Saturday, January 24, 2015

Nile Kinnick's Outlook


For an Iowan, one way to look forward to a great year is to draw inspiration from University of Iowa athlete and student Nile Kinnick. As many Iowans know Nile is the only Heisman trophy winner from the UI. Iowa Stadium, the location where he played football was renamed Kinnick Stadium in the 1970s and this bronze statue was created and dedicated to him in 2006.

While he died just a month short of his 25th birthday on a naval training mission in 1943, his legacy seems to grow each year as new Iowa football fans learn about his on and off field accomplishments. He was a grandson of an Iowa governor and many people feel that Nile's interest in politics and persuasiveness could have taken him to higher office. His words at the Heisman acceptance ceremony in 1939 are considered the most eloquent of any of the trophy's acceptance speeches. Read them here or watch here at the 6:39 mark.


"I thank you very, very much, Mr. Holcomb. It seems to me that everyone is letting his superlatives run away from him tonight. "Every football player in these United States dreams of winning this trophy. The fact that I am actually receiving it overwhelms me, and I feel what those who have received the Heisman award before me must have felt. "From my personal viewpoint, I consider this a tribute to the coaching staff at the University of Iowa, headed by Dr. Eddie Anderson, and to my teammates sitting back in Iowa City. A finer man and a better coach never hit these United States and a finer team never performed on any gridiron than the Iowa team of 1939. I wish they might all be with me tonight to receive this trophy. "I want to take this grand opportunity to thank the sports writers all over the country who saw fit, saw their way clear to cast their votes for me. I also want to thank Mr. Pierce and all those connected with the Downtown Athletic Club for making this trophy available to the football players of the nation. "And I would like, if I may, to make a comment which I think is appropriate at this time. "I thank God that I was born to the gridirons of the middle west and not to the battlefields of Europe. I can speak confidently and positively that the football players of this country would rather fight for the Heisman trophy than for the Croix de Guerre."