The Passing of a Legend: Hayden Fry

December 18, 2019

A law firm law blog may seem like a strange place to eulogize Iowa Hawkeye football coaching legend Hayden Fry.  Hayden Fry was my college football coach; he was one of the greatest influences on my professional career. Hayden Fry taught me the keys to success: organization, determination and perseverance.


While playing for Coach Fry I underwent knee surgery, contracted staph infection, lost 70 pounds to fever, and nearly lost my life.  I spent a semester living in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; going to class by day and receiving intravenous antibiotics at night. Although he was responsible for 120 able-bodied players in the midst of what became the regenesis of Iowa football, Coach Fry visited me often; offering his prayers and support. Although I never again set foot on the gridiron, I am coached by Hayden Fry every day.


The hard-nosed ex-marine from Odessa gave me the strategy and attitude that I employ daily in the practice of law. I approach a trial like a football game. I use a “playbook” for every dispute.


Hayden Fry with Frank Harty


Hayden Fry taught me a system that has worked pretty well over the years. With Coach Fry you had absolutely no fear or doubt. You knew you were prepared for every contingency. The opponents may be bigger, stronger and faster – but they would not be as prepared as a team coached by Hayden Fry.


As I deal with my clients' problems I may be facing a smarter lawyer and I may have to deal with tough facts – but I can almost hear Coach Fry assuring me that if I follow his system, there is nothing “those pissants and shoe clerks” can throw at me that I’m not ready for.