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Nile Kinnick

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Nile Kinnick      Nebraska Wikipedia 

Position(s): QB, RB, K

Nile Kinnick attended Benson High School and lived in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up and attended Adel High School in Iowa prior to moving to Nebraska late in high school. He wanted to attend powerhouse Minnesota, but was told he was too small. He chose Iowa over Iowa State and Drake.

In 1937, he led the nation in punting and was named first team All-Big Ten and a third team All-American. He also played basketball, and was Iowa's second leading scorer and the 15th leading scorer in the Big Ten his sophomore year.

The 1938 season, Kinnick was hampered by injuries, and was not able to perform at his fullest, and was limited by treatments based on his faith. He was still named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.

In the memorable 1939 season, Kinnick won nearly every award possible, including the Heisman Trophy and AP Male Athlete of the Year. He threw for 638 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 31 passes and ran for 374 yards. He was involved in 16 of the 19 touchdowns (11 passing, 5 rushing) that Iowa scored and was involved in 107 of the 130 points that Iowa scored that year. He played 402 of a possible 420 minutes that season. All told, Kinnick set 14 school records, six of which still stand over 65 years later.

Instead of pursuing baseball and football professionally, he enrolled in Law School. During that year (1940), he also served as an assistant football coach for the Hawkeyes, aiding the freshman team and scouting upcoming opponents.

He died during a training flight while serving as a United States Navy aviator in World War II in 1943.

Kinnick was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, and the University of Iowa renamed its football stadium Kinnick Stadium in his honor in 1972.

His number #24 has been retired, one of only two Iowa football numbers so recognized (along with Cal Jones). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in the Hall's inaugural year in 1951, one of only two Hawkeye players so honored (Duke Slater was the other).

When the United States occupied Japan, it renamed the site intended for the 1940 Summer Olympics "Nile Kinnick Stadium." A high school in Yokosuka, Japan, for dependents of military personnel is named Nile C. Kinnick High School. The coin flipped at the start of every Big Ten football game bears his image, and each captain of a Big Ten team receives one such coin at the end of the year.

Born 7/9/1918 and died on 6/2/1943 at the age of 24.

All Conference: First Team (1937, 1939), Honorable Mention (1938) Player of the Year: Heisman Trophy (1939), Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Memorial Trophy, AP Male Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Player of the Year  (1939) All American: First Team (1939), 3rd Team (1937) U of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame College Football Hall of Fame Drafted Round 2 by Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940 



Kinnick: The Documentary Kinnick: The Documentary (8/24/2022)
The story of Nile Kinnick: child of the Depression, winner of the Heisman Trophy, and pilot in WW2. The story of a man becoming myth unfolds in cinematic detail in this feature documentary, revealing what pushed a young man from Adel, Iowa to reach ever higher and ascend to the realm of legend in the minds of sports fans across the nation.

The Way of Nile C. Kinnick Jr.: Insights, Images, and Stories of Iowa's 1939 Heisman Trophy Winner The Way of Nile C. Kinnick Jr.: Insights, Images, and Stories of Iowa's 1939 Heisman Trophy Winner (9/4/2018)
In our lifetimes, many of us have had or still have an individual we look up to; someone who inspires us, challenges us, helps us face adversities, or helps us form a positive outlook on life. Nile Clarke Kinnick, Jr. is that person for me. Kinnick's way of thinking inspired me to write this book, The Way of Nile, is a compilation of 365 memorable quotes from his letters, journals, and speeches. I was also driven to share my connections to this fascinating and admirable young man through my own personal stories. Nile is The University of Iowa's only Heisman Trophy winner (thus far), an Ironman of Ironmen during the 1939 football season. Kinnick, a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, was elected president of his senior class for the College of Liberal Arts. For an individual who died so young during WW II, he had an innate ability to formulate significant thoughts about events from 1936 to 1943. Nile set goals for himself, was disciplined, and dedicated in everything he attempted. In my research, his correspondence revealed perceptions about education, athletics, war, race, and poverty. Numerous other noteworthy topics were written which still reflect issues and controversies in this current day and age. Kinnick's quotes are derived from his years as an undergraduate student-athlete, a graduate student in law school, and an ensign serving his country in the US Navy Air Corps Reserve.

Nile Nile (9/4/2008)
NILE is a story about a young man who played football in the late 1930s. But it is more than a sports story. The nation was still recovering from the Great Depression and on the cusp of the greatest war in the history of mankind. One athlete, in particular, understood the historical significance of the moment. Many people who knew Nile Kinnick sincerely believed he would have been one of our nation?s greatest leaders. Unfortunately, the country never had the opportunity to witness what this promising young man may have achieved. The story tells of Kinnick?s life from high school to his ill-fated flight near Trinidad during WWII. But it?s also a story that touches on the lives of his Iowa Hawkeye teammates. They became known as the ?Ironmen? because there were very few players on the 1939 team. After two losing seasons in 1937 and 1938, the University of Iowa hired Dr. Eddie Anderson to coach the football team. He was relentless in his pursuit to have the players in the best physical condition of any team in the nation. Many quit. But those that remained made history.

A Hero Perished: The Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick A Hero Perished: The Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick (9/1/1992)
A Hero Perished tells Nile Kinnick's story. This grandson of an Iowa governor, the son of parents who disciplined him to strive for his measure of greatness, became a Heisman Trophy winner and national celebrity through a combination of talent and circumstance. Following his college successes, Kinnick began legal study to prepare for a political career, but with the approach of war he entered the Navy Air Corps to refashion himself as a fighter pilot. Assigned to the carrier USS Lexington on its premier cruise, he took off in a defective plane—and his death shocked a nation grown almost used to tragic loss. For the first time, Kinnick tells his own tale through his engaging letters—all but one previously unpublished—and his diary, printed in its entirety for the first time. The result is a human, intimate look at the true person behind the myth, revealing both his foibles and his essential principles. A Hero Perished also includes a definitive text of Kinnick's moving Heisman Award acceptance speech and his impassioned commencement supper address, calling on the new Iowa graduates to achieve moral courage in a time of depression and war. An illuminating comment on a time and attitude that have passed, A Hero Perished is of and about a football player, but it is not a football book—it is far more. This volume displays Kinnick—who was, despite his great gifts and achievements, a vulnerable and decent young man—in a time of great change and peril when a phase of our culture was passing away.

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FAMOUS QUOTES from Nile Kinnick

FAMOUS QUOTES about Nile Kinnick

Nile Kinnick Al Couppee  on 7/9/1987 - Link to source
I tell you where Nile Kinnick would be right now. He'd be in the White House. And with him there, we wouldn't have any of the junk that's going on now.

- Mentioned in the book, Greatest Moments in Iowa Hawkeyes Football History


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Vist the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame

Nile Kinnick - Iowa Hawkeyes Player Profile | Football - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games