|Former names||Iowa Stadium (1929–1972)|
|Location||886 Stadium Drive
Iowa City, Iowa, 52242
|Owner||University of Iowa|
|Operator||University of Iowa|
Grass (1929–1971, 1989–2008)
|Broke ground||March 6, 1929|
|Opened||October 5, 1929|
|Expanded||1956, 1983, 1990|
|Construction cost||$497,151.42 (initial construction)
($6.86 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Proudfoot, Rawson, and Souers
|General contractor||Tanger Construction Company|
|Iowa Hawkeyes football (NCAA) (1929–present)|
Kinnick Stadium, formerly known as Iowa Stadium, is a stadium located in Iowa City, Iowa, United States. It is the home stadium of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, in the sport of college football. First opened in 1929, it currently holds up to 70,585 people, making it the 7th largest stadium in the Big Ten, and one of the 20 largest university owned stadiums in the nation. It is named for Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner and the only Heisman winner in university history, who died in service during World War II. It was named Iowa Stadium until 1972, when longtime lobbying by Cedar Rapids Gazette sportswriter Gus Schrader successfully convinced the UI athletic board to change the name. It is currently the only college football stadium named after a Heisman Trophy winner.
Iowa Stadium was constructed in only seven months between 1928 and 1929. Groundbreaking and construction began on March 6, 1929. Workers worked around the clock using lights by night and horses and mules as the primary heavy-equipment movers. There was a rumor for many years that horses that died during the process were buried under what now is the North end zone. Historians report this is a myth and the animals were disposed of in the nearby Iowa River. The round-the-clock construction came to an end in July. Despite several problems to overcome, including the athletic director's resignation and a slight redesign, the stadium was completed and the first game was played October 5, 1929, against Monmouth College. Iowa won the game 46–0. The stadium was dedicated two weeks later, when the Hawkeyes tied Illinois 7–7.
The playing surface is currently synthetic Field Turf, although it was AstroTurf from 1972 until grass was reinstalled for the 1989 through 2008 seasons. The installation of artificial turf came at the same time that Iowa Stadium was renamed Kinnick Stadium in honor of the Heisman winner who had perished 29 years earlier.
Prior to the 2015 football season, the stadium did not have permanent lights; the school contracted Musco Lighting's portable light trucks for night games in previous years. The school had installed permanent practice lights in 2012. By capacity, Kinnick Stadium is the 27th largest college football stadium, the 42nd largest sports stadium in the United States, and the 86th largest sports stadium in the world. On November 14, 2015, Iowa set the national collegiate wrestling dual-meet attendance record at Kinnick with over 42,000 fans in a victory over #1 Oklahoma State.
Kinnick Stadium is well known for its pink visitors' locker rooms, a tradition started by emeritus Iowa coach Hayden Fry. Believing that pink would put opponents in a "passive mood", and because he thought that some believed pink was a "sissy color", Fry had the visiting locker rooms decorated completely in the color pink.
The pink locker room tradition has been continued with the newly renovated locker rooms, which include everything from pink urinals to pink lockers. Controversy flared during the 2005 season when a visiting law professor, along with other university faculty and students protested the pink coloration as demeaning to women and homosexuals. Despite these protests and with lots of student support, however, the locker room remains pink.
A more recent feature is the 20-foot-tall (6.1 m) bronze statue of Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, the statue depicts Kinnick dressed as a scholar, rather than in his football uniform. The bronze statue is placed near the team entrance to the stadium. When the renovation of the stadium was completed, and the statue unveiled, a tradition among the players began: one player, before entering the locker room, reached out and touched the helmet that was placed at Kinnick's feet. From that point on, all Iowa players, before entering the locker room, and after getting off the bus, walk up to the statue and rub the helmet, as a token of respect for Kinnick - the only Iowa player to ever win the Heisman Trophy.
The on-field entrances to the stadium all have one thing in common, a picture of Nile Kinnick is placed above the tunnel before exiting the tunnel to the field.
After 75 years of operation, the Iowa Board of Regents endorsed a major renovation of Kinnick Stadium on March 10, 2004. The US$86.8 million project was to build a new state of the art press box, a new scoreboard with a new sound system, replace the "temporary" south endzone bleachers with permanent seating, triple the restroom facilities, and more than double the number of concession stands, as well as smaller changes such as new locker rooms, a bronze statue of Nile Kinnick and the dedication of the Krause Family Plaza to which Kinnick Stadium is now adjacent. Every brick for the renovation came from the Glen-Gery Brickyard in Redfield, Iowa, which is located near Nile Kinnick's boyhood home in Adel, Iowa. The stadium was rededicated on September 1, 2006. Among other things, the rededication featured a flyover by a F4F Wildcat, the aircraft that Kinnick flew in World War II.
The stadium also underwent major renovations in 1956, 1983, and 1990 where capacity was gradually taken from 53,000 to 70,397. The most recent renovations in 2004–06 pushed the capacity to its current level at 70,585.
In the Spring of 2009, the grass turf and 20-year-old drainage system were replaced with a new state of the art synthetic Field Turf playing surface.
In 2013, the Iowa Board of Regents approved an $8 million upgrade of Kinnick Stadium's video and sound systems. These upgrades include the installation of new HD video displays in both the north and south endzones, as well as a new HD ribbon display above the north endzone. The upgrades were completed by the start of the 2013 football season.
Kinnick Stadium during a September 7, 2007, game against Syracuse University
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- Turnbull, Buck. Stadium Stories: Iowa Hawkeyes. Guilford, Connecticut: Morris Book Publishing, LLC. p. 42. ISBN 0-7627-3819-7.
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- Fry, Hayden; Wine, George (1999). Hayden Fry: A High Porch Picnic. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 102. ISBN 1-58261-033-9.
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- Regents approve Kinnick video, sound upgrade The Gazette, April 25, 2013