John "Hayden" Fry was born in Eastland, Texas on 28 February 1929... All-State quarterback in 1946... played football at Baylor University from 1947 - 1950, achieving a 26-13-2 record... 1958- defensive backs coach, Baylor University. 1962 - head coach, Southern Methodist University, won Southwest Conference Coach of the Year award. 1979... head coach at Iowa University... led Hawkeyes to a 143-89-6 record, 3 Big Ten titles, 3 Rose Bowl appearances, 14 bowl games, and was a 3-time Big Ten Coach of the Year... 2003 - inducted to College Football Hall of Fame... 2005 - Amos Alonzo Stagg Award receipt... 2010 - inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
John "Hayden" Fry was born in Eastland, Texas on 28 February 1929. He is descended from one of the First Families of Texas; his great-great-grandfather fought beside General Sam Houston in the Mexican War. The Fry family moved to Odessa when Hayden was eight years old. Even though he worked many odd jobs as a boy to help his family through the Great Depression, he managed to find time to play sports. He played basketball, and ran track, but what he was more adept at and loved the most was football. Fry played safety and quarterback at Odessa High, and in his senior year, the team won 14 straight games, scored almost 400 points, allowed only 50, and did not commit a single turnover. As an All-State quarterback, he led Odessa to the state championship in 1946. Fry attended Baylor University and played football from 1947- 1950, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1951. During his four-year career, Baylor achieved a record of 26-13-2. After graduation, Fry returned to Odessa High School as an American History teacher and assistant football coach for a year prior to joining the Marine Corps in 1952.
Fry completed boot camp at San Diego in 1952 and transferred to Quantico for Marine Corps Officer School. He served in H&S Company as Head Football Coach; the team won the Base Championship (8-0). He played QB on Quantico's football team and led the team to the All-Marine Corps Championship in 1953. In 1954, Fry was stationed at Camp Shinodayama, Japan where he performed as an Assistant Coach and Quarterback on the undefeated (9-0) Marine Corps Championship team for 1st Battalion 9th Marines. He was selected to be a member of the Marine All-Star Team as Quarterback and Assistant Football Coach. The USMC team was undefeated and awarded the All- Far East Service Championship trophy at Yokohama, Japan. Fry left active duty service in 1955 with rank of Captain. Once discharged from active duty, he went on to serve as a reservist until 1965.
Upon completion of his active duty service in the Marine Corps, Fry once again returned to Odessa to resume teaching and coaching. The following year he became the head coach of the high school team that he led to a state championship as a player less than 10 years before. In 1958, Fry became the defensive backs coach for Baylor University. After spending two years in that position, he moved on to become an offensive backfield coach at the University of Arkansas. His next advancement would come only one year later when he was selected to be the head coach for Southern Methodist University. Upon completion of the 1962 season, Fry won the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year award in his first year on the job. In 1966, he broke the color barrier in the Southwest Conference by recruiting and signing Jerry LeVias, the first African-American player in conference history. After his termination as coach in 1972, Fry moved on to become head coach and athletic director at North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas. After six seasons at North Texas State University and amassing a record of 40-23-3, he chose to move on to a school with the opportunity to play in a bowl game and where he did not have to serve as both football coach and athletic director. In 1979, he became the 25th head coach at Iowa University. In Fry's 20 years as head coach of Iowa, he led the Hawkeyes to a 143-89-6 record, 3 Big Ten titles, 3 Rose Bowl appearances, 14 bowl games, and was a 3-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. Along the way, he established a winning tradition at Iowa on and off the field.
Hayden Fry's accomplishments and accolades did not end once he settled into retirement. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003, was the 2005 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award receipt, and in 2010 was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Fry's legacy still resonates on Saturdays and Sundays in the fall as 21 of his assistant coaches have gone on to coach in college or the NFL.