92-Year-Old Iowa Hawkeyes Football Legend, Jerry Hilgenberg, Passes Away

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Jerry Hilgenberg: A Legend in Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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Renowned figure in the history of Iowa Hawkeyes football, Jerry Hilgenberg, has passed away at the ripe age of 92. An eminent personality, Hilgenberg was celebrated both as a player and a coach, with his legacy deeply entrenched in the annals of Hawkeyes history. He played a key role as an assistant coach in the 1958 national championship team, being the last surviving member of that esteemed coaching staff.

Impressive Playing Career

As a player, Hilgenberg was a force to reckon with at the center for the Hawkeyes from 1951 to 1953. His senior year saw him earning first-team All-American and All-Big Ten honors, a testament to his exceptional prowess on the field. Beyond his athletic accomplishments, Hilgenberg was also recognized for his academic achievements, receiving Academic All-District and All-Big Ten honors.

Service to the Country

In 1954, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns drafted Hilgenberg, but his professional football career never took off due to his commitment to serving his country. He was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, a choice that demonstrated his sense of duty towards his nation.

Leaving a Legacy

Post his athletic career, Hilgenberg transitioned into a successful businessman and a doting father to four children. Two of his children were coached by Kirk Ferentz, the current University of Iowa football coach. Ferentz paid a heartfelt tribute to Hilgenberg, emphasizing his persistent support for the Hawkeyes program. Hilgenberg’s legacy remains indelible, marked by his induction into the Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1995 and his selection to Iowa’s All-Century Team in 1989. Plans for Hilgenberg’s funeral arrangements are currently underway.


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