Hayden Fry To Coach Again?

Will Hayden Fry resume his football coaching career at Baylor? Kirk Ferentz doesn't think he will.

Dan McCarney was talking today about whose tank is full and whose tank is not so full.

Anyone who has watched McCarney's Iowa State football team in recent weeks knows the Cyclones' tank appears to be close to the "E" (for empty) mark.

But Hayden Fry? Now that's a whole different tank.

Fry was McCarney's boss for 11 seasons at Iowa, and now at 73 he's being mentioned as a possible candidate for the coaching vacancy at Baylor.

"Do you think Fry, at his age, would have enough left in his tank to coach?" a guy asked McCarney.

"He's got a full tank, I promise you," McCarney answered. "His tank runs full all the time. We stay in touch frequently, but I haven't talked to Coach Fry since that story (about him perhaps being interested in Baylor) kind of broke.

"What a fabulous guy he's been, and I know he takes great pride in all of us who coached with him and coached for him. He developed us and gave us our opportunities. I would love to see him get back into (coaching) if that's what he wants to do."

Even in the Big 12 Conference?

"Oh, I'd love to (have that happen), I really would," McCarney said. "I think it would be fantastic."

Then McCarney put a humorous twist on his comments about Fry.

"It would cost him a heck of a lot more money than it would have in the old days to hire Barry Alvarez, Bill Snyder, Kirk Ferentz, Bobby Stoops and me to come back and coach with him down in Waco, Texas," McCarney said.

All were with Fry at Iowa and have big-time head coaching jobs now—Alvarez at Wisconsin, Snyder at Kansas State, Ferentz at Iowa, Stoops at Oklahoma and McCarney at Iowa State.

Fry, who has been treated for prostate cancer since retiring in 1998 as Iowa's coach, had a 143-89-6 record in 20 seasons with the Hawkeyes.

There is some support among former Baylor athletes that Fry would be the ideal coach to resurrect the school's football fortunes. And Fry hasn't said or done anything to throw cold water on the idea.

However, Ferentz doesn't see his former boss returning to the coaching grind.

"He's way too smart to go back," Ferentz said.

I agree.

Fry, who now is at his winter home in Nevada, has moved into a different part of his life.

"My wife (Shirley) reminded me that I may be the only guy on the Iowa campus to have two buildings named after me," he said. "There's the Hayden Fry Football Complex and now the J. Hayden Fry Prostate Cancer Research Center.

"As I look at it, you can't buy things like that. It's great that people are honoring me for whatever reason. But I don't suggest that anyone get prostate cancer to get a building named after him."

Fry said he first knew there was something wrong with him physically during the 1998 season.

"I lost all my energy," he said. "I didn't know what was wrong. I went to a private doctor, and we were able to keep (the prostate problem) a secret for about six or seven months."

Fry said he's extremely impressed with the treatment he received from physicians at University of Iowa Hospitals, and is working with officials there in a $10 million campaign to fund the J. Hayden Fry Center for Prostate Cancer Research.

"I didn't have a physical exam for 20 years," he said. "Finally, I went in for one. They did a biopsy and my PSA was 65, which you would call astronomical."

Since being treated, Fry said he's been "making talks to cancer survivors around the country. I'm on seven different boards, continually flying across the U.S. to meetings. I also help select players for the Hula Bowl.

"And I'm in the new world of ‘honey-do.' I had no idea that, when you retire, your wife could have so many jobs for you."

Fry went to some of Iowa's early games at Kinnick Stadium this season, but doesn't want to wear out his welcome.

"I try to stay close to football, yet out of the limelight," Fry said. "Coach Ferentz is like my son, and I don't want people saying, ‘Would you have done this?' or ‘Would you have called that play?'"

That doesn't sound much like a guy who wants to start rebuilding another horrible football program in Waco, Texas.

Look for ol' Hayden to say, "Been there, done that."

Ron Maly
Vol. 2, No. 103
Nov. 25, 2002
[Ron Maly's e-mail address is malyr@juno.com ]

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