Nile Kinnick - Legacy - Honors


The honors that have been heaped upon Nile Kinnick after his death are almost innumerable. When the United States occupied Japan, it renamed the site intended for the 1940 Summer Olympics "Nile Kinnick Stadium." A high school in Yokosuka, Japan, for dependents of military personnel is named Nile C. Kinnick High School. The coin flipped at the start of every Big Ten football game bears his image, and each captain of a Big Ten team receives one such coin at the end of the year. Shortly after his death, a memorial fund was established at the University of Iowa in his honor. The Nile Kinnick Memorial Scholarship Fund is awarded annually to outstanding student-athletes at Iowa.

His number #24 has been retired, one of only two Iowa football numbers so recognized (Cal Jones' #62 is the other). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in the Hall's inaugural year in 1951, one of only two Hawkeye players so honored (Duke Slater was the other).

In 1989, Iowa fans selected an all-time University of Iowa football team during the 100th anniversary celebration of Iowa football. Nile Kinnick was not only selected to the team as a halfback, he was voted the team's MVP, or the most valuable player in the first century of Iowa football. Kinnick was one of just five football players inducted into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in the Hall's inaugural year in 1951, joining Duke Slater, Aubrey Devine, Jay Berwanger, and Elmer Layden. In 1999, Sports Illustrated selected Nile Kinnick as the third greatest sports figure in the history of the state of Iowa, behind only Dan Gable and Kinnick's youth baseball teammate, Bob Feller.

College Football News ranked Kinnick as the ninth greatest college football player of all-time. An Iowa City theater produced a play based on Kinnick's life. Four books have been written about Nile Kinnick and the 1939 Hawkeyes.

A high school football field located at Omaha Northwest High School in Omaha, Nebraska is named for him.

To this day, at the beginning of every football game in the Big Ten Conference, the coin toss features a coin with Kinnick on the heads side of the coin, while the helmets of the opposing teams are on the tails side, each coin is minted at the beginning of the season, and handed to the Head referee by a Big Ten official prior to the beginning of the game, all coins are kept under lock and key at the Big Ten Headquarters.

Read more about this topic:  Nile Kinnick, Legacy

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