John Hayden Fry was born February 28, 1929 in Eastland Texas. He
played safety and quarterback for Odessa High School in the 1940s
and returned to coach there from 1956 to 1958.
When Fry played safety and quarterback for Odessa High School in
the 1940s, the stands routinely had sellout crowds. In Fry's
senior year, Odessa won 14 straight games, scoring almost 400 points
and allowing about 50. Odessa did not commit a single turnover all
season. The Texas state playoffs placed every school into a single
bracket. At the end of the year, Hayden Fry quarterbacked Odessa to
the Texas state high school championship in 1946. Fry then played at
Baylor University from 1947 to 1950. He graduated from Baylor with a
degree in psychology in 1951.
Fry was an American history teacher and assistant football coach
at Odessa High School for a year in 1951 before joining the U.S.
Marine Corps in 1952. During his time in Odessa, Fry met and
befriended a young George H. W. Bush, who would become the 41st
President of the United States.
He served in the Marine Corps from 1952 to 1955 and played with
th Quantico Marines football team in 1953.
In 1955, Hayden returned to Odessa as a teacher and assistant
football coach. The following season, Odessa head coach Cooper
Robbins was promoted to athletic director, and Hayden Fry took his
first head coaching job. At 26 years old, he was coaching the high
school he had led to the state title less than 10 years earlier.
After the 1958 season, the new head football coach at Baylor hired
Hayden Fry as an assistant coach. Fry spent two years at Baylor
coaching the defensive backs. Fry left Baylor to become an assistant
coach at Arkansas. He was was the offensive backfield coach at
Arkansas in 1961 and won the Southwest Conference
co-championship with an 8–2 record. After one year at Arkansas,
Southern Methodist University tabbed Fry as their next head football
coach for the 1962 season. He won the conference coach of the year
award in his first season. After the 1963 season, Fry was appointed
as SMU's athletic director. Hayden Fry compiled a 49–66–1 record in
11 seasons at SMU, including the school's only three winning seasons
since the late 1940s. In 1979, he was hired as Iowa's 25th head
Fry coached two decades at Iowa, more than twice as long as any
coach before him. Fry had a 143–89–6 record at Iowa, giving him the
most wins in school history until he was passed by Kirk Ferentz on
September 1, 2018. The win came in Ferentz's 20th season, as he also
tied Fry's tenure. He led the Hawkeyes to 14 bowl games; before his
arrival they had been to two bowl games in 90 years. He also led the
Hawkeyes to three Big Ten titles and three Rose Bowl appearances.
Haydon Fry died of cancer in Dallas Texas December 17, 2019 at
the age of 90.
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