University of Iowa president Barbara Wilson says the student athletes on the Hawkeye football team “want to win just as much as everybody else: and she’s asking fans to find a way to be supportive.
“(Head football coach) Kirk Ferentz has been a coach, a successful coach, with us for a very long time,” Wilson says. “We have got a lot of fans that want change immediately and what I try to remind them is that we’ve got great expertise in our coaching staff and we’ve got student athletes that we need to support.”
The Hawkeye football team won ten games last season and played in both the Big 10 championship game and the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. This year’s team record stands at 3-3 and two of those losses were in Kinnick stadium in Iowa City.
“Booing in the stadium probably doesn’t support our student athletes the way we need them to be supported,” Wilson says.
Wilson describes Hawkeye sports as “the corridor” to the university.
“I’m hoping that when people come and enjoy athletics at Iowa that they come down the corridor and learn more about our university,” Wilson says, “and that’s why I’m so proud of the wave because I think that tradition helps remind everybody in that stadium that we are not only playing football, we have a world class children’s hospital where we are treating many, many young children and babies with very serious illnesses.”
The Iowa Wave started in 2017 after the hospital opened. At the end of the first quarter, everyone in the stadium — including the coaches and players on the field — turns toward patients and families watching the game from the 10th floor of the hospital.
Wilson has been the university’s president since mid-2021. She made her comments during taping of “Iowa Press” which airs tonight on Iowa PBS.