How can we honor these people?
Some of them are even MORE memorable than those who had greater careers.
Let's face it. How many times do people mention Steve Waite when talking about great moments in Iowa basketball history? Or Kevin Gamble?
Do something BIG in a "big game" and the sports fans in Iowa will love you forever, it seems. That's why we created this "At-Large" category for the Hawkeye Nation.com Hall of Fame. And the first inductee into this category is…
Rob Houghtlin…the man who kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired in Iowa's 12-10 victory over Michigan in 1985.
Here are my thoughts and some of the comments made by voters regarding one of the greatest moments in Hawkeye history:
October 19, 1985. Kinnick Stadium. Number one versus number two. Michigan 10, Iowa 9 with a couple of seconds remaining. All of the pressure of the outcome weighing on one man: Hawkeye kicker Rob Houghtlin.
And I remember feeling 100% confident in Houghtlin at the time. When the Wolverines took a timeout in an effort to "ice" the Iowa kicker, I remember thinking that if anything, that would probably help Houghtlin. He seemed so focused…and always handled pressure very well.
With two seconds left, Houghtlin drilled a 29-yard field goal—his FOURTH of the day—to give the Hawkeyes the victory. Some argue that this remains the greatest Iowa victory—in any sport—of all time.
Few people would argue that the moment that Houghtlin's kick sailed through the uprights on that late afternoon in 1985 was probably the single-greatest moment for Hawkeye football fans in the last 40 years.
Houghtlin was a sophomore that season, after joining the Iowa program as a walk-on. He had walked on at Miami (of Ohio) as a freshman, but was not happy there. Lucky thing for Iowa fans, that's for sure.
Hayden Fry was thrilled to have Houghtlin as a Hawkeye for three seasons, because he turned into the greatest "clutch" kicker the Iowa program had seen up to that point. And none of his field goals were BIGGER than that 29-yarder in 1985.
Comments from other voters:
"Still the biggest moment in Iowa football history."
"Rob Houghtlin never made it to the pros, but you can't think it was due to a lack of heart and guts. Made several clutch field goals during his time in Iowa City."
"The most famous chip-shot field goal in Hawkeye football lore."
"The Houghtlin Field Goal: It's not an urban legend…it happened!"
"The crescendo note of the entire Hayden Fry era at Iowa."
Will Rob ever have to buy a beer in the state of Iowa for the rest of his life? I doubt if his money would be good anywhere. His name will live on in the annals of Iowa history for generations to come. **********
Breakdown of the voting…
Each member of the panel voted for three at-large candidates (1st gets 3 points, 2nd gets 2 points, 3rd gets 1 point). The panel includes some very knowledgeable sports personalities, including…
Gary Dolphin … Play-by-play radio personality for the Hawkeyes.
Marc Hansen … Columnist for the Des Moines Register and one of Iowa's all-time best sports writers.
Larry Cotlar … Weekday morning host on KXNO 1460-AM.
Bob Helmers … Producer/Director for ESPN and ESPN+Plus.
Jamie DeMoney … Writer for Hawkeye Nation.com web site and "Hawkeye Nation" magazine.
Steve Deace … Popular radio personality on KXNO 1460-AM.
Marty Gallagher … Me.
Rob Houghtlin's field goal that enabled #1 Iowa to beat #2 Michigan, 12-10, in 1985. (25)
Steve Waite's three-point play against Georgetown that put Iowa into the 1980 Final Four. (17)
Bump Elliot, Iowa's Athletic Director in the 1980s. (10)
Kevin Gamble's three-pointer to beat Oklahoma in the 1987 NCAA Tournament. (4)
Ron Hawley, the Hawkeye safety who knocked over the Michigan State goalpost in 1982. (4)
Look for the Hawkeye Nation.com Hall of Fame inductees in the Athletes category soon. Feel free to e-mail your comments and feedback to me at Marty@IowaSportsOpinions.com.
(Marty Gallagher founded the popular web site IowaSportsOpinions.com and now publishes IowaPrepsToday.com. E-mail him at Marty@IowaSportsOpinions.com.)