Below is from the release:
Podolak announced, in early January, he was retiring from his Hawkeye radio duties. Podolak recently met with Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta and brought him up-to-date on his personal development. He also expressed an interest in returning to the booth. Barta and Podolak agreed that his return to the booth is something that pleases all Hawkeye fans.
Barta had the following comment concerning Podolak's return.
"It's great to know Ed will be back in the booth for another Hawkeye football season. He has the football knowledge, he knows Iowa's history, and wears Hawkeye pride on his sleeve better than anyone I've met. I'm very proud of Ed, and can't wait to hear him calling the games this fall." - end of release
When the announcement came that Podolak would be ‘retiring' from his on air duties, there was quite a maelstrom in HawkeyeNation. That announcement came on the heels of some unflattering photographs of Podolak making their way around the Internet, photos in which he appeared to be intoxicated. I know that is a slippery slope, writing that ‘he appeared' intoxicated, but having been in that hotel lobby on the night the photographs were taken, I believe that is a fair and accurate depiction.
Two weeks after Podolak stepped away, he released the following statements:
"After considerable deliberation with my family and close friends, I've decided to seek professional treatment. Over the last few months the people closest to me in life have convinced me that treatment is in my best interest.
"The unbelievable outpouring of concern and love from Iowa fans everywhere has also had a big impact on my decision. I'll always be a Hawkeye, but their prayers and well wishes have made this decision much easier.
"I continue to ask for the prayers and thoughts of all Iowa fans as I undertake this journey. My hope is that treatment will make me a better husband and father and a better person to my friends." -end of statement
Based on everything I have gathered the last few weeks, which followed Podolak's leaving treatment, it sounds as though Ed has made some big and positive life changes, he looks fantastic and he feels even better.
Those reports were just what I had been hoping, and praying, to hear.
Selfishly, I wanted to hear Podolak back in the broadcast booth, because he is one of the best I have ever heard at breaking down football plays and games. The man has a way of talking to pretty much every listener that is tuned in, whether they have a decent amount of understanding of the game, or someone that is a very casual fan who might never have played the game at any level.
I don't think someone has to have played the game at the college level to be able to break it down on the radio, but when you have someone that has been there and done that, and can also get those thoughts out to a wide audience in about seven to ten seconds, you have gold.
Podolak is gold...or black and gold.
Many of us have grown up listening to Podolak do the Iowa games, dating back to when Jim Zabel hired him at 1040 WHO in the early 1980's. Then Podolak stayed on with the Learfield Network with partner Gary Dolphin.
We are talking nearly 30 years of Ed Podolak doing color commentary of Iowa football games. I am 38 years old, so all but two or three seasons of my Hawkeye football lifetime and memory have involved Podolak. For folks two or three years younger than me, Ed's been the one constant through the years.
There have been changes and upgrades to Kinnick Stadium during that time...there have been changes in the coaching staff...there is annual change on the roster...Iowa City has flooded twice...many Iowa broadcasting legends have seen the sun set on their illustrious careers, some of them are no longer with us.
Podolak is nearly the one constant, the most visible constant, other than Herky, and several people have worn that suit.
I can't wait for the start of football season for a number of reasons; Ed Podolak's healthy return to the broadcast booth is near the top of my list.