.
The north end zone was where Juwan Johnson of Penn State celebrated his game-winning touchdown pass from Trace McSorley as time expired in the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions’ 21-19 win over the Hawkeyes.
9. There will be a lot to like about the new, three-tiered grandstand that will replace the current structure.
It has been designed to address concerns fans have expressed about the existing facility.
There will be wider concourses, a 146-percent increase in restrooms, including a 200-percent increase in women’s restrooms in that area of the stadium.
There will also be a 90-percent increase in the number of points of sale in concession areas.
A new video scoreboard, similar in size to the one on the south side of the stadium, will also be installed.
Construction beginning after Saturday’s game against Purdue won’t be completed until the start of the 2019 season.
The lower and upper general admission seating bowls are scheduled to be ready for use in 2018.
10. The overall seating capacity of the north end facility will remain around 6,000 although Iowa officials have not yet pinpointed a final number.
There will be 1,570 outdoor club seats and those will be ready for use in 2018.
Indoor club space will not be completed until prior to the 2019 season.
Around 300 club seats remained available for purchase earlier this week.
Entry to those areas will be by a skywalk through elevators and escalators.
The upper level will include 712 chair back seats.